ACC Basketball Game Stories, Dec. 22

Check below for game stories from all the ACC basketball action on Sunday. While we’re in non-conference play, stories will be listed in alphabetical order, by which ACC team is involved.


Auburn surges past Boston College 77-67 

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – Auburn’s KT Harrell said he wanted to be aggressive with his shot selection from the start of the Tigers’ game against visiting Boston College.

The transfer from Virginia and native of nearby Montgomery did just that, drilling a pair of 3-pointers in the opening two minutes of what would be a career-best performance.

Harrell hit 5 of his first 6 attempts from beyond the arc and scored 29 points to lead Auburn to a 77-67 victory over Boston College on Sunday.

“KT was big,” Auburn head coach Tony Barbee said. “I have been waiting for the breakout . I have been on him to keep going and keep pushing and keep fighting. Tonight, he was aggressive.”

Auburn (6-3) hit 10 of its first 18 attempts from beyond the arc in the victory, with Harrell netting six of the Tigers’ 3-pointers. Senior guard Chris Denson, who ranks No. 2 in the SEC in points per game, added 15 for the Tigers.

The two teams traded the lead several times in the first half, but Auburn headed into halftime with a 13-point lead on Boston College (4-8) thanks to a late 14-2 run. The Tigers then scored seven unanswered points to open the second half.

“It all starts with defense,” Harrell said. “I think we know our identity now, and we try to bring it every night, every time we play.”

Boston College chipped away at the large Auburn advantage throughout the second half, cutting it to an eight-point lead with four minutes to play. But the Tigers, who lead the SEC in free throw percentage, hit 9 of its final 10 attempts from the line to hold off the late charge from the Eagles.

Auburn freshman point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen scored 14 points, including an acrobatic layup as the shot clock expired to give the Tigers a 10-point lead with two minutes left to play. Shamsid-Deen also went 2-for-3 from beyond the arc in the victory.

Sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan scored 28 points on 8-of-14 shooting for Boston College. The only other Eagle to score in double figures was forward Ryan Anderson, who had 11 points.

“I think we played well in the second half, but obviously, we started slow,” Hanlan said. “In college basketball, when you play any team, you just can’t expect to have a big second half and be able to come back when you are down 20 points at halftime.”

The Eagles’ season record in road games went to 0-4 with the loss, which was Boston College’s first visit to Auburn in school history. Boston College defeated Auburn 50-49 in last season’s meeting in Chestnut Hill.

Sunday’s victory gave the Tigers back-to-back wins against ACC opponents. Auburn edged Clemson 66-64 last Thursday night.

“We’ve let a couple (games) go, so it’s good to get two teams that people know about and get the win against those teams,” Shamsid-Deen said. “We’re trying to have a new culture here. We always expect to win, but we’re going to put that into other people’s minds as well.”


Brown leads Miami past La Salle 71-58 

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Against La Salle, Miami never relinquished an early lead unlike its previous home game.

Two weeks after a 13-point second half lead resulted in an overtime loss against Virginia Tech, the Hurricanes built a solid advantage early and defeated La Salle 71-58 on Sunday.

Rion Brown scored 17 points and had nine 9 rebounds to lead the Hurricanes, who have won two straight since the loss against Virginia Tech.

“That’s been in the back of our minds since,” Brown said. “Coach brings it up a lot. Our mentality has been winning. That’s just playing the whole game for 40 minutes.”

The Hurricanes took the lead for good against the Explorers after they scored 10 unanswered points during a 3:48 stretch early in the first half. Donnavan Kirk’s dunk with 12:33 remaining capped the surge and put the Hurricanes ahead, 17-12.

Brown helped secure the win for Miami (7-5) by scoring seven points in the final 2:02 of the second half.

“Honestly, I think this is the first time we played a full 40-minute game,” Brown said. “It will be on our minds the rest of the season.”

Kirk finished with nine points, nine rebounds and four blocks and Garrius Adams scored 13 points for the Hurricanes. Kirk has started the season on a 12-game shot-blocking streak.

“From a defensive end you need somebody to regulate the paint,” Kirk said. “You get in there and prove yourself as a shot blocker. That makes the other teams realize you can’t come in this paint. You put the pressure on the other team to not come in there.”

Davon Reed’s 3-pointer with 9:49 remaining in the first half gave the Hurricanes their first double-digit advantage at 25-15.

“That’s the first time we accepted the challenge,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “We’ve been talking about the importance of competing and finding ways to win_actually plan on winning.”

Miami led at halftime, 34-24, after Sam Mills’ layup with 1:10 remaining in the first half cut a 12-point deficit for LaSalle (6-6) to just 10 points.

Tyreek Duren scored a game-high 18 points for the Explorers. Mills finished with 15 points and Steve Zack had his seventh double-double of the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds.

LaSalle struggled against Miami’s zone defense and shot 38 percent from the field.

“I thought we played hard, I do think our players gave effort,” LaSalle coach John Giannini said. “We really tried to pressure them. They made shots and they just outplayed us.”

The Hurricanes expanded their halftime advantage to 51-36 on Adams’ layup with 8:41 remaining in the second half.

Duren’s 3-pointer with 2:11 got the Explorers to within 61-54, but Brown’s 1-of-2 free throws with 2:02 left and Manu Lecomte’s layup with 1:39gave Miami another double-digit advantage at 64-54.

The Explorers built an early 12-7 lead keyed by Duren’s two 3-pointers, but LaSalle shot only 4-of-18 from the field the remainder of the first half.

“The defense got back and made it more difficult,” Larranaga said. “We challenged shots. When you’re contesting shots without fouling, we won in a lot of different categories. It was a well-balanced effort.”

Duren moved into 22nd on La Salle’s all-time scoring list with 1,414 points.