Happy New Year and welcome to the first edition of the ACC Roundball Roundup of the Conference Season! With the change from non-conference to (mostly) conference games, we’re going to change the structure of the Roundup. Instead of going team-by-team, we’re going to move through the schedule chronologically, starting with last Thursday.
Home team is in caps.
Thursday, December 28th
VIRGINIA TECH 76 - North Carolina A&T 59
Virginia Tech had no problem getting past their final opponent before ACC play, coasting past visiting NC A&T. The Hokies didn’t shoot well beyond the arc (26.1%) but held the Aggies to worse (25%) and found a lot of success in the paint. VT went on a 10-0 run about midway through the first half and never let NC A&T get close after that. The Hokies were led by 14 points from G Ahmed Hill.
Friday, December 29th
#16 KENTUCKY 90 - Louisville 61
Early Friday afternoon, Louisville traveled a few hours east to Lexington for their annual rivalry game against Kentucky. The Cardinals hung with the favored Wildcats for a bit but a 20-6 Kentucky run to close the first half put the hosts ahead for good. Louisville struggled to do much of anything against the Kentucky defense, shooting 35% from the field but just 12% from deep. F Deng Adel led Louisville with 12 points while F Ray Spalding recorded a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Saturday, December 30th
#4 DUKE 100 - #24 Florida State 93
Florida State opened ACC play in Cameron Indoor stadium, where they gave Duke all they could handle in a thrilling, back-and-forth affair. Freshmen phenom Marvin Bagley III became the first Duke player to score 30+ points and grab 20+ rebounds in a game under Coach K with a 32 point, 21 rebound game. Bagley combined with fellow freshman Wendell Carter Jr (14 points, 16 boards) to outrebound Florida State’s entire team, creating the difference in the game. While Duke dominated the paint, the Noles dominated the three-point line hitting on 47% of their shots to Duke’s 27%. F Phil Cofer hit 6 threes on his way to 28 points. G Braian Angola made another 5 from beyond the arc and scored 23 points.
#9 VIRGINIA 59 - Boston College 58
Boston College was intent on keeping their position atop the ACC for another few days but couldn’t quite pull off another Top 10 upset in Charlottesville. The Eagles had a chance to win, inbounding under their basket with 3 seconds left but F Nik Popovic was called for an offensive foul, ending their hopes. The star for Virginia was sophomore PG Ty Jerome, who scored a career high 31 points, nailing 6 of his 9 three pointers. Boston College’s starting backcourt played the entire game, including Jerome Robinson, who led the team with 29 points.
#13 NORTH CAROLINA 73 - Wake Forest 69
North Carolina went on an 8-0 to end the game and come from behind in their ACC opener against upset minded Wake Forest. PG Joel Berry II hit a go-ahead floater with 10 seconds left as part of his 16 points. F Luke Maye led the team with 17 to go with 15 rebounds. The Tar Heels didn’t shoot particularly well and struggled with ball control at times but dominated the boards behind Maye, outrebounding the Deacons 49-34. Wake PG Bryant Crawford led his team with 17 points.
#15 Miami 67 - PITTSBURGH 53
Miami had little trouble against Pittsburgh, wrapping up their December road trip with an easy win. Pitt shot just 4/16 beyond the arc and was outrebounded 23-31. The balanced Hurricane scoring attack was led by 12 points from G Anthony Lawrence II. The Panthers were led by Shamiel Stevenson’s 16 points off the bench.
NOTRE DAME 68 - Georgia Tech 59
CLEMSON 78 - NC State 62
Clemson won their eight straight game to continue their best start to a season in nearly a decade with a 16 point win over NC State. The Tigers ended the first half on a big run that continued after the break. Clemson G Marcquise Reed scored 18 points and all five Tiger starters hit double-digits. NC State was led with 15 points from freshman PG Braxton Beverly.
Sunday, December 31st
SYRACUSE 68 - Virginia Tech 56
Virginia Tech ended the non-conference season as one of the highest scoring teams in the nation but the Hokies had no answers for the Syracuse zone, dropping their ACC opener in the Carrier Dome. The Orange dominated the paint, outrebounding the Hokies by 13. Syracuse was led by their forwards. Freshman Oshae Brissett led the team with 19 points, while sophomore Matthew Moyer scored 11 and grabbed a career-high 13 boards. Outside of G Nickeil Alexander-Walker (19 points, 4/8 from three), VT really struggled to shoot over the zone, hitting on just 33% of their three point shots, down from an ACC-high 44% on the season.
Tuesday, January 2nd
The ACC as a whole got some bad news on Tuesday, when Notre Dame announced that superstar F Bonzie Colson would miss approximately 8 weeks with a foot fracture suffered in practice.
An 8 week time table would put Colson back just in time for the ACC Tournament, but may be a bit optimistic for a broken foot to heal enough to play on. Without their star, the Irish will have to make major adjustments to their style of play and might find themselves in jeopardy of missing out on the Big Dance.
LOUISVILLE 77 - Pittsburgh 51
Louisville bounced back from their rivalry loss to obliterate Pitt in the Cardinals’ ACC opener. The Cards went on a 17-0 run about halfway through the first half and led by at least 11 the rest of the way. Louisville dominated the paint, outrebounding Pitt by 13 and holding the Panthers to just 35% from the field. Louisville’s outside shooting is still shaky - they hit less than 30% of their 3 point attempts - but the offense did more than enough around the basket to propel the Cardinals. PG Quentin Snider led Louisville with 19 points. Pitt was led by freshman G Parker Stewart’s 12 points.
Wednesday, January 3rd
#8 Virginia 78 - VIRGINIA TECH 52
Virginia’s defense smothered one of the best scoring teams in the country and led the way to a big win over their in-state rivals. Virginia Tech entered the game leading the nation in field goal percentage but were held to just 36% shooting from the field and 17% from three. UVA also forced 16 VT turnovers while only turning it over 6 times themselves. The Cavaliers’ scoring leader was sixth man De’Andre Hunter who scored 14 points in 24 minutes. Hokie F Kerry Blackshear Jr. also scored 14 points to lead VT.
#24 FLORIDA STATE 81 - #12 North Carolina 80
#24 Florida State missed their final four free throws and didn’t score in the last 2:57 of the game but held on to beat #12 North Carolina in Tallahassee. The Noles led by 11 at halftime but the Heels quickly closed that gap, leading to a thrilling second half. FSU squandered several chances to distance themselves near the end but, luckily, UNC squandered as many chances to take a lead. North Carolina’s Joel Berry II led all scorers with 28 points, but needed 23 shots to get there. Florida State was led by 20 points from G Braian Angola.
GEORGIA TECH 64 - #15 Miami 54
#25 Clemson 74 - BOSTON COLLEGE 70
Boston College made another run at a Top 25 team but wasn’t able to complete their second half comeback attempt against visiting Clemson. The Tigers led by 15 at halftime but saw the lead disappear when the Eagles tied it up at 68 with a little over a minute remaining. From there, Clemson made six free throws while Jerome Robinson’s go ahead three rimmed out, dooming Boston College. F Donte Grantham led Clemson with 23 points and 14 rebounds, his 4th double-double of the season. Boston College was led by 28 points from G Jerome Robinson.
WAKE FOREST 73 - Syracuse 67
Wake Forest lost their leading scorer, G Keyshawn Woods, about halfway through the first half to a knee injury but held on to pick up their first ACC win of the season against Syracuse. Without Woods, the Deacons were led by Gs Bryant Crawford and Mitchell Wilbekin. Crawford led Wake with 19 points while Wilbekin added 10 points and a career-high 8 assists. Wake tried to give away down the stretch, missing five free throws in the final minutes before freshman C Olivier Sarr went 4-4 from the line in the final 16 seconds. Syracuse entered the game as one of the best rebounding teams in the ACC but was out done on the boards 38-29. The Orange were led by 23 points from PG Frank Howard.
NOTRE DAME 88 - NC State 58
Notre Dame had little trouble with visiting NC State in their first game without star F Bonzie Colson, getting head coach Mike Brey his 394th win at the helm of the Irish, breaking the school record previously held by Digger Phelps. Four Notre Dame players scored in double-digits, led by 22 from G TJ Gibbs and 17 from G D.J. Harvey, who started in place of Colson. Senior PG Matt Farrell did not play in the second half after suffering a foot injury of his own in a hard fall near the end of the first half but the Irish overcame the loss of their stars to earn a dominant win. G Allerik Freeman led NC State with 13 points.
All 15 ACC teams will be in action this weekend, with Georgia Tech taking on Yale during the Jackets’ scheduled bye in conference play. The two headliners are #12 North Carolina traveling to Charlottesville to play #8 Virginia at 1:00 pm Saturday and #24 Florida State heading south for a rivalry tip against #15 Miami at 6:00 pm Sunday. There are no ranked-ranked match ups in the midweek slate, but Boston College will try to pull another upset after falling just short against Clemson and Virginia when they travel to Chapel Hill on Tuesday. On Wednesday, we’ll see the first rematch of the season when Notre Dame travels to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech.
ACC Standings as of 1/3/2018
|#24 Florida State
|#12 North Carolina