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ACC Roundball Roundup - 12/7

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Notre Dame struggles while Florida State looks to soar into the Top 25

NCAA Basketball: Florida State at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Time for another look around what’s been happening on the hardwood in the ACC.

#1 Duke Blue Devils (11-0)

12/2 - defeated South Dakota 96-80
12/5 - defeated St. Francis (PA) 124-67

The top-ranked Blue Devils breezed through the last week, easily defeating South Dakota and St. Francis. Against the Coyotes on Saturday, Duke raced out of the gates to build a 26-point halftime lead and coasted from there. Grayson Allen led the team with 25 points while stud freshman Marvin Bagley III had a double-double. The surprise contributor was sophomore Javin DeLaurier, who came off the bench with 13 points and 9 boards. On Tuesday, the Blue Devils scored 71 points in the first half and set a school record with 34 assists on their way to a monster win over St. Francis. Bagley recorded another double-double, while sophomore Marques Bolden added one of his own off the bench.

NCAA Basketball: Ball State at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

#9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (7-2)

11/30 - lost at #3 Michigan State 63-81
12/3 - defeated St. Francis (Brooklyn) 71-53
12/5 - lost to Ball State 77-80

It’s been a tough week for a Notre Dame team that was the toast of college basketball after winning the Maui Invitational. Though the ACC easily won the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the Irish ended the Challenge on a sour note for the conference by getting blown out in East Lansing. Michigan State got off to a fast start and never let Notre Dame get close. For the game, the Spartans shot over 50% from the field and out-rebounded the undersized Irish by 21. Star F Bonzie Colson had a rare off night, needing 19 shots to score a team-leading 17 points.

After the Challenge, Notre Dame returned home for a game against St. Francis (Brooklyn). The Irish won easily but not without incident. With about six minutes left in the game, Colson was ejected after knocking a St. Francis player to the floor with a rouge elbow. Head Coach Mike Brey did not take this well and also ended up getting ejected. The Irish were lead by senior C Martinas Geben’s first career double-double. On Tuesday, Ball State upset the Irish with a game-winning three pointer with 1.7 seconds left in the game. The Cardinals kept the game close and dominated the boards, out-rebounded their in-state foe 40-26. Notre Dame is going to be a contender in ACC play but the past week exposed some weaknesses they’ll need to get worked out over the next few weeks.

#10 Miami Hurricanes (8-0)

12/2 - defeated Princeton 80-52 in the HoopHall Miami Invitational
12/5 - defeated Boston 69-54

The Hurricanes made the short trip from Coral Gables to downtown Miami and shot the lights out of the American Airlines Arena against Princeton. Miami made 56% of their shots from beyond the arc on their way to a 28 point route of the Tigers. G Dejan Vasiljevic shot 5/7 from deep on his way to a team-best 20 points. The ‘Canes returned to campus on Tuesday for a game against Boston University. Much-hyped freshman G Lonnie Walker IV made his first career start and broke out in a big way. Walker shot 9/15, including 5/7 on 3-pointers, on his way to a team high 26 points and 7 rebounds.

#11 North Carolina Tar Heels (9-1)

12/1 - defeated Davidson 85-75 in Charlotte
12/3 - defeated Tulane 97-73
12/6 - defeated Western Carolina 104-61

The Tar Heels big offensive week started on Friday in Charlotte, where they took on Davidson. UNC led the entire second half but was never able to completely put away the Wildcats. Senior G Joel Berry II led the Heels with 27 points, while F Luke Maye added 24 points and 17 rebounds. Maye’s big week continued on Sunday against Tulane, when he paced UNC with 22 points and 10 boards. As a team, North Carolina shot 65.5% from the field against the Green Wave. The hot shooting continued last night, when the Heels went 16/22 beyond the arc on their way to a 43 point win. Eight players scored at least 9 points, led by 15 from freshman G Jalek Felton.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Davidson Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

#15 Virginia Cavaliers (8-1)

12/2 - defeated Lehigh 75-54
12/5 - lost at #18 West Virginia 61-68

On Friday, Virginia’s star G Kyle Guy cut his shooting hand in practice and received 5 stitches. On Sunday, he scored 21 points with a wrap on his hand to lead the Cavaliers over Lehigh. Virginia’s defense was, again, the story. UVA turned over the Mountain Hawks 17 times while only giving up the ball 6 times themselves. On Tuesday, the Cavs took their suffocating defense across the state line to take on West Virginia. Against the Mountaineers’ full court press and fast pace, UVA couldn’t quite keep up, dropping their first game of the season. G Devon Hall scored 19 to lead UVA while Guy added 18, all in the second half.

Boston College Eagles (6-3)

12/2 - defeated Hartford 73-61

Boston College has only played one game since the last Roundup, a 12 point victory at Hartford. The Eagles only led by 1 at the half but pulled away late in the second to take home the win. BC’s dynamic guard duo once again led the way with Jerome Robinson leading the team with 23 points while Ky Bowman added 21.

Unfortunately, the Eagles got some bad news yesterday:

Hawkins BC’s third leading scorer at 12.4 ppg and their leading rebounder with 9.1 rpg. The graduate transfer brought a much-needed low post scoring threat to a team dominated by guard play. With Hawkins out, the Eagles will rely more on freshman Steffon Mitchell, who has shown some flashes.

Clemson Tigers (7-1)

12/3 - defeated UNC Asheville 83-52

In their only game over the last week, Clemson had no trouble putting away UNC Asheville. The Tigers shot 52% from the field and outscored the Bulldogs by 21 in the second half. G Marcquise Reed knocked down 5 threes on his way to a team-best 19 points. F Donte Grantham recorded his second double-double of the season with 17 points and 10 boards. At 7-1, Clemson ties their best start since winning their first 16 games in 2008-09.

Florida State Seminoles (8-0)

12/4 - defeated #5 Florida 83-66
12/6 - defeated Loyola (MD) 96-71

The Seminoles were the ACC’s biggest winners this week, knocking off in-state rival Florida in Gainesville. This was FSU’s fourth straight win over the Gators, their longest streak in the series. The ‘Noles defense was able to hold the nation’s highest scoring team to just 66 points and 24% shooting from 3. As a Gainesville native from a Gator family that’s all I really want to say about this game, so we’re moving on.

Last night, senior G Braian Angola led all scorers with 18 points as the Seminoles got the easy win over Loyola (MD). FSU is 8-0 for the first time since 2003-2004 and, barring a stumble against Tulane on Saturday, should be ranked in the next edition of the AP Poll.

Louisville Cardinals (5-2)

12/3 - lost to Seton Hall 77-79
12/6 - defeated Siena 86-60

On Sunday, Louisville lost to Seton Hall in a thrilling game that featured three ties and four lead changes in the last five and a half minutes of the game. The Pirates took the lead for the last time with 8 seconds left and G Quentin Snider’s three was off the mark, sending Louisville to their second straight loss. Snider continued his early shooting struggles, needing 16 shots to score 15 points. Last night, the Cardinals got back on track, blowing out Siena on the back of a 47 point second half. F Anas Mahmoud nearly recorded a triple-double with a team-high 17 points, 13 rebounds, and 9 blocks. Snider bounced back to have his best night of the season, scoring 16 points on 4/7 shooting.

NC State Wolfpack (7-2)

12/2 - defeated South Carolina State 103-71

It was a very scary scene Saturday in Raleigh when SCST player Tyvoris Solomon’s heart stopped and he collapsed on the bench. Thanks to fast action from SCST’s athletic trainer and onsite emergency personnel, Solomon was resuscitated and taken to a local hospital. After learning that Solomon was conscious, SCST’s players voted to continue the game after a 40 minute delay. It was tough to keep the attention on basketball but NC State did continue onto a commanding win against the Bulldogs led by 19 points from F Lennard Freeman and a double-double from G Torin Dorn.

Pittsburgh Panthers (5-4)

12/1 - defeated Duquesne 76-64
12/5 - defeated Mt. St. Mary’s 82-78 in OT

Last Friday night, Pitt avenged last year’s loss to cross-town rival Duquesne with a 76-64 victory over the Dukes. Pitt was led by F Ryan Luther’s 16 points and 9 rebounds. The senior and one of the few hold overs from last year’s squad provided a steadying presence in the second half when Duquesne tried to cut into the Panthers’ lead. On Tuesday, Mt. St. Mary’s took Pitt to overtime before falling to the Panthers. The star of this game was PG Marcus Carr. The true freshman led Pitt with 23 points and made 5 huge free throws in overtime to seal the victory. Since being inserted into the starting lineup against Oklahoma State, Carr is averaging 15.4 ppg and 4.8 apg on 60% shooting.

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Syracuse Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse Orange (7-1)

12/2 - lost to #2 Kansas 60-76 in the HoopHall Miami Invitational
12/5 - defeated UConn 72-63 in the Jimmy V Classic

Syracuse probably had the hardest schedule in the ACC over the past week with a pair of neutral site games against perennial powers Kansas and UConn. Against the Jayhawks, the Orange really struggled early, scoring only 21 points in the first half and falling behind by as much as 21 points early in the second half. G Tyus Battle played the full game and rallied the team back but couldn’t get closer than 7 points. On Tuesday, Syracuse took on UConn at Madison Square Garden, the site of their famous 6OT Big East Tournament game. This meeting was not nearly as exciting but the Orange prevailed behind Battle’s 22 points and F Oshae Brissett’s 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Virginia Tech Hokies (8-1)

12/2 - defeated Ole Miss 83-80 in OT
12/6 - defeated Radford 95-68

The Hokies rallied from a 16-point second half deficit to knock off Ole Miss in overtime on Saturday. Five Virginia Tech players scored in double figures, led by 17 from F Kerry Blackshear Jr and 16 from sixth man Chris Clarke. VT got back into the game on the free throw line, shooting 70.3% on the day (versus Ole Miss’s 54.2%), including 13/15 down the stretch. On Wednesday, the Hokies got a much easier win, putting away Radford early on the way to a 95-68 win. Virginia Tech was led by Blackshear and G Justin Bibbs, who each scored 20 points while G Justin Robinson added 11 points and 9 assists.

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-4)

12/2 - defeated Richmond 82-53
12/5 - defeated Charlotte 80-57

Wake Forest got a pair of blowout wins over the past week, taking down Richmond and Charlotte by an average of 26 points. Against Richmond, Wake was led by a balanced attack with four players scoring at least 12 points, led off the bench by G Keyshawn Woods’ 17. C Doral Moore, one of Wake’s few big men, dominated the first half, scoring 13 of his 15 points in the opening period. On the season, Moore is shooting an insane 83% from the field. The only thing that’s been able to slow him down so far has been foul trouble, as was the case against Charlotte. Moore fouled out in only 14 minutes of play but PG Bryant Crawford and a strong all-around defensive performance (the 49ers shot 32% from the field and just 22% from 3) led the Deacons to the 23 point win.

Next Week.... A lot of teams are heading into their exam break but there are a few interesting games on Saturday, headlined by Louisville hosting Indiana, Pitt hosting #18 West Virginia in a basketball version of the Backyard Brawl, and Duke and Boston College opening ACC play early in Chestnut Hill.