ACC Basketball Game Stories, Jan. 4

Check here for game stories from all the ACC basketball action on Saturday. Now that we’re conference play, stories will be listed in alphabetical order, by which ACC team won the game.

Clemson wins ACC opener, 62-60 over BC

 BOSTON (AP) – K.J. McDaniels scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds, Jordan Roper had 15 points and Clemson hung on to win its league opener Saturday, 62-60 over Boston College.

Rod Hall added 12 points for the Tigers (10-3, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). It was their third victory in four games.

Olivier Hanlan led Boston College (4-11, 0-2) with 27 points, but missed the first of two free throws that could have tied it with 1.3 seconds left. Ryan Anderson had 13 points for the Eagles, who have lost seven of eight.

Trailing 62-59, Hanlan was fouled with two seconds left. He hit the first, but missed the second intentionally, grabbing his own rebound and getting fouled.

He then front-rimmed the first and had to miss second again, but McDaniels secured the rebound and the horn sounded.

Clemson had a 47-37 lead sliced to four points with just under seven minutes left on Anderson’s jam, but Roper nailed a 3 from the right corner, Hall scored off a drive and the Tigers ended up making enough plays down the stretch.

BC closed an eight-point deficit to 59-56 in the final minute, but Adonis Filer hit a short post-up turnaround in the lane with 11 seconds left and McDaniels hit one free throw as the Tigers held on.

The Tigers led by 14 at halftime, but BC opened the second half by scoring the initial six points. Hanlan closed the spree with a 3-pointer before Tigers coach Brad Brownell called timeout. His team responded with consecutive baskets, pushing it to 35-23 on Jaron Blossomgame’s dunk.

But the Eagles started to push the ball up the floor, getting into its offensive sets much quicker and made a 13-4 run to make it a tight game with 11:30 to play.

McDaniels then nailed a 3 to start a 7-0 spurt, pushing Clemson ahead 46-36 with just over eight minutes left.

In the first half, Clemson used a 16-6 run midway in en route to a 31-17 halftime edge, running off the floor after Roper nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Tigers were far more physical and aggressive in the opening 20 minutes, mainly showing it with tight man defense. On one offensive possession they had four rebounds, with McDaniels capping it with a tip-in basket.

The Eagles had just four field goals and committed 10 turnovers in the opening half. During a number of possessions, they had trouble getting decent shots and found themselves running their offense about 20-25 feet from the basket with the shot clock winding down.

It was just the third time this season Clemson held a team under 20 points in the first half. The others were Stetson and Furman.

The Tigers were coming off their best non-conference start in three years.

BC is off until facing Virginia Tech on the road next Saturday. Clemson plays its next two at home, starting with Florida State on Thursday before No. 7 Duke next Saturday.

It was a matchup of the ACC’s top defensive team, Clemson, against the league’s worst.


Maryland cruises past Georgia Tech 77-61 

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – Two months and 15 games into the college basketball season, Maryland is finally living up to the lofty expectations of its fans and coach Mark Turgeon.

In their 77-61 victory over Georgia Tech on Saturday, the Terrapins had four players score in double figures. They had 16 assists compared with only six turnovers, and nine players received significant playing time.

Most importantly, Maryland never trailed while launching the home portion of its final trip through the Atlantic Coast Conference.

“It’s what we envisioned,” Turgeon said. “We’re getting more confidence, there’s no doubt about it.”

Nick Faust scored 16, Evan Smotrycz contributed 14 points, Dez Well added 11 and Charles Mitchell collected 11 rebounds for the Terrapins (10-5, 2-0).

“Obviously, I’m really pleased with the way we played,” Turgeon said. “We just continue to get a little bit better. I can talk about a lot of things that went well. … For the most part, we really defended and I thought our execution was better than it’s been all year. So, we’re getting there.”

In defeating Georgia Tech for the seventh-straight time at home, Maryland built a double-digit lead in the opening four minutes, upped the margin to 20 early in the second half and coasted to the finish.

Just last month, the Terrapins lost to Boston University at home and struggled to defeat Florida Atlantic. But the return of guard Seth Allen, who missed the beginning of the season with a broken foot, has been a huge difference-maker.

“We can put in a lot of different players at once,” Faust said. “Having him back and us growing as a team is why we’re playing so well.”

This is Maryland‘s last season in the ACC before moving to the Big Ten. With the win, the Terrapins improved to 36-36 against the Yellow Jackets in ACC play.

“I really think we’re growing up as a team,” sophomore center Shaquille Cleare said. “We’re showing everyone that we can play with poise and we can really defend if we put our minds to it.”

Marcus Georges-Hunt led Georgia Tech (9-5, 0-1) with 11 points. The Yellow Jackets have lost eight-straight ACC openers and haven’t started league play with a victory since winning at Maryland in 1993.

“We didn’t play well as a team. We didn’t defend well,” said guard Trae Golden, who scored 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting.

Georgia Tech was without the ACC’s leading rebounder, Robert Carter Jr., who started 44-straight games before sustaining a meniscus tear in his left knee against Charlotte last Sunday.

“It’s a big adjustment,” Golden said. “He’s a big part of our team. We just have to prepare.”

Up by 14 at halftime, Maryland used a three-point plays by Cleare and Roddy Peters to make it 49-29 early in the second half. After the Yellow Jackets closed to 56-44, Faust drilled a 3-pointer, Cleare sank a jumper and Allen connected from long range to make it 64-44 with 8:41 left.

Georgia Tech never got closer than 12 points the rest of the way.

“Defensively, they did a good job on us, and we weren’t as good defensively as you need to be on the road,” Yellow Jackets coach Brian Gregory said. “I think you’re starting to see the Maryland team that was projected early in the year, with multiple players that can really hurt you offensively. And I think they’re a team that’s only going to keep getting better.”

Turgeon can only hope for exactly that.

“We haven’t conquered the world or anything like that, but we’re playing better, which is a good feeling,” he said.

Maryland went 7 for 12 from beyond the arc and got nine points apiece from Smotrycz and Faust in grabbing a 43-29 halftime lead.

The Terrapins took control at the outset, getting a pair of 3-pointers from Jake Layman in a game-opening 15-4 run.

“It was huge, because the game was pretty even after that,” Turgeon said. “I think everybody in the building was like, ‘OK, this is what we expected all year from Maryland.’ It was just good to see.”

It was 24-13 before Georgia Tech sandwiched a layup by Stacey Poole Jr. and a 3-pointer by Jason Morris around a Maryland free throw to make it 25-18.

After a runner in the lane by Daniel Miller got the Yellow Jackets to 27-22, Faust drilled a pair of long-range jumpers in a 13-4 burst that increased the margin to 14.


Atkins leads Irish to 79-77 win over No. 7 Duke

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) – Notre Dame sent quite the message in its Atlantic Coast Conference debut.

Eric Atkins scored 19 points, Pat Connaughton had 16 and the Fighting Irish upset No. 7 Duke 79-77 on Saturday.

The victory comes in the wake of leading scorer Jerian Grant’s dismissal from school two weeks ago for an academic violation and provides a much-needed confidence boost as the Irish begin play in their new league.

“It’s really important for our group given the two weeks we’ve had to feel like, ‘Hey, we may still have a shot at this thing.’ Because nobody else thought we had a shot,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said.

Atkins scored seven points during a decisive 20-4 run as Notre Dame rallied from a 10-point deficit and held on to win two weeks after squandering an eight-point lead in the final 50 seconds against No. 3 Ohio State at Madison Square Garden.

“It definitely gives us a lot of life. Everybody’s confidence is up now, winning such a big game,” Atkins said.

The Irish (10-4, 1-0) improved to 13-6 against top-10 teams at home under Brey. It was the first loss in an ACC opener for the Blue Devils (11-3, 0-1) in seven seasons.

Rodney Hood, who led the Blue Devils with 27 points, said Duke played like an immature team, allowing the Irish to hold the ball for long periods and then score as the shot clock ticked down.

“When we needed a stop, we didn’t get a stop,” Hood said. “We had some balls go in and out, but I can name at least 10 plays where it was a breaking point and we didn’t pull it off.”

Duke used a 9-0 run to open a 49-40 lead early in the second half and stretched the lead to 60-50 when Andre Dawkins made a 3 from the top of the key with about 11 minutes left.

But when Notre Dame went to a small lineup to try to guard the Blue Devils better from behind the arc, Demetrius Jackson hit a 3 to spark the 20-4 run.

“I thought that was the biggest shot of the game,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “If we get a stop, we could have gone up by 12. That was a huge shot.”

Atkins tied the game on a layup, and then followed with another basket inside on a pass from Connaughton. Steve Vasturia, who wasn’t getting much playing time before Grant was dismissed, hit a 3-pointer to give the Irish a 68-64 lead after Duke freshman Jabari Parker, who struggled all game, badly missed a 3.

“That was a huge shot to really make us believe,” Brey said.

The Blue Devils closed within one point twice in the final 2 minutes, but the Irish didn’t wilt under the pressure.

Atkins made a layup after Duke cut it to 72-71, and then Garrick Sherman hit a free throw with 16 seconds left after missing the first. Duke still had a chance to tie the game, but Hood dribbled too deep and had a pass stolen by Jackson. Each team finished with six turnovers.

Krzyzewski blamed the loss on Duke’s defense.

“We just stopped playing the defense that we were playing,” he said.

Sherman had 14 points as the Irish outscored Duke 44-16 in the paint.

Quinn Cook had 22 points for Duke, which was 12 of 28 from beyond the arc, one shy of its season high.

Parker, who grew up 90 miles away in Chicago, failed to score in double figures for the first time this season. He missed his first four shots, including a 12-foot baseline air ball, and had a jumper blocked by Austin Burgett. Cook looked frustrated at the end of the first half when it appeared Parker ran the wrong play.

Parker had seven points on 2-for-10 shooting and wasn’t in the game at the end.

“He just wasn’t having a good game,” Krzyzewski said.

Brey said good team defense played a role in Parker’s off day.

“I think there was a great team awareness of him. I wish we could have used some of that on Hood,” he said.

Brey improved to 1-1 against his former boss.

“It’s a historic day for us, our first ACC game,” Brey said. “To beat a program like Duke’s will always be a great memory for us starting off in Atlantic Coast Conference play.”


Pittsburgh beats NC State 74-62 in 1st ACC game

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Pittsburgh spent the first half of its Atlantic Coast Conference debut misfiring on offense while watching North Carolina State control the glass and beat the Panthers down the floor.

Jamie Dixon’s squad reversed everything with a strong second-half performance that secured the program’s first win its new league.

Lamar Patterson scored 17 of his 22 points after halftime to help Pitt beat N.C. State 74-62 on Saturday in its first road game this season.

Talib Zanna added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Panthers (13-1, 1-0 ACC), who rallied from an early 17-2 hole and a 34-26 halftime deficit.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Patterson said of the 18-game ACC schedule. “It’s something to build off now. I know what this team is capable of. We know what we need to do in order for us not to be down. We know what’s best for our team, and that’s playing defense, rebounding and getting to the rim.”

The Panthers checked every box after halftime against the Wolfpack (10-4, 0-1).

They outrebounded N.C. State after getting beaten 22-12 on the boards in the first. They scored 26 points in the paint after managing just eight before halftime.

They also held N.C. State to 8-for-27 shooting (30 percent) after the break, which helped lead to several transition chances and an 18-2 edge in fast-break points in the second half.

And Pitt shot 63 percent after halftime by playing more unselfishly and attacking the paint.

“A lot of people were saying we had to change the way we play because the ACC is up-tempo,” Zanna said. “But we’re bringing our game into the ACC and showing them how we do it and how we play. We did a really good job with the matchup.”

Patterson led the way by shooting 8-for-16 from the field and hitting two 3-pointers, including one to beat the shot clock over Desmond Lee for a 66-53 lead with 4:32 left. The 6-foot-5 senior also had eight rebounds, six assists and two steals in 35 minutes.

Michael Young added a career-high 13 points for Pittsburgh, which shot just 9-for-27 (33 percent) in that miserable first half.

At halftime, Dixon said, he told his team that it couldn’t have played much worse, yet was still within reach if it stopped settling for jumpers, rebounded better and played tougher defense.

“I don’t think we understand what it takes all the time,” Dixon said. “We just don’t understand that the easy way is not always the best way. So open jump shots and soft defense may work at times, but it’s not going to be a consistent winner for you.”

Pitt opened the second half with a 24-8 burst, ending when Patterson scored on a hanging basket while drawing the foul for a three-point play that made it 50-42 with 13:19 left.

“We came out the second half and we looked stunned,” Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. “We looked around at each other. We were staring at one another. I didn’t see that same energy and enthusiasm in the second half that we’ve had this year. So tough lesson to learn.”

N.C. State never could get back control, didn’t get closer than six points again and trailed by 16 late.

“The second half, we didn’t come out with any energy,” N.C. State’s Ralston Turner said. “They were pretty much the tougher team, no other way around it.”

T.J. Warren scored 23 points to lead N.C. State, one shy of his ACC-leading average. But after his score in the lane at the 15:12 mark, he didn’t have another basket until two in the final minute after Pitt led big.

Turner scored 11 points as the only other player in double figures for N.C. State, which lost an ACC opener for the first time under its third-year coach.

More alarmingly, it marked the third straight game N.C. State had squandered all or nearly all of a double-digit lead. The Wolfpack blew a 10-point second-half lead in a 68-64 home loss to Missouri last weekend, then let a 17-point second-half lead slip all the way to two in the final 4˝ minutes of Monday’s win at UNC Greensboro.

“I thought the second half it was real simple: they out-toughed us,” Gottfried said. “They were tougher than our team was. Period. They defended us tougher than we defended them. They got after loose balls. They pushed the ball on the break. And we did not respond.”


No. 2 Syracuse beats Miami 49-44 in ACC opener

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) – Jim Boeheim won his first game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. He likely won’t rest easy any time soon, though.

C.J. Fair scored 15 points, including the go-ahead basket with 4:16 to go, and No. 2 Syracuse rallied late to beat Miami 49-44 on Saturday in the Orange’s ACC debut.

Syracuse trailed 35-29 nearing the midpoint of the second half of a slow-paced game that featured just three fast-break points – a 3-pointer by Syracuse‘s Trevor Cooney in the first 5 minutes of play. But with the sharpshooting Cooney suffering through his worst shooting performance of the season, the Orange found a way to prevail in the end by going inside against Miami’s matchup zone.

“When you get into league play, you’re going to have games like this,” Boeheim said. “It’s not easy. We’re going to see this a lot.”

Syracuse (14-0, 1-0) entered the game as one of seven unbeaten teams remaining in Division I and struggled against Miami (8-6, 0-2), the reigning conference champion. The Hurricanes are the only team in the conference with no returning starters, and they lost their ACC opener 61-60 in overtime to Virginia Tech in early December.

On this day, they gave the Orange a game right until the end.

A long jumper from the right corner by Rion Brown gave Miami a 35-29 lead with 12:22 remaining and the Hurricanes were executing coach Jim Larranaga’s game plan nicely, taking time off the clock and preventing the Orange from scoring inside.

“They had a real solid matchup zone and we couldn’t really get anything going,” Fair said. “They got good shots working the shot clock down and made us work on defense. It’s tough playing defense that long.”

Still, Syracuse managed to slowly chip away at the lead. Fair’s 3 from the right corner at 11:08 was the Orange’s first basket of the second half and narrowed the deficit to 35-32. After two free throws by Davon Reed gave Miami a 40-35 lead, Rakeem Christmas scored twice inside – on a putback and lefty hook in the lane – to start a decisive 10-4 Orange run.

“When we got down, we just wanted to go back out there and be stronger, make big plays,” Christmas said. “It got our team going and we turned up our defense from there. We just came together as a team.”

Jerami Grant hit a jumper from the free throw line, Fair converted a spinning layup in the lane and Tyler Ennis hit a driving layup to give Syracuse a 43-40 lead with 3:19 left.

Syracuse overcame a 25-7 deficit and beat then-No. 8 Villanova by 16 points a week ago, but the Orange struggled to find any rhythm against Miami. With 7:54 left, Cooney was 2 of 11 from the field, all from 3-point range. He entered the game shooting 50 percent from long range (43 of 86), tops in the ACC.

“I got open 3s, they just didn’t fall,” said Cooney, who finished 2 of 12. “It’s tough. You just have to hang strong. It was great to see us hang in there.”

Miami pulled within 43-42 on a reverse layup by James Kelly with 2:15 left, but Ennis scored again inside, and Cooney and Ennis both hit two free throws in the final minute as the Orange prevailed.

“We got a little spread out in the zone,” Brown said. “We were so worried about the shooters they got in the lane a couple of times and got some easy layups. We deviated from the game plan just a couple of plays and it showed.”

Miami, which trailed by four points at halftime, started the second half with a 14-4 run as the Orange missed their first nine shots. Garrius Adams, who led Miami with nine points, and freshman Manu Lecomte hit 3-pointers and Brown hit a jumper from deep in the right corner to key the surge.

“The tempo was what we wanted. We needed to keep them on defense,” Larranaga said. “Time of possession was very important, almost like a football game. Defensively, we wanted to keep them on the perimeter, and that’s the one disappointing part for us. Overall, we had a good defensive game plan and executed it pretty well, but at the end they got some interior baskets and that really hurt us.”

Cooney finished with 11 points and Ennis had 10 points, seven assists and two turnovers for Syracuse. Forward Dajuan Coleman, who sat out Tuesday’s game against Eastern Michigan nursing a sore left knee, dressed and participated in pregame warmups but did not play.

Kelly and Lecomte both finished with eight points for Miami, which finished 7 of 19 from 3-point range.

The Hurricanes didn’t look like the team that went 0 for 15 from 3-point range in opening the season with an overtime loss to St. Francis Brooklyn, a program that hasn’t finished over .500 since 2003-04.

Facing the vaunted Syracuse zone, the Hurricanes were up for the task, hitting 5 of 11 3-point attempts in the first half. Adams and Lecomte hit from long range on successive possessions late in the period and Miami trailed just 25-21 at halftime.


Virginia wins 62-50 at Florida State in ACC opener

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Although it wasn’t a pretty win in just about any sense, Virginia walked away with a comparatively easy road win Saturday at Florida State with its leader and top scorer watching from the bench after suffering a possible concussion in the opening minutes of the game.

Since smelling salts are no longer the remedy, senior Joe Harris was idled after being kneed in the head by a teammate during a scramble for the ball before any points had been scored in the Cavaliers’ 62-50 victory.

“The guys rallied around him,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said afterward, noting that Harris tried to persuade him at the half that he was OK.

But the Cavaliers, who never trailed, were already up 30-17 at the break and weren’t taking any chances. They didn’t need to as it turned out.

Justin Anderson scored 16 points and Akil Mitchell added 11 points along with 13 rebounds Saturday to lead Virginia to a 62-50 win at Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both schools.

Virginia (10-4) jumped to an early 6-0 lead and never trailed as it bounced back from an embarrassing 87-52 loss Monday night at Tennessee. The Cavaliers led by as many as 15 in the opening half and 22 in the second half.

“We dug a hole for ourselves,” Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “We kept shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Capitalizing on a 20-2 scoring advantage off 13 Florida State first-half turnovers, Virginia built an early 28-13 lead despite losing Harris.

Anderson and freshman London Perrantes took up the scoring slack for the Cavaliers with 10 points apiece in the opening half. Perrantes finished with 14 points and teammate Malcolm Brogdon added 11.

Harris played less than three minutes without taking a shot before being injured during a scramble for a loose ball. He remained dressed and on the Cavalier bench for the remainder of the game. Virginia officials wouldn’t say what injury Harris suffered, although it appeared he was checked for a possible concussion.

Florida State (9-4) went the opening five minutes without a score until Okaro White’s 3-point shot from the side. White was Florida State’s lone double-digit scorer with 15 points.

Mitchell’s 11 rebounds in the second half alone helped the Cavaliers finish with a 41-38 rebound advantage over the taller Seminoles. And the Cavaliers committed only six turnovers and finished with a 24-4 scoring edge on points off the opponent’s mistakes.

Hamilton said Mitchell has always played well against Florida State.

“He made a big difference,” Hamilton said about the 6-8 Cavalier senior, who spent much of his afternoon dueling with Florida State’s 7-1 Michael Ojo and 7-3 Boris Bojanovsky.

“Did he compete, did he guard,” exclaimed Bennett. “He was fierce both offensively and defensively. That’s Akil.”

The Cavaliers built a 20-point advantage at 41-21 with 14:48 left on an underhanded scoop shot by Malcolm Brogdon. Darion Atkins dunk with 11:07 left gave Virginia its largest lead of the game at 45-23.

Although Virginia didn’t set the world on fire in the opening half when it shot a chilly 34.5 percent, Florida State didn’t do much of anything right.

Plagued by the turnovers and poor shot selection during much of the game, the Seminoles shot 30 percent from the floor. Season scoring leader Ian Miller was held scoreless and committed five turnovers as Virginia pulled away early. Miller got his first points with 9:04 left on a three-point play on a driving layup that he followed just seconds later with a 3-point shot. That pulled the Seminoles to within 47-34.

Virginia escaped with the win despite shooting just 32.8 percent from the floor and 54.5 at the free-throw line, missing a dozen in the second half that allowed Florida State to get within eight at 56-48 with 1:50 left.

Florida State was worse, shooting 30.8 percent from the floor and just 63.6 percent at the free-throw line.

“We’ll bounce back,” Hamilton said. “We always do.”

They visit Clemson on Thursday while Virginia hosts Wake Forest on Wednesday.