Check below for game stories from all the ACC basketball action on Saturday. While we’re in non-conference play, stories will be listed in alphabetical order, by which ACC team is involved.
VCU Beats Boston College 69-50
NEW YORK (AP) – VCU did what VCU does best.
The Rams, who lead the nation in forced turnovers, forced a lot of turnovers and beat Boston College 69-50 on Saturday night in the Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival at Barclays Center.
Juvonte Reddic had 14 points and eight rebounds for VCU (11-3), which has won three straight and seven of eight. The Rams beat a third Atlantic Coast Conference team for the first time in program history. They beat Virginia and Virginia Tech this season in addition to Boston College and lost to Florida State.
“It’s a great accomplishment but one I’m going to enjoy later,” said Rob Brandenberg, who had 13 points for the Rams. “To get three wins in a conference like that is something we’ll take with us.”
The latest win featured another impressive defensive performance by VCU, which entered the game leading the nation in turnovers forced per game (20.2) and steals (13.1). They forced 23 turnovers and had 11 steals.
“I thought VCU did a terrific job with their system. I think it is unique,” Boston College coach Steve Donohue said. “All 10 guys are committed for 40 minutes.
“There’s definitely a factor where they wear you down mentally more than physically. No one cares who scores and in this day and age that’s unique. Ten kids who don’t care who scores. They just keep coming at you.”
Olivier Hanlan had 17 points for Boston College (4-9), which has lost five of six. The Eagles had their lowest point total of the season (62 was the previous in a loss to Southern California). Boston College came in averaging 11.8 turnovers per game and they passed that figure by two in the first half.
“We did a terrific job on the defensive end for pretty much the whole game,” VCU coach Shaka Smart said. “Hanlan was our point of emphasis, keeping him out of the lane and contesting his shots. Our top four players had a great approach and when they do, we have a great team.”
VCU led 22-17 at halftime and the Rams opened the second half on a 11-4 run. The Eagles got within 35-26 on a three-point play by Hanlan with 13:50 to play.
The Rams then went on one of their familiar runs, turning turnovers into points. Their 14-1 run had six points coming directly off Eagles turnovers and it made it 49-27 with 10:48 to go on an inbounds steal and layup by Melvin Johnson.
“In the second half the shots started to fall,” Brandenberg said. “Coach and the older players said at halftime that we were up five and not shooting well but we were defending on a high level and it will take care of itself and that’s what we did in the second half.”
Treveon Graham had 13 points for VCU, which finished 6 of 26 from 3-point range.
Graham said you can sense when a run is starting to be effective.
“They are fatigued and start to argue with each other,” he said. “That’s when we attack.”
Ryan Anderson added 13 points for the Eagles, who were 3 of 18 from beyond the arc.
“Any time you play that hard things are going to start going your way,” Anderson said of VCU.
No. 9 Duke rolls past Eastern Michigan, 82-59
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Andre Dawkins stepped right in for Rodney Hood – first in the Duke starting lineup, then in the box score.
Dawkins had season highs of 20 points and six 3-pointers in the ninth-ranked Blue Devils’ 82-59 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday.
With Hood fighting an illness that he said caused him to flee the court and throw up, Dawkins was summoned from the bench to make a surprise start moments before the opening tip.
And the fifth-year senior who sat out last season sure made the most of it. He finished with his highest point total since scoring 22 and hitting six 3s in a win at Florida State in 2012.
“It’s a little bit different coming off, not playing for a year, and trying to play at this level,” Dawkins said. “So, it took some time, but I’m getting there. But it’s still a process.”
The Blue Devils (10-2) got their requisite big game from freshman phenom Jabari Parker, who scored 23 points.
Rasheed Sulaimon added 13 and came up with the key hustle play during the decisive second-half run that helped them polish off their fourth straight win.
“It’s always good seeing everybody playing their natural roles because we’re all just scorers,” Parker said. “Our wings can create for (themselves) and it opens up things inside for me and the other bigs.”
Duke shot 40 percent against Eastern Michigan’s tough zone defense while hitting 10 3-pointers, built a 47-32 advantage on the boards and wrapped up the pre-ACC home schedule with its 101st straight nonconference win at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
“We knew they played zone, so we were going to get open looks on the offensive end, but we really wanted to focus on stopping them,” Dawkins said. “It was a big task to try and stop them but I think we did a pretty good job.”
Mike Talley scored 20 points to lead the Eagles (7-4). They went 6 minutes between field goals during the critical stretch when Duke pulled away.
“It’s important – the shot goes up, we have to rebound the ball,” Eastern Michigan coach Rob Murphy said. “I thought we did a great job of showing and forcing them into some contested shots. But we gave up 20 offensive rebounds. … To be successful, ultimately, the way we play, we have to rebound the basketball and we didn’t do a great job of that tonight.”
The Blue Devils led just 43-35 with 15 minutes left before breaking the game open with a 15-1 run.
Quinn Cook and Hood hit 3-pointers roughly 25 seconds apart before Sulaimon’s key hustle play. He had Eagles guard J.R. Sims trapped near midcourt when Sims tried to spike the ball off Sulaimon and out of bounds – but the ball instead rolled down the sideline toward the Duke basket.
Sulaimon scooped it up, was fouled hard by Sims – who received a flagrant foul – on his way to the basket and hit the ensuing two free throws to stretch the lead to 53-35 with 13:12 left.
Dawkins’ 3-pointer roughly 3 minutes later gave the Blue Devils their first 20-point lead at 56-36. Amile Jefferson – who started the run with a free throw with 14:28 left – hit a foul shot to push it to 58-36 with 10:25 remaining, and they pulled away from there.
Jefferson finished with a career-high 14 rebounds for the Blue Devils, who have had at least one 20-point scorer in every game this season. It’s the first time that’s happened at Duke since the eventual national champion 2000-01 team did it in its first 17 games.
Ten of those 20-point games now belong to Parker, who led or shared the team’s scoring lead for the eighth time.
He scored 14 of Duke’s 37 points in the first half after hitting six of his first 11 shots, including a pair of thunderous alley-oop dunks.
That helped make up for an off day for Hood, who averages 18.5 points but finished with eight on 3-of-8 shooting. He also had eight rebounds while playing through his unspecified illness.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski said he received an IV at halftime.
“He wasn’t the same guy,” Krzyzewski said.
This was the first meeting between the schools since the 1996 NCAA tournament, when the Earl Boykins-led Eagles upset Duke in the first round. And for a while, they looked plenty capable of knocking off Duke again.
Early on, Eastern Michigan frustrated the Blue Devils with that matchup zone that held them to 3-of-14 shooting from 3-point range in the first half.
Duke didn’t take its first double-figure lead until the 4-minute mark of the half when Hood’s stickback dunk of a missed jumper by Parker made it 32-21.
Karrington Ward scored 11 points and Sims finished with 10 for Eastern Michigan.
No. 25 Missouri Beats N.C. State 68-64
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – T.J. Warren has made scoring look easy all season for North Carolina State. He appeared heading for another big performance Saturday night only to go quiet at the worst moment.
Warren scored 24 points, right on his average, in the Wolfpack’s 68-64 loss to No. 25 Missouri. But the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading scorer didn’t score in the final 12 minutes and didn’t get a shot off in the final 5:50 as the Wolfpack saw a resume-building nonconference win slip away late.
Warren finished 11 for 23 from the field with 13 rebounds in 37 minutes. The 6-foot-8 sophomore looked headed for his fourth 30-point performance when he hit a 3-pointer from in front of the N.C. State bench to give his team a 46-41 lead with 12: 04 left.
He didn’t score again, managing two shots during a scramble inside and a missed 3 at the 5:50 mark in what turned out to be his final attempt.
Coach Mark Gottfried said Warren got a little tired late, but the team could’ve done more to keep him involved.
“Absolutely we want T.J. more involved, although he’s not our only option,” Gottfried said. “I do think we can do some things to make sure T.J. stays involved. I thought he got tired. I took him out at the 4-minute mark and tried to give him a blow around that timeout. But I don’t think he was as aggressive. So we’ve got to do a better job with him on that.”
For Missouri, Jabari Brown hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 55.1 seconds left.
Brown’s 3 over Wolfpack freshman Anthony “Cat” Barber was the biggest shot in a back-and-forth final 4 minutes that saw the teams trade the lead three times before Brown’s shot made it 63-62.
Jordan Clarkson scored 21 points to lead the Tigers (11-1), including two free throws with 20.1 seconds left that pushed the lead to 65-62.
Brown finished with 17, helping Missouri hold on in its first true road game this year. Johnathan Williams hit a free throw with 3.7 seconds left to make it a two-possession game and effectively seal the win.
Missouri hit five 3-pointers after halftime, the last two coming in the final 4 minutes. After N.C. State’s Ralston Turner knocked down one to give N.C. State a 59-57 lead, Clarkson hit one over Tyler Lewis at the 2:55 mark to put Missouri back up 60-59.
Turner, who had made just one shot through the first 36 minutes of the game, answered with another 3 that put the Wolfpack (9-3) up 62-60 with 1:39 left. But Brown responded with the shot that would put Missouri in front for good.
Missouri was coming off its first setback, a 65-64 loss against Illinois in which the Illini hit two free throws with 4.6 seconds left to spoil the Tigers’ perfect start.
As for N.C. State, the loss snapped a seven-game winning streak. It also looked unlikely considering how the Wolfpack controlled the action for much of the night and didn’t trail until Clarkson’s three-point play with 3:51 left.
There were plenty of things for the Wolfpack to regret after this one. In addition to Warren’s quiet finish, Barber had a chance to put N.C. State back in front moments after Brown’s 3 only to come up short on the front end of a 1-and-1 opportunity at the foul line with 26.8 seconds left.
No. 2 Syracuse rallies past No. 8 Villanova 78-62
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – Jim Boeheim stared up in frustration at the Carrier Dome scoreboard, his No. 2 Orange in big trouble against eighth-ranked Villanova.
The Wildcats had started Saturday’s game by hitting four straight 3-pointers – three swishes by James Bell and another by Darrun Hilliard – and led 25-7 midway through the first half after a dunk by Josh Hart.
Syracuse struggled to create open looks and went nearly 4 minutes without a basket as the Wildcats looked exactly like the team that had already beaten two ranked teams.
“There was no indication we were going to get going,” Boeheim said.
If the Orange were frazzled by their largest deficit of the season, it never showed. They responded with a 20-0 run over the next 5 minutes to take their first lead and never trailed again, winning 78-62 in a game between two of nine unbeaten teams left in Division I.
“They came out on fire. They kind of caught us off guard,” said C.J. Fair, who had 17 points for the Orange despite constant double-teams. “We knew the kind of team they are. It’s hard to have a defense for the type of offense they have for the first 5 or 10 minutes.”
Syracuse (12-0) tightened its defense and the Wildcats (11-1) missed seven shots, committed three fouls and were called for a travel before losing the ball out of bounds as the game began to slip away.
Villanova trailed 34-30 at the half, not bad considering leading scorer JayVaughn Pinkston had only three points on 1-of-3 shooting, his only make coming on a desperation 3 at the shot-clock buzzer in the final minute.
“They weathered the storm,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “We hit shots. When you hit shots like that, everything looks great, but you know you’re not going to shoot that percentage for the entire game. They weathered it and kept coming back at us. We had the lead and then we got sloppy.”
Trevor Cooney led Syracuse with 21 points, Tyler Ennis had 20, and Jerami Grant 11.
Bell finished with a career-high six 3-pointers and matched his career high with 25 points to lead Villanova before fouling out with 1:42 left. Hart had 10 points, the only other Villanova player in double figures. Pinkston, averaging 16.5 points, finished with three points, while Hilliard, averaging 14.4, had only five points on 1-of-7 shooting before fouling out in the final minute.
Cooney had 11 points and Fair added six in the Orange’s comeback spurt, which was capped by a driving layup by Ennis at 4:51.
“It was a tough war to get back,” said Cooney, who was 5 of 8 from long range. “Getting behind like that against a team like Villanova, it’s tough to come back. It shows a lot about us.”
Syracuse was the third unbeaten ranked team the Wildcats had faced this season. Villanova handed then-No. 2 Kansas its first loss of the season a month ago in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis and came back the next night and defeated No. 23 Iowa in overtime.
“Syracuse has a really good team,” Wright said. “They really played at a high level. This is a tough place to play. I sensed that when we came back from break we were just a little bit off. We were in such a groove. We got a little bit better yesterday. I was hoping. In hindsight, I would have practiced on Christmas night. We slipped. They did not.”
In the second half, Syracuse scored nine straight points early and the Wildcats committed four fouls in a 59-second span to fall farther behind. Cooney’s 3 from the top of the key gave the Orange a 47-37 lead with 16:32 left and Fair’s follow slam of a miss by Ennis kept the lead at 10.
Nova took advantage of a flagrant foul whistled against Grant midway through the period as boos rained down from the Carrier Dome crowd of 28,135, the largest of the season. Bell sank the two free throws and Hart’s 3 from the left corner closed the gap to 54-49 with 9:25 to play.
Villanova closed to 56-53 at 7:02 after Bell hit a 3 from the corner and Daniel Ochefu’s free throw, and wouldn’t wilt. Another 3 from the corner by Bell moved the Wildcats within 64-59 with 3:25 left, but the Orange made 14 of 16 free throws to thwart any chance of a comeback.
Syracuse finished 29 of 35 from the free throw line.
“We stepped up big-time,” Boeheim said. “This was the first adverse situation (this season) where we were really down a lot.”
UNC-Greensboro holds off Virginia Tech 55-52
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) – With the game in its waning moments and his team in a position to pull off a rare victory over an ACC opponent, UNC-Greensboro head coach Wes Miller knew exactly what he wanted to do.
He wanted to get the ball into the hands of his big guys – and they delivered for him.
UNCG post players Kyle Cain and Kayel Locke combined for 33 points, with Locke scoring six of his 15 points in the final two minutes to lift UNCG to a stunning 55-52 road victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday.
Locke’s basket with 1:23 left gave the Spartans a 50-49 lead, and they held on down the stretch. Cain scored a game-high 18 points to lead UNCG.
The Spartans (7-7), who had lost to Presbyterian by 21 points on Dec. 3, rallied from an 11-point, second-half deficit to record just their second victory ever over an ACC team. They are 2-50 against ACC competition. Their only other victory over an ACC team came against Georgia Tech during the 2007-08 season.
“We’ve been fighting through adversity all year,” Cain said. “Our coaches do a good job of making our practices tough. This was a good win for us. This shows we can compete with anybody.”
“These are the types of wins that are big for programs like ours that are trying to rise up with a bunch of young kids,” Miller said. “It should give us a lot of belief going into conference play that we can play with anybody. I’m really proud of my group and really happy for our university and the people that support us. It’s a big win for us to beat an ACC school.”
UNCG trailed 43-32 after two free throws by Virginia Tech’s Ben Emelogu with 10:06 left in the game. But the Spartans went on an 18-6 run over the next 9:23, with Cain scoring nine of his 18 in that span. The run ended with Locke’s basket that gave the Spartans their first lead since the 19:47 mark of the second half.
Virginia Tech’s Marshall Wood missed a 3-pointer with 1:07 left, and Locke went to work again for the Spartans, scoring on a layup with 34 seconds remaining to give UNCG a 52-49 lead.
“We wanted to go to Kayel and Kyle late in the game,” Miller said. “They were commanding quite a bit of attention, but it’s not a secret. Anyone who scouts us knows that we’re an inside-out team. Kyle and Kayel are two of our top three leading scorers, and by the end of the year, they will be our top two leading scorers.
“We play through them, and we wanted to do that the whole game, but we really looked to do that down the stretch. It got simple. We started clearing out a side and dumping it down to them.”
The Hokies got a free throw from Wood with 17 seconds left that sliced the UNCG lead to 52-50, and they then fouled the Spartans’ Drew Parker, who made the second of two free throws that gave UNCG a 53-50 lead.
Virginia Tech (7-5) had a chance to tie the game with 10.1 seconds left. Devin Wilson made a layup and was fouled, but he missed a free throw that would have tied the game at 53.
RJ White hit two free throws with 9.3 seconds left to give the Spartans a 55-52 lead. Wood then missed a 3-pointer with three seconds left that would have tied the game.
“I think our depth is catching up with us,” Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said. “Down the stretch, we got tired and weren’t able to get the stops. We were short on some shots. But that can’t be an excuse. We’ve got to play better.
“We’ve got to win it. We’ve got to find a way to close it out. We’ve got to make the plays and get the stops. We’ve got to get the offensive execution. We’ve got to make free throws. We’ve got to finish the game.”
Cain hit 8 of 14 from the floor and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Spartans, who battled the bigger Hokies even on the boards (34 each). Locke made 4 of 9, but hit 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. The two combined to hit 12 of 23 from the floor on a day when UNCG shot just 36.5 percent (19 of 52).
The Hokies got 14 points from Wood, who made just 4 of 13 from the floor on a day when the Hokies made just 36 percent of their shots (18 of 50). Emelogu and Joey van Zegeren added 11 each.
Virginia Tech’s leading scorer, Jarell Eddie, made just 1 of 12 from the floor and scored four points. He had been averaging a little more than 18 per game and had scored in double figures in every game this season. He scored 28 points in the Hokies’ victory over UNGC last season.
“To win games like this on the road, you need some help,” Miller said. “Watching the film, Jarell Eddie’s been fantastic this year. He’s been defended well and still made the shots. I thought Nick Paulos did a tremendous job of chasing him around screens and contesting his shots. But I’ve seen people do that to Jarell Eddie and he still knocked them down. So I think he helped us out by not having one of his better nights.”
Both teams played without starters because of injuries. Tevon Saddler, who was averaging 11.8 points per game, sat out for the Spartans (undisclosed), while the Hokies were without guard Adam Smith, who missed the game with a calf injury. Smith was averaging 13.1 points per game.
Xavier Breaks Away From Wake Forest 68-53
CINCINNATI (AP) – Xavier ripped a page right out of Wake Forest’s playbook on the way to a convincing 68-53 win on Saturday.
Matt Stainbrook scored a season-high 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, helping Xavier to a 50-34 advantage on the boards against one of the nation’s best rebounding teams, and the Musketeers rolled to victory over the Demon Deacons.
“A lot of it was being a tough team defensively,” Stainbrook said about outrebounding a team that went into the game eighth in the country with an average of 43.6 rebounds per game. “Our guards did a good job of rebounding down.”
James Farr added 13 points and Semaj Christon finished with 12 for the Musketeers, who led by as many as 22 points while holding the Demon Deacons to their lowest point total of the season. Wake Forest set the previous low in a 59-51 win over North Carolina-Greensboro in its last game on December 21.
Codi Miller-McIntyre led the Demon Deacons with 11 points and Coron Williams added 10 – all in the first half.
“We knew they like to run,” said Stainbrook, who posted his third double-double of the season. “Miller-McIntyre is a guy you need to corral in transition. Overall, we focused on keeping them a half-court team and boxing out.”
Before a crowd of 10,064, the Musketeers set a season-high in rebounds on the way to finishing their non-conference schedule with a 10-3 record, their best since going 11-2 in the 2008-2009 season. They will take a five-game winning streak into their first Big East Conference opener, which is scheduled for noon Tuesday against St. John’s at Xavier.
“Going into the Big East with a win is very positive for our team,” said junior guard Dee Davis, who led both teams with seven assists and 36 minutes.
Xavier coach Chris Mack, while proud of his team’s non-conference record, was ready to move on.
“On to the next challenge,” said Mack, who logged his 100th career win as Xavier’s coach. “You can really lose your way while you’re looking in your rearview mirror or reading your press clippings.”
The Demon Deacons (10-3) also set a season-low with their .358 shooting percentage (19-of-53) while seeing their winning streak snapped at four games in their first game of the season on an opponent’s home court and last non-conference game of the season. They are scheduled to open Atlantic Coast Conference play on January 5 at home against No. 19 North Carolina.
Besides allowing more rebounds by an opponent than in any other game this season and being outscored, 36-22, in the paint, Wake Forest also finished 5-of-15 on 3-pointers after missing its last seven, which didn’t surprise coach Jeff Bzdelik.
“I didn’t like the way we started,” he said. “Five of our first seven shots were 3-pointers. That’s fool’s gold. I was displeased with the way we started off. When you’re coming down and jacking up shots, it’s not good.”
The first game for both teams since December 21 was the fourth of a 10-year series between the two schools honoring the late Skip Prosser, who coached Xavier before taking the Wake Forest job. He died of a heart attack at the age of 56 in 2007.
After five ties and eight lead changes, Xavier ended the first half on a 20-3 run, holding the Demon Deacons without a field goal for the last 9:30 of the half. Christon started the run with a 3-pointer, giving the Musketeers a 25-24 lead, and scored eight points during the Xavier surge.
Wake Forest committed turnovers on eight consecutive possessions during that stretch.
“That helped (Xavier) go on a 16-0 run,” Bzdelik pointed out. “That was the ballgame. We were overmatched inside. Their big man had a great game. That stretch where we turned the ball over eight straight times really hurt us.”
Mack could find several reasons for Wake Forest’s woes.
“It was probably a combination of factors,” he said. “They’re a young team playing their first true road game, and we wanted to make sure to be active on defense and pressure their passes.”