Georgia Tech holds off Boston College, 68-60
BOSTON (AP) – Georgia Tech went from woeful to unbelievable offensively.
Trae Golden scored eight of his 24 points in the closing 2:16 and Georgia Tech held on after nearly blowing a big second-half lead to beat Boston College 68-60 on Tuesday night.
Coming off a 56-42 loss at home against Miami when the Yellow Jackets shot just 29.5 percent, they hit 73.9 percent in the opening half against Boston College in building a 15-point halftime edge.
“We were disappointed with Saturday’s aggressiveness on offense,” Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. “I told the guys, ‘If you’re going to go down, you’ve got to go down swinging.’ We’re a little bit undermanned right now with the injuries and different things. We can’t play on our heels, and I thought we did that on Saturday. We talked the past two days that we’ve got to grab the bull by the horn on the offensive end.”
Kammeon Holsey added 13 points and Chris Bolden 11 for the Yellow Jackets (11-8, 2-4 Atlantic Coast Conference).
After nearly wasting away the big lead, Georgia Tech hung on for just the second win in six games.
“I don’t know, but we’re going to figure it out so we can make sure we do it when we go to N.C. State,” Golden said of the hot start. “I think the biggest thing is being confident and aggressive. That’s the biggest key in basketball, being confident and aggressive.”
Olivier Hanlan had 19 points and Lonnie Jackson 14 for Boston College (5-14, 1-5). The Eagles lost for the 10th time in 12 games.
Hanlan, who scored 41 against Georgia Tech in the ACC tourney last season, nearly helped BC to a much-needed victory.
“I thought a lot of our guys played with passion,” Eagles coach Steve Donahue said. “I think (Hanlan) is doing as much as he can to help us win.”
Boston College, which trailed by 19 points in the first half, closed it to 57-56 on Patrick Heckmann’s dunk with 4:45 to play. The Eagles had two chances to take their first lead of the game before Golden nailed a running bank shot and followed Joe Rahon’s miss from beyond the arc by hitting a 3 from the top, making it 62-56 with 1:26 to play.
The Eagles made their charge by going 6-for-8 on 3-point attempts in the opening 10-and-a-half minutes of the second half.
Trailing by 18 early in the second half, BC made a run behind some sharp long-range shooting by Jackson, who nailed three straight 3s that helped slice the gap to 50-42 on Hanlan’s fast break layup with just under 16 minutes to play.
After a pair of baskets by Georgia Tech, Hanlan hit two more 3s during a 9-1 run, his second closing it to 55-51 with 9-and-a-half minutes left.
BC looked like an entirely different team defensively in the second half, playing a zone, double-teaming nearly every time a Yellow Jackets’ player caught the ball near the lane and forcing them to take a number of tough shots late in the shot clock. Georgia Tech missed 13 of its first 17 shots in the second half.
The Yellow Jackets matched their entire scoring output from a loss at home on Saturday against Miami by scoring 42 in the first half to lead Boston College by 15 at intermission. They went 17 of 23 from the field, going 6 for 8 on 3-point attempts.
Georgia Tech started hot from the field, making 14 of its initial 16 shots, and didn’t cool down until missing the final two. The Yellow Jackets pulled to a double digit lead (12-2) just 3:40 into the game after Golden scored seven straight points. Bolden’s 3 from the left corner gave them a 16-3 lead.
Georgia Tech used a 12-2 run midway into the half to pull to its biggest lead of the game, 34-15, on Holsey’s layup. Bolden and Golden each hit 3s during the spree.
BC shot just 36 percent (9 of 25) in the opening half, missing eight of its 10 3-point attempts. The Eagles had a tough time getting the ball inside Georgia Tech‘s 2-3 zone.
Due to a snowstorm that hit the area around rush hour combined with a 9 P.M. start, there were about 500 fans in the stands when the game tipped off, but a late arriving group of BC students helped bring some energy and noise to a quiet arena early into the game.
Hanlan’s 41 in last ACC tourney was the most points in any tourney game since 1970.
It was Georgia Tech‘s first of four of five on the road. The Yellow Jackets are at North Carolina State on Sunday.
BC is off until it hosts Virginia Tech next Wednesday.
“We’re going to us it to rest and use it for a chance to work on things,” Donahue said.
Florida State edges past Notre Dame 76-74
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Coach Leonard Hamilton didn’t call the final play for Ian Miller, but the Florida State senior wasn’t giving up the rock with the game on the line.
Miller stood at the top of the key with the final moments of the second half melting away during a tie game against Notre Dame before driving into the teeth of the Fighting Irish zone and putting up a floater in the lane.
Miller hit the hop-step floater with 4 seconds remaining to give Florida State a 76-74 win against Notre Dame in their first meeting as Atlantic Coast Conference opponents.
“Whenever that time comes, you’ve just got to be ready and embrace it and stay calm, don’t panic,” Miller said. “If I would have missed, I would have been too pissed. We work on that every day.
“Coach says I’m his best offensive player. Basically I just want coach to give it to me. Live and die with me. Congrats to Coach Ham.”
Aaron Thomas scored 20 points in his first start of the season as Florida State held on. Miller finished with 11 points and the biggest bucket of the game. Teammate Okaro White chipped in 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Eric Atkins led Notre Dame with 24 points while teammate Garrick Sherman finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Florida State should have been able to put the game away after shooting 58 percent from the floor and a 10-point lead with 7:55 left. But the Seminoles couldn’t get stops in the second half. Notre Dame’s Pat Connaughton hit a layup with 34 seconds left to tie at 74-74.
Then it was Miller time.
The Seminoles took a time out and left Miller isolated at the top of the key while the Fighting Irish sat in a zone. Miller passed the ball twice and got it right back before driving into the teeth of the defense and flipping up a floater in the paint to win the game with 4 seconds left.
“He hit a tough shot,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said. “You’ve got to give a really good player a lot of credit for knocking down a big shot at a key time.”
The Seminoles (13-5, 4-2) have won 8 of 10 with both losses against Virginia. Florida State hits the road Saturday to take on No. 18 Duke.
Notre Dame (11-8, 2-4) has gone 1-4 since upsetting Duke. The Fighting Irish face Wake Forest Saturday.
The Seminoles couldn’t miss from behind the arc in the first half, hitting 5 of 7. That left Florida State 24 of 40 combined in their last two games at home.
The Florida State offense ran through 7-footers Boris Bojanovsky and Michael Ojo early, but it was the long-ball that kept Notre Dame on its heels throughout the half. Twelve offensive rebounds, however, gave the Fighting Irish extra possessions throughout the game. Notre Dame outrebounded Florida State 29-26.
“We did not get the ball inside nearly as much as we had planned,” Hamilton said. “We kind of lived by the jump shot a little too much and we (had a stretch) where we were not hitting and gave them an opportunity to get back in the game.
“Anytime you can win a game in the ACC at this time of the year, you have to be very grateful.”
Notre Dame cut the score to 63-57 with less than 10 minutes to play when Bojanovsky took a charge that left Brey livid. He was called for a technical foul and the Seminoles stretched a six-point lead to 10.
White didn’t start for the first time all season for Florida State. He was reprimanded before the game by the ACC for conduct at the end of the 78-66 loss at Virginia. Thomas started in his place and White checked in at the 16:35 mark of the first half.
“I’m getting more comfortable offensively,” Thomas said. “I’m just trying to do what I can.”
No. 20 Pittsburgh throttles Clemson 76-43
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon watched his team melt down in the final moments in a loss at No. 2 Syracuse over the weekend and wondered how the Panthers, who he insists are still finding themselves, would respond.
“Is there going to be carryover? Are you going to be down?” Dixon asked. “I was concerned about that. But they looked more angry than disappointed.”
Talib Zanna scored 22 points on near flawless shooting and the 20th-ranked Panthers drilled Clemson 76-43 on Tuesday night.
Zanna connected on 9 of 10 shots, most of them dunks or layups, as the Panthers (17-2, 5-1 ACC) bounced back from the potentially crushing loss to the Orange by overwhelming the Tigers.
“We came out to prove something,” Dixon said.
At both ends of the court.
Pitt held Clemson to 32 percent shooting (16 of 50) and displayed remarkable willingness to share the ball on offense. The Panthers had 24 assists on 27 field goals.
“I think from the start of the game we just tried to play our style of game, play as hard as we can, execute as best we could,” Pitt guard James Robinson said. “We’re a very unselfish team. When somebody gives up their shot to let somebody else make a play, it usually comes back around.”
It came around often on a night the Panthers posted their fourth-highest margin of victory in conference play in school history.
Lamar Patterson scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds to become the 19th Pitt player to top 1,000 points and 500 rebounds and often served as the catalyst during a first half in which the Panthers raced to quick lead and never let the Tigers (13-5, 4-2) in it.
“They make plays out of nowhere every once in awhile,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “The defense isn’t as bad as it looks, they’re just so good passing the ball. It’s demoralizing to play defense for 30 seconds and give up a layup.”
K.J. McDaniels battled early foul trouble and finished with 11 points for the Tigers but Clemson appeared overmatched from the opening tip. Pitt needed less than 10 minutes to build a double-digit lead and cruised while handing the Tigers their worst loss of the season.
Clemson came in one of the bigger surprises in the new-look ACC. Wins over Duke, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest had the Tigers off to their best conference start since 1997. The game against the Panthers marked the beginning of a difficult stretch in which Clemson plays five of six on the road, including visits to North Carolina and Syracuse.
As promising as things have looked at times, Brownell admitted there’s still plenty of work to be done.
“All of a sudden you get slapped in the face a little bit and it’s real,” he said. “There’s nowhere to hide.”
There certainly wasn’t on a night the Panthers provided the Tigers with a glimpse of what life at the top of the ACC looks like.
Pitt used a quick 11-0 burst to take control, their fluid offense working just fine even without sophomore forward Durand Johnson, who is sidelined for the rest of the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee on Jan. 11. The student section wore white headbands – Johnson’s signature look – in tribute while his teammates did a pretty solid impression of Johnson’s streaky 3-point shooting.
Clemson came in ranked third in the country in 3-point defense but could do little more than watch as the Panthers hit 4 of 7 3-pointers during a near flawless opening 20 minutes. Pitt made 12 baskets during the first half, and recorded assists on all 12.
There was no such efficiency for the Tigers. Clemson had as many turnovers (8) as baskets during arguably their worst 20-minute stretch of the season.
The result was a 37-20 Pitt lead, the Tigers’ biggest halftime deficit this season.
“Our guys played like a young team that got a little nervous,” Brownell said.
It didn’t get any better. Patterson opened the second half with a 3-point heave that splashed through the net as the shot clock expired to give Pitt a 20-point lead.
At one point Clemson guard Austin Ajukwa received a technical foul with 8 minutes left for hanging on the rim after a breakaway dunk that made it 61-33.
Brownell screamed “We’re down by 40″ at Ajukwa as the Panthers went to the free throw line. Robinson made the ensuing free throws to push the lead back to 30 as the “We Want Duke” chants started. The Panthers host the 18th-ranked Blue Devils next Monday.