ACC Basketball Game Stories, Jan. 8

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


Hurricanes beat Tar Heels 63-57 for 1st ACC win

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Miami’s zone defense frustrated North Carolina and kept the Tar Heels from getting out in transition, while the offense was good enough to keep the Hurricanes out front.

It wasn’t pretty, just good enough to give the Hurricanes their first Atlantic Coast Conference win while dropping the Tar Heels to 0-2 in the league.

Rion Brown scored 19 points to help Miami beat UNC 63-57 on Wednesday night, earning the program’s fourth straight win in the series and second straight in Chapel Hill.

Erik Swoope added a career-high 14 points for the Hurricanes (9-6, 1-2 ACC), who took control late in the first half and led by 13 points after the break against the cold-shooting Tar Heels (10-5, 0-2).

Miami was coming off a tough 49-44 loss at No. 2 Syracuse over the weekend and had lost three overtime games this season. Coach Jim Larranaga is hoping his group is figuring out how to be successful with an overhauled roster, including with the use of a zone that clamped down on UNC’s inside game and left coach Roy Williams lamenting his team’s lack of offensive movement.

“Early in the season it was tougher, but we’ve grown a little bit then, primarily because the defense is so much better,” Larranaga said. “That gives us a chance to get stops. Early in the year, we were giving up so many easy baskets and were having a hard time scoring points. So now, we’re still getting 60, but we’re holding our opponents to far less.”

The suddenly reeling Tar Heels, who were coming off a 73-67 loss at Wake Forest in one of their worst performances of the season, shot just 31 percent (20-for-65) and finished with a season-low scoring output.

“I think the zone is really helping us,” Brown said. “It’s keeping all these guys under control. A team like North Carolina, they want to run. They want to get up and down the court. … One thing they look for is the five-second layup on scores and misses. If we stop that, we’re going to be in great shape.”

Brown went 7-for-14 from the floor with two 3-pointers to handle the bulk of the offense for Miami, which shot 42 percent while being patient and making the Tar Heels repeatedly defend deep into the shot clock.

Brown also got a cut under his left eye when he was hit by an elbow from UNC starting center Joel James during a scramble for the rebound early in the second half, leading to James’ ejection for a flagrant-2 foul with 18:31 left.

The Tar Heels looked ready for a bounceback performance from the Wake Forest loss when they jumped to an 8-0 lead in the first two minutes, only to find out that was about as easy as things would get for the entire game.

Now the team that has beaten highly ranked Michigan State, Kentucky and Louisville this season has five losses to unranked opponents. Things won’t get any easier Saturday with a trip to No. 2 Syracuse.

“Right now I’m not doing a very good job with this basketball team,” an emotional Williams said. “That’s the hardest thing there is that I’ve ever had to say. We have wonderful kids in that locker room. We’re not playing very well right now. We’re not doing the little things that help us out a great deal.”

James Michael McAdoo scored 12 points for North Carolina, but leading scorer Marcus Paige struggled for the second straight game. After finishing with a season-low eight points against Wake Forest, he scored eight again on 2-for-15 shooting against Miami.

“It sucks to start the league 0-2,” Paige said. “We had big wins earlier in the year. We felt good about our team, but we’ve struggled.”

Garrius Adams hit a 3-pointer just before the horn to give Miami a 29-23 halftime lead. Then, after the Tar Heels clawed to within a single basket with 14½ minutes left, Miami answered with four straight scoring possessions.

That run ended with back-to-back dunks from Swoope that gave Miami a 10-point lead, which would ultimately reach 46-33 on Adams’ layup at the 9:59 mark.

The Tar Heels got no closer than four again, with J.P. Tokoto missing a 3-pointer with about 15 seconds left and the Tar Heels down five in what amounted to their last gasp.

James finished with four points and five rebounds before his ejection. He had missed four straight games with a knee injury.


Virginia hammers Wake Forest, 74-51

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – Virginia has a most humbling experience to thank for its sudden basketball resurgence.

The Cavaliers started Wednesday night’s game against Wake Forest with a 22-6 run and never let up in a 74-51 victory, giving them their first 2-0 start in Atlantic Coast Conference play since the 2009-10 season.

To a man, they said their 87-52 loss at Tennessee in their final tuneup helped open their eyes, and will linger as a preventative measure for weeks to come, especially if they ever again seem to think they have winning figured out.

“It’s as simple as just watching the tape against Tennessee,” Joe Harris said. “That really revealed a lot as painful as that loss was. It showed us that we are not as talented as we thought we were coming into the season and that the only way we were going to win is playing our brand of basketball, out-toughing people, being sound on both ends.”

Malcolm Brogdon led Virginia (11-4, 2-0 ACC) with 14 points and Harris and Justin Anderson each added 11.

With ACC play on the horizon, Brogdon said the Tennessee loss also produced a sense of urgency.

“It woke us up. It showed us that we need to get it together, that we need to get it right now,” he said. “Coming into ACC play, I think honestly that was the best thing that could have happened – to be shocked like that right before ACC play.”

The victory at Florida State came despite losing Harris, their All-ACC first team guard from a year ago, to a concussion after he played just 2 minutes, and their victory against the Demon Deacons highlighted the things they have to do to win.

Brogdon scored six points and Akil Mitchell and Anthony Gill four each during the game-opening burst. The Cavaliers forced turnovers on the Demon Deacon’s first three possessions and led 6-0 before Wake Forest had even attempted a shot.

Virginia led 11-0 when Codi Miller-McIntyre scored for Wake with 15:39 left in the half. Arnaud William Adala Moto then followed a 10-second violation by Virginia with another basket inside, and the Cavaliers then resumed their domination, scoring 11 of the next 13 points. A 9-2 burst to end the first half gave them a 41-24 lead at the intermission.

“They started the game in a way that just took the heart right out of us,” Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said.

In the second half, after Wake Forest scored first, Virginia scored 18 of the next 20 points to cinch it early.

Wake Forest (11-4, 1-1), coming off a 73-67 victory against then-No. 19 North Carolina, fell to 1-25 on the road in conference play under Bzdelik, who is in his fourth season, and the coach said he had no real explanation for why.

“Obviously toughness, mental and physical toughness. Competitive spirit. Discipline,” he said, speaking very deliberately. “All those intangibles are truly tested when you’re away from home.”

Coron Williams led Wake Forest with 11 points and Moto had nine.

Wake Forest closed to within 32-22 with 3:16 left in the half, and Virginia closed it with a 9-2 run, getting a 3-pointer from Joe Harris that barely beat the halftime buzzer to take them into halftime ahead 41-24.

After Tyler Cavanaugh’s layup to start the scoring after halftime for Wake Forest, Harris sparked the 18-2 run with a layup, and the Demon Deacons turned it over on three consecutive possessions.