Check below for game stories from all the ACC basketball action on Wednesday. While we’re in non-conference play, stories will be listed in alphabetical order, by which ACC team is involved.
Purdue pulls away from Boston College 88-67
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Purdue wouldn’t let Boston College keep up with the Johnsons.
Opponents rarely do.
Terone Johnson scored a season-high 18 points, his brother, Ronnie, added 15 points and six assists Wednesday night, helping the Boilermakers pull away from Boston College 88-67 to give the Big Ten a key victory in the annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
“He watched himself on tape and he said he was really embarrassed by some of the plays he was making,” Terone Johnson said, when asked about his younger brother. “He felt he was being selfish as a point guard and as you can see tonight, he took that head on.”
The Boilermakers (7-2) played their most complete game of the season – and the timing was perfect for their conference.
After falling into a 4-2 deficit on the first night of the challenge, Purdue’s surprisingly easy win helped the two power conferences play to a 6-6 draw. It’s the fifth consecutive year the ACC has failed to win the annual early season head-to-head series.
This time, they had the Johnson brothers to thank.
Terone Johnson finished 8 of 15 from field, while Ronnie Johnson went 5 of 12, grabbed three rebounds and helped pressure the Eagles (3-5) into nine first-half turnovers – a flurry that completely changed the game.
Purdue wound up shooting 52.2 percent from the field, its best shooting performance since Nov. 13 against Central Connecticut State, and the Boilermakers also were 7 of 14 on 3-pointers – tying their best shooting percentage from beyond the arc this season. Freshman Kendall Stephens also equaled his season high with 11 points, all in the first half when he only played eight minutes.
The most impressive part: Purdue’s improved defense.
While the Boilermakers had been struggling to hold opponents in check, the Johnsons stabilized things. Boston College (3-5) shot just 33.3 percent from the field in the first half and 37.9 percent for the game. And the Eagles’ 3-point shooters went 7 of 27 in an ugly performance for the ACC.
“It’s very important, not only to our program, but to the conference to show everyone we’re one of the best conferences in the country,” Terone Johnson said. “Coach (Matt) Painter talks about that before each one of these since my freshman year, that we have to do our part to win the challenge. We felt like we did our part.”
Perhaps that explains why the Boilermakers have been so good in this series.
Purdue’s second straight win overall made it five straight in the series against the ACC.
Boston College, which had been one of the ACC’s most reliable winners, has now lost two of three in the series to drop to 6-2 overall.
What went wrong for the Eagles? Everything.
Ryan Anderson got into early foul trouble, though he managed to finish with 16 points and five rebounds. Last year’s ACC freshman of the year, Olivier Hanlan, was 6 of 15 from the field and finished with 15 points, well below his team-high average of 21.7. The only other Boston College in double figures was Alex Dragicevich, the transfer from Notre Dame. He had 13 points, all in the first half.
And with a big student section and a loud crowd urging the Boilers to give the Big Ten its fifth win in this series, that wasn’t good enough.
“We got outworked today – out-toughed. It’s my job to make sure we’re more prepared the next time,” Boston College coach Steve Donahue said. “I thought we played lousy enough, to think ‘We’re only down 15 on the road.’ It could have been a lot worse in my opinion. Both sides of the ball we were just terrible.”
After starting the game trading baskets and leads, Purdue seized control when freshman Bryson Scott drove in for a layup to wipe out Boston College’s 19-18 lead to start an 8-0 run midway through the first half. Then Scott’s freshman teammates, Stephens and Basil Smotherman, spurred a 13-2 run that extended the lead to 39-23 with 5 minutes left in the half, forcing Boston College to play catch-up the rest of the night.
The Eagles got as close as 47-34 in the final minute of the half and within 13 a couple of times in the second half.
But every time Boston College challenged, the Johnsons or a teammate made a play to stop the rally and seal the win.
“He’s done some good things but I thought he showed a lot of poise tonight,” Painter said of Terone Johnson.
Ross Scores 20, No. 5 Ohio St Beats Maryland 76-60
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Welcome to the Big Ten, Terps.
LaQuinton Ross scored 17 of his 20 points in the first half, hitting his first four 3-pointers, to send No. 5 Ohio State to an early lead and a 76-60 victory over Maryland on Wednesday night in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
It was Maryland’s last appearance in the annual conference matchup – well, at least as an Atlantic Coast Conference team. Next year, the Terrapins join the Buckeyes in the new 14-team Big Ten.
“We didn’t talk about it being our last one,” coach Mark Turgeon said. “We just talked about Ohio State and obviously we didn’t do a good job playing against them. So give them credit.”
Sam Thompson added 14 points, including four rim-rattling dunks off alley-oop passes, and Lenzelle Smith Jr. had 12. Aaron Craft created havoc on defense and chipped in with 10 points as the Buckeyes (7-0) controlled the game at both ends.
“Basketball is basketball,” said ex-Xavier guard Dez Wells, who led Maryland with 19 points. “I don’t care what conference you’re in. That doesn’t matter to me.”
Ohio State blitzed the Terrapins (5-3) on defense – scoring 25 points off 14 turnovers. The Buckeyes also shot 60 percent on 3-pointers in the opening half and 52 percent from the field for the game.
The lead never dropped below double digits over the last 24 minutes, and the Buckeyes eased up after going up by 25 points in the second half.
Ohio State had struggled shooting in its first four games. But the Buckeyes lit it up for 69 percent from the field – the sixth-best mark in school history – during a 99-64 rout of North Florida on Saturday.
“We shot the ball well last game and we wanted to build off it,” said Craft, who finished with five steals and six assists. “We just wanted to come out and not have a slow start, come out with our minds right. We were able to do that. Obviously, LaQuinton helped out a lot coming in and knocking down those early shots. And that kind of relaxes everybody else and gets them going.”
The Buckeyes led 43-26 at halftime and never really let the game leave their grasp.
Ross was the difference early, making those first four shots from behind the arc. After Maryland became more aware of him on the perimeter, Thompson scored on two high-flying, alley-oop dunks that shook the arena.
Behind Ross’ 12 points, the Buckeyes broke out to an 18-9 lead.
The Terrapins regrouped to trade baskets and pull to 27-20 before Thompson had five points and Ross the other three in an 8-0 run.
Leading 35-26, Ohio State went on another 8-0 run.
On the Terps’ final possession of the half, Craft dived on the floor and stole the ball in a scrum, then passed it out while on the floor. Thompson got the ball, spun in the lane on a breakaway and then banked in a layup just as the buzzer sounded.
“We took the timeout,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “We said, ‘Hey, they’re going to take one shot, we can get a little risky here in terms of pushing up our pressure.’ For him to get down on the floor and flick it up like that, it was just a tremendous play.”
Maryland made a mini-run in the second half, but Thompson ended that by going high over the rim to stuff in back-to-back passes, one from Shannon Scott and the other from Craft.
“Shannon and Craft are so good at forcing steals and getting us out in transition,” Thompson said. “They draw so much attention in the open floor that I just do the easy part and I finish. They’ve always put the ball right on the money. All I have to do is just dunk it home.”
Former Michigan swingman Evan Smotrycz scored 15 points and Charles Mitchell added 12 points and 11 rebounds for Maryland, which had won four in a row after losing two of its first three.
Nebraska win produces tie in Big Ten/ACC Challenge
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – An early December game between two teams picked to finish at or near the bottom of their conferences never meant so much.
At least that’s the way Nebraska coach Tim Miles saw his Cornhuskers’ 60-49 victory over Miami on Wednesday night.
The win in the final game of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge allowed the Big Ten to forge a 6-6 tie in the 12-game, two-night competition. By virtue of the tie, the Big Ten retained the Commissioner’s Cup and is 3-10-2 in the 15 Challenges.
“We saved the Big Ten’s bacon, right?” Miles said. “We ended up hanging in there with that. That was important for us. We wanted to be part of that. Last year I don’t think anyone picked us to beat Wake (Forest) and we were able to do that. We like being part of this Challenge. It means something to our program.”
Terran Petteway scored all 14 of his points in the second half and blocked three shots and Walter Pitchford added 13 for the Huskers (6-2). Shavon Shields had nine points and seven rebounds, and Leslee Smith had 10 rebounds to go with seven points and two blocks.
Rion Brown had 23 of his 25 points in the second half for Miami (5-4).
“We just have a hard time scoring the ball,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “Different guys have to step up. Rion Brown had a big game and scored more than half our points. We can’t have one guy with 25 and no one else with more than five. You need better balance, and we didn’t have it tonight.”
The Huskers, picked to finish last in the Big Ten, went on a 19-9 run to break open the game after Miami pulled to 36-31. Pitchford hit a 3-pointer, took a charge on the other end and then made two free throws to blunt Miami’s comeback bid.
“Everybody on this team would do whatever they have to do to win,” Pitchford said. “I was in the right place at the right time.”
The Hurricanes shot 32 percent in an offensive performance symptomatic of a team in rebuilding mode after a run to the Sweet 16 last season. They lost all five starters from the 29-win team that won the ACC. This season the Hurricanes are picked 12th out of 15 in the ACC.
Miami, which had won two straight after coming from behind to beat Arizona State 60-57 on Sunday, scored under 50 points for the second time this season.
“I thought we played pretty hard,” Larranaga said. “I didn’t see a letup emotionally or physically. Normally you can see that. That’s basically the way we’ve been playing. If you look at our stats, we haven’t shot well this year.”
The Hurricanes went six minutes between field goals in both the first and second halves. The crowd rode Manu Lecomte and Davon Reed hard after they shot 3s that missed everything, chanting “air ball, air ball” every time they touched the ball the rest of the game.
Miles tweaked his backcourt, with Tai Webster starting for the first time in three games and Ray Gallegos for the first time in four games.
The Huskers held Miami to 24-percent shooting and a season-low 13 points in the first half. Webster’s drive to the basket ended the Huskers’ 5 ½-minute scoring drought and broke an 11-11 tie. Gallegos’ back-to-back 3s got the crowd on its feet and pushed the Huskers’ lead out to 22-13 at the break.
Miami never got closer than 36-31 after an 11-0 run that included a pair of 3s by Brown and another by Reed.
Now Nebraska prepares to meet in-state rival Creighton and two-time first-team All-American Doug McDermott in Omaha on Sunday.
“This is my first taste,” Smith said of the annual game against Creighton. “People talk about it, and I really follow that guy – what’s his name?”
Pitchford pointed out the guy’s name is McDermott.
“I really follow him a lot, just to see his game, to see his weaknesses and to see the way he plays,” Smith said. “He’s a real good player and he’s the heart and soul of that team. Our main focus is going to be getting him out of his sync and making sure the rest of the team doesn’t get comfortable. We’re going to try our best to come out with another victory.”
North Carolina beats No. 1 Michigan State 79-65
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – North Carolina flashed its potential again, earning another impressive victory after a second shaky setback.
J.P. Tokoto had 12 points and a career-high 10 rebounds to help the Tar Heels beat No. 1 Michigan State 79-65 Wednesday night.
North Carolina (5-2) has been talented enough to knock off the top-ranked Spartans and then-No. 3 Louisville this season, but the Tar Heels have also lost to Belmont and UAB.
“I truly believe after the Louisville win, our mentality after that was, ‘Birmingham is just going to be an automatic win. Just because we’re North Carolina,'” Tokoto said. “We can’t have that mentality – and kind of learned that Sunday night.
“We came here, were ready to play, intensity level was up, and we got results.”
The Spartans (7-1) lost to an unranked nonconference team at home for the first time in more than a decade. They looked nothing like the team that beat then-No. 1 Kentucky a few weeks ago or the program that has had so much success over nearly two decades under coach Tom Izzo.
“One of the more disappointing performances of my career here,” Izzo said. “From the jump ball, they kind of took it to us.”
The Tar Heels took control from the start, never trailed and used a 12-1 run to take a 65-52 lead with 6:02 left.
“Michigan State did not want it that much more than we did,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.
“We looked soft,” he lamented.
North Carolina outrebounded the Spartans by 11, leading to 19 second-chance points. The Tar Heels turned 14 of Michigan State’s turnovers into 19 points and held the Spartans to 36 percent shooting.
“We’re as happy as we can possibly be – 179 degrees away from where we were after the UAB game,” Williams said.
Kennedy Meeks scored 15 points for North Carolina and Brice Johnson had 14 off the bench. Marcus Paige and Nate Britt added 13 apiece.
“You can’t tell in college basketball what’s going to happen,” Williams said. “At one point, we had three freshmen, a sophomore and a junior on the court.”
Gary Harris had 17 points and Keith Appling scored 13, but both Michigan State guards missed 10 of 15 shots. Adreian Payne had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Spartans, whose last loss at home against an unranked nonconference team was Toledo on Dec. 30, 2002.
The Tar Heels beat a No. 1 team for the first time since March 4, 2006, at Duke, and they have a nation-high 13 wins over top-ranked teams. They’ve won seven straight against the Spartans, including in the 2009 NCAA final.
Tokoto has taken advantage of an expanded role while P.J. Hairston and Leslie McDonald sit out because of NCAA eligibility concerns.
The 6-foot-5 Tokoto, who is from Wisconsin, made some friends and family members in the stands at the Breslin Center happy while green-and-white clad fans didn’t have much to get excited about.
Tokoto blocked a shot early in the second half, got to a loose ball and threw it to Appling – while the Michigan State player was standing out of bounds – and made three straight shots later in the half to help the Tar Heels pull away.
“J.P. was really active,” Williams said. “He did a lot of things. He’s so athletic.”
Michigan State pulled into a 32-all tie at halftime after an awful start, struggling to take care of the ball or make shots.
The Tar Heels scored the first six points of the game and led 16-4 while holding the Spartans to 1-of-7 shooting with four turnovers.
On the bench, North Carolina freshman Isaiah Hicks implored his teammates to keep playing and avoid looking at the scoreboard. The Tar Heels seemed to do that, building a 20-6 cushion midway through the first half as Michigan State missed nine of 11 shots and turned the ball over six times.
The Spartans got a scare later in the half when Appling landed hard on his right hip after defending a shot. He hobbled off the court, but was able to return to action before halftime.
Michigan State outscored the Tar Heels 13-2 over the last several minutes of the first half.
The Spartans, though, couldn’t do enough to get ahead in the second half and they will likely fall in next week’s poll after being No. 1 for a school-record three weeks this season.
“They came off a loss and they looked hungrier,” Izzo said. “We came off all the hype and we looked not as hungry.
N.C. State Beats Northwestern 69-48
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – T.J. Warren scored 22 points to help North Carolina State beat Northwestern 69-48 on Wednesday night in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Ralston Turner added 13 points for the Wolfpack (5-2), who led nearly all night and by as many as 23 points after halftime. N.C. State shot 46 percent to win its third straight overall, while the win against Northwestern (4-5) stopped a five-game losing streak in the annual interconference matchup.
Warren had 16 points by the break and flirted with his third straight 30-point outing before cooling off after halftime. But he got plenty of help, led by freshman Lennard Freeman posting season-highs with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Drew Crawford scored 17 to lead the Wildcats and first-year coach Chris Collins, who was making a return to the region after spending the past 13 years as an assistant to Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in nearby Durham.
N.C. State’s last Challenge win came against Michigan in November 2006 under Sidney Lowe. The Wolfpack lost to Northwestern here in the Challenge in 2009, with four of the five straight Challenge losses coming by at least 11 points.
This time, the Wolfpack stayed in control all night to give Collins a frustrating return to the state.
His team shot poorly from the start and finished at 25 percent (13 for 52), including 6 for 22 from 3-point range.
In addition, referee Roger Ayers whistled Collins for a technical foul early in the second half after Crawford drove into the paint but didn’t get a whistle as Jordan Vandenberg blocked his shot.
Vandenberg followed Warren’s free throws on Collins’ technical with a hook shot to make it 39-22 with 17:34 left.
Northwestern got as close as 15 before the Wolfpack answered with six straight points, with Freeman scoring on a stickback and then on a transition dunk off a feed from fellow rookie Anthony “Cat” Barber to push the margin to 50-29 with 10:09 left.
Vandenberg, the 7-foot-1 fifth-year senior who made his season debut last week after a preseason ankle injury, turned in his second straight double-figure scoring performance with 12 points to go with five blocks.
Turner matched his season-high in scoring and hit three 3-pointers, while N.C. State dominated inside to take a 38-10 edge in points in the paint.
Harris, Virginia miss, No. 8 Wisconsin wins 48-38
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Joe Harris had plenty of company in his misery after a brutal offensive performance for Virginia.
Averaging 12 1-2 points per game as the Cavaliers’ scoring leader, he managed just two in a 48-38 loss to No. 8 Wisconsin on Wednesday night.
Harris missed nine of 10 shots. The rest of the starting five? They missed 15 of 21.
“We obviously had a horrendous offensive night.” Harris said.
The Cavaliers’ 23.4 percent (11 of 47) shooting percentage was the fourth-lowest in school history, and the 38 points was the second-fewest for a Virginia team in the shot clock era, since 1986.
Wisconsin limited Virginia to its lowest point total since a 77-36 loss to Connecticut on Nov. 29, 1993.
It figured to make Thursday’s film session eye-opening.
“We’re going to learn how poorly we played offensively and how out of sync and out of character we got,” Harris said. “We’re all going to be shocked.”
The Cavaliers (7-2) had won six in a row, helped by unselfish play and ball movement that led to good shots.
“I don’t know what the heck was going on tonight. The mindset wasn’t there,” Harris said.
The Badgers, led by Josh Gasser’s 11 points, won despite shooting just 29 percent, making 15 of 52 shots, and gave coach Bo Ryan his 300th victory with the Badgers.
The Badgers (9-0) extended their best start since opening 11-0 in 1993-94. They limited Virginia to just three baskets in a stretch of nearly 22 minutes spanning the halves.
Wisconsin avenged a 60-54 loss to the Cavaliers in Madison, Wis., in last year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Harris scored 22 points in that win.
“I think Wisconsin did to us, in a way, what we did to them last year,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “Last year we outlasted them a little bit. When it mattered, they were sounder, more poised and made plays.”
London Perrantes led Virginia with eight points. The Cavaliers tried to make a run by speeding up the slow pace midway through the second half, but came up well short.
Malcolm Brogdon was 1 for 7 and Anthony Gill went 1 for 3.
Harris was called for a charge after a steal with Virginia trailing 43-36, and after Gasser made a free throw for Wisconsin, the Cavaliers missed three shots from within 3 feet on their next trip.
Wisconsin used a 10-5 run over the last 7 minutes of the first half to lead 25-20 at the break.
The Badgers also scored the first five points of the second half as Virginia’s string of missed shots stretched to 13. After Dario Atkins hit a free throw for the Cavaliers 4:23 into the second half, a putback by Frank Kaminsky and a drive by Traevon Jackson pushed Wisconsin’s lead to 34-21, and Virginia took a timeout.
The Cavaliers scored seven straight points, energizing the crowd as they closed to 37-30 on Akil Mitchell’s free throw with 8:08 to play, but Ben Brust scored on a drive and Gasser’s 3-pointer made it 42-30.
The Cavaliers got to 44-38 with 1:40 left, but never scored again.
Wake Forest Pulls Away For 72-57 Win Over Tulane
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Coron Williams came off the bench to score 18 points and Wake Forest pulled away from Tulane in the second half for a 72-57 victory Wednesday.
Codi Miller-McIntyre added 12 points and Tyler Cavanaugh 11 for the Demon Deacons (7-2), who led by seven points at the half only to see Tulane (4-5) rally to tie the score twice in the first five minutes of the second half.
Louis Dabney scored 29 points for the Green Wave, including a floater in the lane with 14:55 remaining that tied the game at 40-40. But Wake Forest responded with a 10-point run that pushed its lead into double figures.
Williams made a three-point play and drained a 3-pointer from the corner during the run, which put the Demon Deacons ahead 50-40 with 12:40 remaining.
Tulane could pull no closer than eight points the rest of the way, as Wake Forest’s reserves outscored the Green Wave 34-5.
Jonathan Stark added 10 points for Tulane, which has now lost five straight after opening the season 4-0.
Behind Dabney, who scored 16 points in the first half, the Green Wave led twice in the opening five minutes of the game. Tulane went up by three points, 10-7, on Stark’s layup with16:33 remaining.
But Williams hit three 3-pointers over a 98-second span to ignite a 19-4 run. His first 3-pointer from the corner with 13:45 left put Wake Forest ahead, and Andre Washington’s free throw with 10:09 remaining gave the Demon Deacons a 26-16 lead, their biggest of the half.
However, Wake Forest went more than five-and-a-half minutes between field goals, allowing Tulane to cut the Demon Deacons’ lead to five points four times in the final five minutes of the half, the last at 32-27 on Dabney’s floater with 1:05 left.
Washington then hit a pair of free throws with 34 seconds remaining to give Wake Forest a 34-27 lead at the halftime break.