CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Clemson's dubious basketball history has drawn chuckles for years, and the depth of its futility -- try 0-53 at North Carolina -- is difficult to comprehend.
Well, this Clemson team is starting to shed the image that it's a football school in a basketball league.
The Tigers stunned No. 7 Duke 78-74 Saturday to advance to their first Atlantic Coast Conference final in 46 years. Clemson had lost 22 in a row to the Blue Devils and is the only charter member of the ACC to never win the league tournament title.
Trevor Booker scored 18 points and Cliff Hammonds had 17 for the third-seeded Tigers (24-8), who hadn't beaten the Blue Devils since 1997.
Clemson pulled away in the second half to spoil a much more familiar North Carolina-Duke rematch in the championship. Instead the Tigers will get a shot at the top-ranked Tar Heels today, the first time they'll play on the final day of this tradition-packed event since they lost to a Wake Forest team that included Billy Packer in 1962.
"I didn't know that," said coach Oliver Purnell, in his fifth year at Clemson. "I knew it was a long time ago and I knew we'd maybe only been in it once and never won it.
"I don't spend a lot of time with streaks with these young guys and that kind of thing," he added. "It's this year's team. ... I think those weights are too heavy and insignificant."
The athletic Tigers, a lock to make their first NCAA Tournament in 10 years, exploited Duke's weakness inside when it mattered.
Rugged James Mays, who scored 16 points, had two three-point plays in an 11-4 run that snapped a 56-all tie.
Second-seeded Duke (27-5) cut the lead to 71-69 on Greg Paulus' 3-pointer with 48 seconds left. But then Clemson, a 63-percent free throw shooting team, made 3 of 4 from the line.
"If they hit their free throws, they're as good as anybody," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Paulus scored 17 points for the Blue Devils, who failed to reach the title game for the second consecutive year after a stretch of seven ACC titles in eight seasons.
While Clemson can't do anything about its futility at North Carolina today, the Tigers can avenge two regular-season losses to Tar Heels. Both games went to overtime.
"Right now we're trying to prove something," Hammonds said. "We're trying to prove we can play with anybody in the country, we can beat anybody in the country."
No. 1 NORTH CAROLINA 68, VIRGINIA TECH 66 -- Tyler Hansbrough hit a fadeaway jumper off an offensive rebound with 0.8 seconds left to help the top-seeded and top-ranked Tar Heels (31-2) beat the Hokies.
Hansbrough finished with 26 points and nine rebounds for North Carolina, which trailed almost the entire way against a team it had routed last month.
Big East Conference
PITTSBURGH 74, NO. 9 GEORGETOWN 65, at New York -- Ronald Ramon scored 17 points, and the Panthers (26-9) beat the Hoyas to win their second conference tournament championship in their eighth title-game appearance. Roy Hibbert had 17 points for Georgetown (27-5), which was trying to sweep the regular-season and tournament titles for a second consecutive season.
Western Athletic Conference
BOISE STATE 107, NEW MEXICO STATE 102 (3OT), at Las Cruces, N.M. -- Reggie Larry scored 31 points and the Broncos (25-8) ended a l4-year NCAA drought by outlasting the Aggies (21-14). The teams were tied at 71 at the end of regulation, at 80 after the first overtime and at 92 after two OTs.
Atlantic 10 Conference
TEMPLE 69, SAINT JOSEPH'S 64, at Atlantic City, N.J. -- Dionte Christmas scored 22 points, and the Owls (21-12) earned their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2001 with a victory over the Hawks.
Mountain West Conference
UNLV 76, No. 24 BYU 61, at Las Vegas -- The Rebels upset the top-seeded Cougars in the conference championship for the second consecutive season, routing BYU behind a flurry of great performances led by Wink Adams' 23-point show.
Big West Conference
CS FULLERTON 81, UC IRVINE 66, at Anaheim -- Josh Akognon had 23 points, and the Titans beat the Anteaters to win the conference championship and advance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1978.
No. 2 MEMPHIS 77, TULSA 51, at Memphis, Tenn. -- Antonio Anderson scored 19 points, and the Tigers (33-1) added a third consecutive conference tournament championship to their third regular-season title in a row by beating the Golden Hurricane (20-13).
Memphis finished the season with its seventh consecutive win and 42nd league win in a row, strengthening its case for a second No. 1 seed in three seasons after tying the school record for wins in a season with 33.
Western Athletic Conference Women
FRESNO STATE 72, NEW MEXICO STATE 56, at Las Cruces, N.M. -- Tierre Wilson scored 10 of her 17 points in the second half and the Bulldogs advanced to the women's NCAA Tournament for the first time, beating the Aggies in the tournament championship.
Fresno State has won four in a row and 20 of its past 22 games.
Big 12 Conference Women
No. 11 TEXAS A&M 64, NO. 18 OKLAHOMA STATE 59, at Kansas City, Mo. -- A'Quonesia Franklin had 19 points and hit four free throws in the final 22 seconds, helping the Aggies (26-7) hold off the Cowgirls to win their first Big 12 tournament championship. Texas A&M (26-7) led most of the second half, but had to withstand a furious Oklahoma State rally in the closing minutes.