Boston College coasts by Virginia Tech, 76-52
BOSTON (AP) – Boston College took advantage of a rare lengthy midseason break between games and looked like a different team.
Joe Rahon scored 20 points, Ryan Anderson 18 and BC nailed a season high 14 from 3-point range in a 76-52 rout over Virginia Tech Wednesday night.
Playing their first game in eight days, the Eagles came out hot on offense and didn’t let up in beating the Hokies for the second time this season.
Eagles coach Steve Donahue simply avoided talking about his team’s early season struggles during the break.
“I always erase the negative,” he said. “We worked on the things we have to do to be better. At times we don’t compete hard on both sides of the ball. This may sound strange, but we have to compete hard on the offensive side of the ball, too.”
They executed extremely well in the first half, shooting 68.4 percent (13 of 19) and hitting 7 of 12 from beyond the arc to take a 46-33 lead into intermission.
“We took some bad shots, which led to them getting open shots,” Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said.
Patrick Heckmann added 14 points and Olivier Hanlan finished with 11 for the Eagles (6-14, 2-5 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Jarell Eddie led Virginia Tech (8-12, 1-7) with 23 points and 10 rebounds. It was the Hokies’ seventh straight loss.
Rahon added six assists and Anderson had eight boards.
“We moved the ball and played for each other,” Rahon said. “The only thing on our minds was how to make our teammates better.”
It was BC’s second largest victory since joining the ACC. The Eagles were 14 for 37 from 3-point range.
“I think we shot the ball well,” Donahue said. “I think that’s something we can do. We need to make teams guard us on the (3-point) line.”
It was just BC’s second win nine games. The Eagles struggled with a tough non-conference schedule.
“All these things build confidence,” Donahue said. “The last eight days the guys worked hard.”
The Eagles led by 13 at halftime after a sizzling shooting opening 20 minutes, and they didn’t cool off to start the second. Hanlan nailed a pair of 3s as the Eagles scored the initial eight points, opening a 54-33 lead with 18:23 to play.
Following three free throws by the Hokies after Hanlan was whistled for a foul and a technical, Heckmann hit two more 3s 17 seconds apart to push BC’s advantage to 60-36 with 16:19 left.
Virginia Tech didn’t look interested in making a comeback over the next few minutes that was filled with sloppy passing and poor shooting. The Hokies shot just 21.7 percent in the second half (5 of 23).
“Very, very disappointed on both ends of the floor,” Johnson said. “I thought Steve’s team came out prepared to play.”
Alex Dragicevich’s 3-pointer with 6 ½ minutes to play gave the Eagles a 76-46 lead. They didn’t score the rest of the way, but it didn’t matter.
BC beat Virginia Tech 62-59 on Jan. 11, winning on a late 3-pointer from Lonnie Jackson.
On Wednesday, they had a lot of open 3s early and nailed them.
“There’s no doubt the ball always seems to go in more when it’s whipped around the floor more before it’s shot,” Rahon said.
In the opening 6 minutes of the game, the Eagles connected on four 3s to pull to 16-7 edge. Heckmann nailed consecutive triples just 59 seconds apart.
The Hokies switched defenses in the early part of the game, going from man-to-man to zone, but that fit right into BC’s offense, which usually looks to take a fairly large number of 3-pointers.
BC then opened its first double digit lead of the game, 23-12, on Dragicevich’s 3 from the left corner 9:05 into the half.
The Hokies sliced it to seven on Eddie’s conventional three-point play before the Eagles went on a 12-4 run over the ensuing 3 minutes, pulling to their largest lead of the half, 38-23, on Jackson’s 3-pointer.
The Hokies were without forward C.J. Barksdale, who was out with a strained groin, and guard Adam Smith, who is expected to miss two weeks with a strained left calf.
BC next plays at Notre Dame on Saturday. Virginia Tech hosts Maryland on Saturday.
Wells leads Maryland over Miami 74-71
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – Dez Wells hadn’t missed a shot all night, and with the game tied and the clock winding down, Maryland’s leading scorer had no intention of finally clanging one off the rim.
Wells drilled the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds left to provide Maryland with a 74-71 victory over Miami on Wednesday night.
Limited to five minutes of playing time and no shots in the first half after picking up two quick fouls, Wells went 7 for 7 from the floor and 6 for 6 at the foul line over the final 20 minutes to finish with 21 points.
The Terrapins blew a 10-point lead over the final 2 minutes before Wells connected from the top of the key to break the deadlock.
“I’ve taken those shots a million times since the preseason,” Wells said. “I just have confidence in my shot. In those type of situations, I was smiling. I feel no pressure.”
After Wells’ final basket, Maryland fouled Manu Lacomte, who missed both free throws with 2.5 seconds remaining. Lacomte botched the second one intentionally, but Maryland’s Jake Layman grabbed the rebound an instant before the final buzzer.
Layman and Evan Smotrycz each tallied 15 points for the Terrapins, who won for only the second time in six games. Maryland (12-9, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 55-54 with 8:37 remaining before Wells scored 10 points during a 15-4 run that made it 69-59 with 2:32 to go.
Miami came back, though, in a game that was tied eight times and had 11 lead changes.
The difference was Wells.
“He only played five minutes in the first half. He was very well-rested, very determined to come in and have a much better half,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “He made an incredible shot to win the game. He just rose up from 3. He’s not what you would call a lights out 3-point shooter. It’s not his bread-and-butter shot. He was shooting the ball so well tonight that I sure he felt like, ‘Hey, I can make this.'”
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon was hoping Wells would take the shot from closer to the basket, but had no complaints with the result.
“I’d rather have Dez drive it, but he shot it and I’m glad he made it,” Turgeon said. “He had made up his mind. We had our guys in the right spot and he was feeling good.”
Rion Brown led Miami with 25 points and Lacomte had 19. The Hurricanes (10-10, 2-6) have dropped four of five.
“We played better offense than we normally do. We shot the ball well,” Larranaga said. “We were 10 for 20 in the first half, 12 for 24 in the second half, 50 percent for the game, 42 percent from 3. The only thing we didn’t shoot well is from the foul line.”
Miami went 18 for 28 at the line, including 12 for 13 by Brown. The Hurricanes struggled defensively, however, giving up the more points than in any ACC game this season and allowing the Terps to shoot 70 percent (16 for 23) after halftime.
Maryland threatened to pull away several times in the second half, but Miami wouldn’t let it happen.
The Terrapins led 36-31, 43-35 and 48-40 before the Hurricanes rallied. A 3-pointer by Davon Reed capped a 10-2 spurt that tied it at 50. After Maryland got layups from Layman and Wells, Miami countered with a jumper by Garrius Adams and a 3 by Brown to move in front for the first time since late in the first half.
The back-and-forth duel continued when Wells made two foul shots and Adams made one of two at the line to tie it at 56 with seven minutes left.
A first half that featured seven lead changes and three ties ended with Maryland using a late layup by Seth Allen to go up 30-29.
After Miami used a 7-0 run to take a 14-11 lead, the Terrapins got 3-pointers from Smotrycz, Layman and Nick Faust in an 11-2 run. The Hurricanes then reeled off six straight points to temporarily move back in front.
North Carolina wins at Georgia Tech 78-65
ATLANTA (AP) – Due to a historic snow/ice storm Tuesday, it took a while for Marcus Paige and his North Carolina teammates to make it to their Atlanta hotel, and he was slow to arrive for the Tar Heels’ 78-65 win over Georgia Tech as well.
He scored all but two of his 19 points in the second half Wednesday, when the Tar Heels turned a one-point halftime lead into a walk-away win.
The game was played despite Atlanta being hit Tuesday by a storm that grid-locked much of the region through Wednesday.
An ESPN2 telecast was cancelled because of the inability of the production crew to reach the site, and an NBA game between the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks was postponed in Philips Arena, just over a mile from McCamish Pavilion.
The game was played, though, because ACC policy dictates that the only reason a game should be postponed or cancelled is if the conditions affect the safety of the teams or game officials involved.
The Tar Heels arrived in Atlanta late Tuesday, and although they had to take a mass transit train from the airport to near their hotel, they and three game officials were able to get to McCamish.
UNC led just 26-25 after a first half in which the Heels shot just 31 percent. In the second half, Paige and his teammates shot 67 percent, and doubled their first-half point production on 15 fewer shots.
North Carolina players and coaches arrived at their hotel around 1 a.m. Wednesday or about four hours late.
“It was crazy (traveling to Atlanta),” Paige said.” The plane ride was bumpy . . . We realize that we were more fortunate than the people that were stuck out on the highways for 20 hours or so.”
Georgia Tech (11-10, 2-6) never really had North Carolina (13-7, 3-4) on the ropes in the first half, but the injury-ravaged hosts were competitive.
Marcus Georges-Hunt scored 17 points for the Yellow Jackets, and center Daniel Miller added 12 with five blocks.
Trae Golden scored just six of his game-high 21 points before intermission, but the Jackets limited UNC to 31 percent shooting (12-for-39) over the first 20 minutes.
Golden scored the Jackets’ final five points and Tech closed with a 10-2 run to pull within a point of the Heels.
“The first half was probably the worst that the combination of Marcus, Leslie (McDonald) and J.P. (Tokoto) have played,” said UNC coach Roy Williams.
Foul trouble looked like it might become an issue for the Tar Heels early in the second half as starting forwards Tokoto and James Michael McAdoo picked up their fourth fouls, with 16:37 and 15:49 left respectively.
North Carolina led 36-31 as McAdoo departed, but after Tech quickly cut the margin to two on a Golden 3-pointer with 15:17 left, the Heels went about re-building a comfortable lead.
Paige led the way.
He countered with one of his three 3-pointers 19 seconds later, and scored 11 of the Heels’ next 22 points and gave them a 58-48 lead on another trey with 4:50 to go.
“I think we gave Paige a couple open looks, and once you do that with a good player he gets him going so he got in a rhythm,” Golden said.
The Tar Heels scored 52 second-half points on 16-for-24 shooting, including 4 for 6 on 3-pointers, and they made 16 of 20 free throws.
McAdoo added 17 points in just 18 minutes before fouling out, and McDonald had 15.
Paige, who added five rebounds, made the Heels go.
“He had seven assists and zero turnovers. When he plays well, they’re an elite-level team,” Georgia Tech’s coach Brian Gregory said. “I think it’s probably well chronicled, but when Marcus Paige plays at that level, they’re a Final Four caliber team.”
NC State outlasts Florida State 74-70
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – There’s a confidence that’s growing with the North Carolina State basketball team after every game. Even with the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading scorer, T.J. Warren, sitting on the bench after fouling out late in Wednesday night’s 74-70 victory over Florida State, the Wolfpack now know someone will step up with a key basket or big stop when it counts.
For the second straight game, Desmond Lee was that player.
Up by two points with under 20 seconds left, Ralston Turner missed a 3-pointer and Lee tried to tip in the rebound. He missed, but made his second effort with 9 seconds remaining to secure N.C. State’s (14-7, 4-4) third straight victory.
“Ralston got off a good shot and I knew I was going to the basket,” said Lee (11 points). “One way or another, I was going to grab the rebound or get the tip in. I just tried to stay with it.”
For the second straight year, Warren scored at least 30 points against the Seminoles (13-7, 4-4). Wednesday night he had 30 points – 20 in the first half – and grabbed seven rebounds.
Without Warren’s hot hand in the first half, the Wolfpack would have been in trouble against the taller Seminoles. Warren scored 15 of N.C. State’s first 24 points and the Wolfpack led by as many as seven in the first half.
“I wanted to come out aggressive and make plays,” Warren said. “Right now it’s all about winning.”
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton was impressed with Warren’s play.
“He is an outstanding, savvy player,” Hamilton said. “He always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Put him in any setting and the ball always seems to be in his hands. He is one of the most efficient players I have seen in a long time.”
The Seminoles tried to use its size advantage in the first half, especially with N.C. State center Jordan Vandenberg out with foul trouble and backup Beejay Anya sent to the sideline with a right leg injury with 13:39 left in the half. Okaro White (20 points) scored five points and helped the Seminoles pull into a 28-28 tie with about 4 minutes left.
The Wolfpack’s smaller lineup, with Tyler Lewis running the point, went on an 11-5 run to close out the half up by six, capped by a Warren 3-pointer with 2 seconds left. Despite the size difference, N.C. State outscored the Seminoles in the paint 22-14 in the half, and 42-26 overall.
“I’m really proud of my team,” N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried said. “A lot of things happened in the game that they had to overcome. Tyler played some great minutes and had seven assists and no turnovers. He made some great passes at key times. He is playing with a high level of confidence. T.J. was phenomenal and Desmond made a heck of a play again.”
Down the stretch, the Wolfpack had to hold off Florida State after Warren fouled out with 1:36 remaining and his team holding a 72-68 lead. White made only two of four free throws but Lee scored five of the Pack’s final seven points – including the tip-in.
“You are only as good as your last game,” Gottfried said. “A win is a win and a loss is a loss. We have to come back tomorrow at practice and make sure we work at getting better.”
No. 2 Orange move to 20-0 by beating Wake 67-57
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Only two Syracuse teams have won their first 20 games, and C.J. Fair has been a member of both.
This current one, he says, is “a hard-fought 20-game winning streak.”
Not much came easy during the Orange’s latest victory.
No. 2 Syracuse matched the best start in program history Wednesday night, pulling away to beat Wake Forest 67-57 behind a strong second half from freshman Tyler Ennis.
Ennis scored 16 of his 18 points after halftime and Fair finished with 16 points for the Orange (20-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), while Trevor Cooney scored all eight of his in the final 1:45.
Syracuse remained one of three unbeaten teams in Division I with No. 1 Arizona, which beat Stanford 60-57 on Wednesday, and No. 4 Wichita State.
The Orange pulled away late while sidestepping a possible trap with a visit from No. 17 Duke coming up this weekend, and joined the 2011-12 group as the only Orange teams to start 20-0.
“We’ve got a long stretch ahead of us,” Fair said.
In their first visit to Tobacco Road as ACC members, they had to work for it against a Wake Forest team that had been perfect at home and tough on visitors in the top five.
“It was just one of those games you’re just trying to struggle through defensively, and we did just a good enough job defensively to be able to get the win,” coach Jim Boeheim said. “You have to find a way to win these games, and this team has been able to do that.”
Travis McKie scored 12 points for the Demon Deacons (14-7, 4-4), and his free throw with 4:10 left pulled them to 54-49.
But while Wake Forest came up empty on its next two trips down court, Cooney caught fire.
“We needed one of those timely 3s to go in,” McKie said. “If we just would’ve got three more of those 3s to go in, we’d be looking at a different outcome.”
The guard buried a fall-away jumper that he called “the toughest shot I had all day.” He followed that with two free throws to give Syracuse its first double-figure lead and streaked down court for an open-court dunk after a steal by Fair to put the Orange up 62-50 with 1:19 left.
“I heard C.J. say, ‘Shoot it,'” Cooney said. “And no one needs to tell me to shoot it.”
By then, they could look ahead to hosting the Blue Devils at the Carrier Dome in one of the season’s most widely anticipated matchups.
Devin Thomas scored 12 points for Wake Forest, which had won 13 straight at Joel Coliseum and had won three straight home games against top-five teams – a run that included a rout of then-No. 2 Miami last season.
Just about all of the Demon Deacons’ key stats suggested they would be blown out: They shot 34 percent, were outrebounded 55-35, made just three of their 20 3-point attempts and were 18 of 30 from the free throw line.
“They’re long and athletic, so their zone is definitely a force to be reckoned with,” McKie said. “We had great looks. We just didn’t knock it down.”
But some of the Orange’s numbers were equally poor – they shot 36 percent and were 22 of 33 from the free throw line – and that allowed Wake Forest to stay within striking distance for much of the game.
“For the most part, we did a good job on their shooters, and when they got an open look, they just didn’t make it,” Boeheim said. “Same as us.”
Joel Coliseum was buzzing when Wake Forest turned an eight-point deficit into a one-possession game in the span of a few seconds midway through the second half.
Robert Morris transfer Coron Williams swished a 3-pointer before Madison Jones swiped the ball from Cooney and hit a quick layup to make it 40-37 with 12½ minutes left.
Ennis, who was 0 for 6 from the field in the first half, followed by reeling off eight points – all on drives down or across the lane – in about 4 minutes to give the Orange a bit of breathing room.
His finger roll helped Syracuse match its largest lead to that point, 48-40, with about 8½ minutes left.
Jerami Grant finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Orange.