Gamble, Canes close in on first their ACC title
For a basketball player who grew up in North Carolina, helping win the ACC championship on home soil is about as good as it gets.
Durham’s Julian Gamble assured himself of the opportunity on Saturday.
Gamble, a former Southern High School star, scored 10 points for Miami as the top-seeded Hurricanes beat N.C. State 81-71 in the ACC Tournament semifinals at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Today, the 6-10 Gamble will lead the Hurricanes against North Carolina the ACC Tournament championship game (1 p.m., WRAL/ESPN).
“It’s great,” Gamble said. “I grew up in ACC country, so I know what the ACC Tournament is about and ACC play in general. It feels good to be close to home and be able to play in front of a lot of my friends and family and get a win against a program as prestigious as N.C. State.”
Gamble, a sixth-year senior for the Hurricanes, has been in and out of the starting lineup this season as Miami coach Jim Larranaga also has used Winston-Salem’s Reggie Johnson at center.
But Gamble has started both ACC Tournament games. On Saturday, he made all four of his field-goal attempts and added two free throws. He also grabbed three rebounds and blocked two shots in 23 minutes of play.
Unlike Johnson, who turned the ball over three times, Gamble did not commit a turnover.
As great as it is to play near home, Gamble also has to deal with the ticket requests from friends and family and has not been able to accommodate them all. Instead, he’s set up a rotation for Miami’s three games.
“It’s been tough,” Gamble said. “Everybody understands it’s the ACC Tournament from being around here. I try to rotate it. I try to let people come to the game. Obviously, I’ve got my family, but friends-wise, I try to let somebody come today and someone else come tomorrow.”
Saturday was a special day for North Carolina junior Reggie Bullock, who had 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists and no turnovers in the 79-76 win against Maryland.
“It’s great,” Bullock said. “It’s my (22nd) birthday, my basketball team won, Kinston High girls won, Kinston High boys won, so I’m just proud to be an alum of Kinston High.”
Four decades, 30 points
This year’s ACC Tournament has seen players score at least 30 points on three consecutive days.
Boston College’s Olivier Hanlan had 41 on Thursday against Georgia Tech, Maryland’s Dez Wells had 30 against Duke on Friday night and Miami’s Durand Scott had 32 against N.C. State on Saturday.
The most recent time that happened at the ACC Tournament was in 1974. That year, N.C. State’s Tommy Burleson (38) and David Thompson (37) and Virginia’s Gus Gerard (30) completed the task.
It also happened in 1969, 1967 and 1957.
Wood ranks high
N.C. State senior Scott Wood had six 3-pointers against Miami on Saturday, making him 33-of-69 on 3-pointers in ACC Tournament play during his four-year career.
That puts him No. 3 all-time in the ACC Tournament in 3-point field goals, trailing Duke’s J.J. Redick (41) and Wake Forest’s Randolph Childress (36).
Wood’s 47.8 percent from outside the arc is No. 5 all-time among players with at least 40 attempts in ACC Tournament play.