It’s been a quiet week across the college basketball landscape as most universities are in the midst of final exams, causing the basketball teams to take a break from game action. There were a few games played around all this test taking, so the Roundball Roundup is back to cover the action you may have missed over the last week. We’ll start with the first ACC game of the season and perhaps the biggest upset we’ll see all year...
Boston College 89 - #1 Duke 84
The first ACC Game of the season resulted in the first massive ACC upset. On Saturday, the top ranked Duke Blue Devils traveled up to Chestnut Hill where they were upset by a hot-shooting Boston College team intent on climbing out of the ACC basement. The game was close throughout and neither team went deep into their bench, both essentially playing just 6 players. Boston College was led by the guard trio of Ky Bowman, Jerome Robinson, and Jordan Chatman, who combined for 76 points. Bowman nearly recorded a triple-double with 30 points, 10 boards, and 9 assists. As a team BC shot 57.7% from 3, while holding Duke to just 26.7%. Freshman G Gary Trent Jr. scored 25 points while going 6/13 beyond the arc to lead the Blue Devils.
Duke will remain one of the favorites to win the ACC but they have some serious defensive concerns they need to work out. Boston College will try and use this win to springboard a campaign similar to Georgia Tech’s 2016-17 season (predicted near the bottom of the conference, upset the preseason conference favorite in their first ACC game, go on to finish in the middle of the conference and earn a postseason berth).
#4 Duke Blue Devils (11-1, 0-1)
12/9 - lost at Boston College 84-89
The BC game was Duke’s only contest since last week’s Roundup. They have another week to stew on the loss before their season starts up again against Evansville on 12/20.
#6 Miami Hurricanes (8-0)
The Hurricanes have been off all week for final exams. They’ll resume play on Saturday at George Washington.
#7 North Carolina Tar Heels (9-1)
UNC has also been off for exams. They’ll travel to Knoxville this weekend for a very interesting game against Tennessee.
#16 Virginia Cavaliers (8-1)
Yet another team that is in the middle of their exam break. The Cavs will host Davidson this Saturday.
#18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (8-2)
12/9 - defeated Delaware 92-68
Notre Dame made sure they did not head into the exam break on a sour note, dominating Delaware start to finish on their way to a 92-68 victory. The Irish traveled to Delaware as a homecoming of sorts for head coach Mike Brey, who was the Blue Hens’ head coach from 1995-2000. Despite the close ties, Brey and his team showed no mercy. Notre Dame shot 56.9% from the field and were led by PG Matt Farrell’s 24 points and 7 assists.
One point of concern for Notre Dame so far is their lack of a bench. Despite the lopsided affair, four ND players logged at least 30 minutes and no one off the bench played more than 10 minutes. The Irish’s starting lineup is really good but depth could be an issue in ACC play.
#19 Florida State Seminoles (9-0)
12/10 - defeated Tulane 72-53 in Tampa
Defense led the way for Florida State in a 72-53 win over Tulane on Sunday. The ‘Noles held the Green Wave to just 35.6% from the field, blocked 5 shots, and forced 19 turnovers. FSU was good enough on offense, though they did struggle mightily at the free throw line, and was led by Senior G Braian Angola’s 18 points. Sophomore G Trent Forrest was excellent off the bench, scoring 12 points on 5/6 shooting while adding 6 boards, 4 assists, and 4 steals.
Boston College Eagles (8-3, 1-0)
12/9 - defeated #1 Duke Blue Devils 89-84
12/12 - defeated Columbia 81-66
Alone in first place in the ACC, Boston College followed up their big win over Duke with a dominant win against Columbia. The Eagles’ backcourt was awesome, yet again. Jerome Robinson led the team with 21 points, including 9/9 from the charity stripe, while Jordan Chatman added 20 of his own. Ky Bowman struggled shooting (4/12 from the field) but still totaled 13 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, and 2 blocks.
Clemson Tigers (8-1)
12/9 - defeated Samford 81-59
The Tigers used a big second half to put away the visiting Samford Bulldogs. Clemson fell behind Samford early in the second half but outscored the Bulldogs 34-11 over the final 13 minutes to turn the game into a route. The Tigers shot poorly, hitting just 25% of the three points shots, but made up for it by forcing 22 turnovers while only recording 9 themselves. All five starters scored in double figures, led by 20 from both G Shelton Mitchell and F Donte Grantham.
Louisville Cardinals (7-2)
12/9 - defeated Indiana 71-62
12/11 - defeated Bryant 102-59
Louisville was down 1 at halftime and leading by just 3 late in the game but made key shots down the stretch and played excellent second half defense to get the win against Indiana. The Cardinals didn’t shoot particularly well but their defense held Indiana to just 40% from the field and 22% from deep. F Deng Adel led the team with 16 points, including an important basket in the final minute, and F Ray Spalding recorded a double-double with 10 points and 14 boards.
A couple of days later, Louisville kept up the defensive intensity and got the offense going en route to a huge win over Bryant. The Cards shot over 55% from the field while they held Bryant to just 34.5% and 21.1% from 3-point range. After a slow start to the season PG Quentin Snider finally had a good shooting night, scoring a team-high 17 points on 6-8 shooting. Forwards Deng Adel and Anas Mahmoud each added 17 points of their own.
NC State Wolfpack (8-2)
12/9 - defeated UMKC 88-69
NC State G Torin Dorn recorded his third straight game with at least 10 rebounds to lead the Wolfpack to a comfortable win over UMKC. Dorn’s 22 point, 17 rebound double-double paced NCST and helped contribute to a 52-35 rebound advantage. After not recording a board in a loss against Tennessee, Dorn has been unstoppable on the glass, pulling down 12 against Penn State, 10 against SC State, and now 17 against UMKC. The Pack held the Kangaroos to just 18.5% shooting from 3 (though State also made less than 30% of their shots from deep) and built an early lead before coasting for most of the second half.
Pittsburgh Panthers (5-5)
12/9 - lost to #18 West Virginia 60-69
The Panthers came close but couldn’t quite pull off the come from behind upset of former rival West Virginia. The Mountaineers led by 18 at halftime but were outrebound and sent the Panthers to the free throw line 31 times, allowing Pitt to pull within 2 points before sealing the game away. Pitt struggled to score at times, but was led by F Ryan Luther’s 13 points and 12 rebounds. That the Panthers were able to claw back into a game they had no business competing in is a promising sign heading into the new year but Pitt still has a long way to go before they’ll be ready to compete in the ACC.
Syracuse Orange (8-1)
12/9 - defeated Colgate 72-58
On Saturday Syracuse defeated Colgate for the 52nd consecutive time, tying the all-time record for most consecutive wins over one opponent. This meeting was somewhat close in the second half, as the Orange struggled to defend the 3-point line, but Colgate couldn’t hang with Cuse inside. Syracuse outscored Colgate 28-10 in the paint and won the rebound battle 33-23. Tyus Battle (24 points), Frank Howard (18 points, 6 boards, 6 assists), and Oshae Brissett (20 points) all played the full 40 minutes for a shallow Syracuse team.
Virginia Tech Hokies (9-1)
12/10 - defeated Maryland-Eastern Shore 93-40
The nation’s highest scoring offense had no problem putting up points against an out matched Maryland-Eastern Shore team on Sunday. Virginia Tech shot 54.7% from the field and 55.6% from beyond the arc while holding UMES to 27.8% and 15.4%, respectively. This game was never in doubt as the Hokies just physically dominated the Hawks in every aspect of the game. F Chris Clarke came off the bench to lead all scorers with 18 points.
12/8 - defeated Army 109-80
After a rough start to the season, Wake Forest has started to turn things around, defeating Army by 29 to win their fifth straight game. Wake shot the ball well (58% from the field, 42% from 3, 88% from the line) and dominated the glass (43-27 rebounding margin) on their way to an easy win. Junior C Doral Moore continued his breakout season, scoring a career-high 20 points and 11 rebounds. With a 9/10 night from the field, Moore upped his field goal percentage to 84.2%, the best in the country. Aside from the big man, the Deacons were led by 22 points from Keyshawn Woods and 17 each from Mitchell Wilbekin and Brandon Childress.
Looking ahead... Saturday will be one of the best slates of non-conference games for the ACC this season. Louisville and Syracuse both hit the road to take on old conference rivals in Memphis and Georgetown in the noon hour. A couple hours later, Virginia Tech travels to Rupp Arena to face #8 Kentucky, Florida State plays host to Oklahoma State, and Notre Dame faces in-state rival Indiana. The afternoon is capped off at 4:30 when Clemson tips off against #22 Florida. The big weekend continues on Sunday with a Top 25 matchup in Knoxville between UNC and Tennessee. The biggest weekday games are on Tuesday night when Clemson hosts South Carolina and Georgia Tech travels to Georgia.