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Virginia Tech basketball: Hokies dominate North Carolina to advance to ACC Tournament championship

The Hokies play Duke Saturday for the ACC Championship.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament Semifinal-North Carolina vs Virginia Tech Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies are going to the ACC Tournament championship game. I repeat, the Virginia Tech Hokies are heading to the ACC Tournament championship.

The No. 7-seeded Hokies defeated the No. 3 seed North Carolina Tar Heels, 72-59, Friday in the ACC Tournament semifinals to advance to the championship game for the first time in school history. Tech has won three in a row in the tournament, with wins over Clemson, Notre Dame and UNC — taking out the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the process in dominant fashion.

Next up for Virginia Tech is top-seeded Duke. The Blue Devils advance to the ACC championship with an 80-76 win over the Miami Hurricanes.

Both the Hokies and Tar Heels got off to slow starts in the first half of Friday’s semifinal. At the under-eight timeout, the game was tied at 14. The Hokies started to get hot after the timeout, though. After UNC tied the game at 16, Tech outscored the Tar Heels 16-10 for the remainder of the half to head into intermission with a 32-26 lead.

The second half would be more of the same. The Hokies’ four-guard lineup caused the Heels all sorts of problems. Darius Maddox and Sean Pedulla came off the bench to give the Hokies a lift, with Maddox leading all scorers with 20 points. Pedulla was calm, cool and collected, scoring eight points in 18 minutes. Maddox was seven of 12 from the field, including four of five from beyond the arc.

Keve Aluma scored 18 points for Virginia Tech. Justyn Mutts found himself in foul trouble and only played 19 minutes.

Virginia Tech’s defense was equally as impressive, holding UNC to 36.7% shooting from the field. The Tar Heels made just three of 26 3-point attempts in the loss. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech shot 44% from the field and made nine of 20 3-point attempts.

Can the Hokies make it four in a row Saturday? It won’t be easy. The Blue Devils are a difficult matchup with their terrific frontcourt and overall depth. However, you’ve probably learned not to count out this group by now.

The ACC championship will tip-off at. 8:30 p.m. ET from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.