Larkin runs away with tourney MVP
Shane Larkin was named ACC Tournament MVP after posting 28 points and seven assists and playing all 40 minutes in Miami’s 87-77 win over North Carolina on Sunday in the championship game at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Larkin reached 20 points in all three of Miami’s wins in the tournament, averaging 23.7 per game.
UNC freshman point guard Marcus Paige said he was the toughest matchup he has had this season.
“Some of you think you realize how quick he is, but until you’re out there defending him, it’s just a different level of quickness,” Paige said. “He’s really a complete guard. He’s not selfish, he attacks, he finds the open man, he’s had as good a year as any guard in the country. He’s a great player.”
Larkin made the All-ACC first team and the All-ACC defensive team during the regular season. In Sunday's final, he constantly beat his defender off the dribble, was 4-of-7 from behind the arc and made all six of his free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
“Shane Larkin is hard to handle out top,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. “He’s phenomenal; he really is. He’s probably the most effective player in our league. He just does so much to help their team and puts pressure on the other team.”
Durand Scott of Miami, Reggie Bullock and P.J. Hairston of UNC and Dez Wells of Maryland also were on the ACC all-tournament first team.
Scott had a career-high 32 points in Miami’s semifinal win over N.C. State, Bullock averaged 14.3 points and 8.3 rebounds, Hairston had 28 points against the Hurricanes despite lacerating his left hand on Friday and Wells had a career-high 30 points in Maryland’s win over Duke in the quarterfinals.
Paige, N.C. State’s Scott Wood, Boston College’s Olivier Hanlan, Durham native Julian Gamble and his Miami teammate Trey McKinney Jones comprised the second team.
Returning from injury
Hairston received eight stitches between two fingers in his left hand during Friday’s quarterfinals but returned to play a season-high 38 minutes on Saturday and scored a team-high 28 points on Sunday, one off his career high.
Scott said that Hairston’s quick recovery helped influence his decision to return after the Hurricanes senior was elbowed in the back in the first minute of Sunday’s final.
“When I got to the locker room, I thought about North Carolina and P.J. Hairston,” Scott said. “The moment when he got hurt and his finger was bleeding and he came back and it was just an outstanding play.
"He came back and shot lights out today, as well, and in my mind I was like, 'If he can do that, I can do it. I think my team really needs me.'”
Scott wound up playing 33 minutes.
Williams offers congratulations
UNC coach Roy Williams went into the Miami locker room afterward to congratulate the Hurricanes.
“He just said we got a heckuva team, listen to Coach L, and he really enjoyed watching us play this season and we was one of the best teams that’s come through the league since he’s seen here,” Miami center Reggie Johnson said.