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.
Denson, Auburn upset Clemson, 66-64
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – The Auburn Tigers came out determined to put up a fight after two lackluster performances, and they did just that.
Chris Denson scored 19 points and Auburn hit 4 of 6 free throws over the final 43 seconds to preserve a 66-64 win over Clemson Thursday night after back-to-back lopsided defeats.
“We fought all night, and I don’t think we did that in the last two games,” Denson said. “They had that run when we got down by (nine) and the last two games, in our mind, the game would be over.”
Denson hit 1 of 2 free throws with 43 seconds left to give Auburn (5-3) a 63-62 lead. Then Asauhn Dixon-Tatum left his man and blocked Rod Hall’s jumper.
Tahj Shamsid-Deen grabbed the rebound and he and KT Harrell pushed the ball across midcourt and milked 10 seconds off the clock before Clemson managed to foul. Harrell hit both free throws with 14 seconds left.
Clemson (8-3) called timeout with 4.5 seconds left but Auburn fouled Jordan Roper before he could get a shot off. He missed both foul shots, but the ball went out of bounds to Clemson. Landry Nnoka hit a quick layup off an inbounds pass with 2 seconds remaining to cut it to 65-64.
“Obviously I didn’t want to do it,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “Auburn did a good job. They knew we needed a 3-point shot, and they put almost everyone outside the 3-point line. I would have liked to see Landry turn and try to throw it to somebody for a 3-point shot.”
After a quick foul, Allen Payne hit one of two free throws with 1 second left. Rod Hall’s desperation heave from nearly full-court bounced off the rim at the buzzer.
Harrell added 14 points for Auburn, which scored 14 more than the nation’s stingiest defense came in allowing.
Auburn also shot 47.3 percent (26 of 55) against a defense that came in leading the nation in field goal percentage defense (33.7).
“We kept fighting. We were nowhere near a perfect game,” Auburn coach Tony Barbee said. “We made a lot of mistakes. You have to keep fighting. That has to be our identity.”
Birmingham native K.J. McDaniels led Clemson with 18 points and seven rebounds. Hall had 16 points and made 8 of 10 free throws. Jordan Roper added 12.
Clemson had given up just 35 points in its last game against Furman but wasn’t nearly as effective defensively against Auburn.
Clemson scored the first nine points of the second half to break a halftime deadlock and open up a 43-34 lead. Auburn missed its first eight shots and didn’t score until Dixon-Tatum’s putback with 13:44 left.
That started Auburn on a 16-5 run that included Malcolm Canada’s basket after the fourth offensive rebound of a possession. Denson’s layup gave Auburn a 50-48 lead with 8:07 left and it went back and forth from there.
It was a marked turnaround for Auburn, which had been routed by Iowa State and Illinois in its last two games after falling way behind by halftime.
“When we watched the film, we were just disgusted,” Denson said. “We did a lot of looking at the mirror and we had a great week of practice and it translated tonight.”
Clemson had wiped out an early 11-point deficit to tie the game 34-34 at halftime. Hall hit two straight 3-pointers in the final minute to even it up.
Auburn went 5:13 without a field goal during one stretch, but still made 15 of 27 shots (55.6) in the half.
Auburn struggled at the line, making 10 of 19 attempts. Denson missed four of his five foul shots.
“Our start was awful,” Brownell said. “I don’t really know why. We were ready to play.”
Auburn had managed just 17 points before the half in the last game against Illinois and was down 19 at halftime versus Iowa State.
Then Auburn went back to work.
“I am glad it paid off for the guys so they could see all the success from their hard work,” Barbee said.
It was the first time Clemson had played in Auburn since 1935 and the teams hadn’t met since the NIT in 1993.
No. 8 Duke beats UCLA 80-63
NEW YORK (AP) – It was an average performance from Jabari Parker, and it drew praise worthy of another stellar effort by the Duke freshman.
“He’s a natural,” Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said after Parker had 23 points and 10 rebounds in an 80-63 victory over UCLA on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. “In different sports there are people who are naturals. Jabari is a natural. He can become even better. He embraces the moment.”
Bruins coach Steve Alford was impressed with the 6-foot-8 Chicago native.
“He’s gifted. He’s got a lot of smoothness to him. He can be a big guard or post you,” the first-year UCLA coach said. “You don’t see a lot who are this polished 10, 11 games into the year.”
UCLA sophomore guard Kyle Anderson jumped in on the praise.
“It’s tough to say who is the best player on the floor, especially with that team and our group of guys, but he played really well,” said Anderson, who had another all-around game for the Bruins. “We wanted to shut him down but he’s tough.”
Parker was 7 of 13 from the field, including a 4-for-8 performance from 3-point range. He also was 5 of 5 at the free throw line and had five assists while scoring at least 20 points for the ninth time in his 11 college games.
He hit a big 3 and had an impressive dunk during Duke‘s 16-4 run that broke open a tie game in the second half.
“I’m just going to do whatever it takes to win,” Parker said. “I don’t have to take 20 shots for us to win, I can as long as they’re good shots. I’m just learning to play the proper role right now.”
The Blue Devils (9-2) poked and prodded UCLA’s 2-3 zone from the perimeter, making 11 3-pointers in a season-high 32 attempts from beyond the arc.
Rodney Hood and Quinn Cook both had 14 points for the Blue Devils. Cook had five assists and all eight of Duke‘s steals.
“We did a good job hitting Amile (Jefferson) in the middle of the zone and he became the toss-back guy,” Krzyzewski said. “He got the ball right back to guys and they got rhythm shots.”
David Wear led the Bruins (9-2) with 16 points and Anderson, who has taken over at point guard, had 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. He entered the game averaging 13.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 6.7 assists.
“Quinn Cook did a good job of pressuring the ball. That 94 feet of pressure is tough,” said Anderson, who had six turnovers. “They didn’t let us execute our offense. Duke‘s signature is the pressure defense, That’s what they want to do and we fell into it.”
UCLA’s zone kept the Bruins in the game. Wear, who went 4 for 4 from beyond the arc, made a 3 to tie it at 43 with 17:58 to play.
Duke suddenly began to connect from outside with consistency and Hood hit two 3s and Parker added another in a 16-4 run that put the Blue Devils up 61-49 with 11:33 to go.
The Bruins twice got within eight points, but they got no closer in front of the crowd of 15,410.
UCLA, which entered the game averaging 85.1 points, was 8 of 22 from 3-point range. Justin Adams, the Bruins’ leading scorer coming in with a 21.2 average, was held to 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting.
“I thought they did a really good job on him,” Alford said. “This was the first time this season he’s been held like that, containing him and keeping him off the free throw line.”
The win was Duke‘s 23rd straight in the month of December and lifted Krzyzewski to an 8-1 record against UCLA.
The Blue Devils are 2-1 at Madison Square Garden this season having beaten Alabama and lost to Arizona in the NIT Season Tip-Off in November. Duke‘s other loss this season was to Kansas.
UCLA’s other loss was at Missouri.
Kirk leads Miami past Savannah State 68-51
Donnavan Kirk scored 15 points to go with his nine rebounds and three blocks to lead Miami over Savannah State 68-51 Thursday night.
Kirk had a block for the 11th-straight game and has 24 for the season. Rion Brown, who was born in Savannah and played high school at nearby Hinesville, scored six straight points to give Miami (6-5) a 55-33 lead with 10:50 to play. Savannah State (2-10) answered with a 10-0 run but would not get any closer. Brown finished with 13 points and five assists.
Garrius Adams scored 12 points, and Manu Lecomte added 10 for the Hurricanes.
Jeremiah Hill was the only Savannah State player to score in double figures with 14 points. Jyles Smith added seven points and grabbed six rebounds. The Tigers have an eight-game losing streak.