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Around the ACC: Week 12

<p>Duke ended its slide down the conference standings with a dramatic comeback win at Wake Forest Saturday.</p>

Duke ended its slide down the conference standings with a dramatic comeback win at Wake Forest Saturday.

All but one of the ACC's six ranked teams lost in the craziest week of conference play to date.

No. 9 North Carolina (19-4, 7-2)

The Tar Heels stretched their ACC winning streak to seven games with a 91-72 victory against Virginia Tech early in the week, with junior Justin Jackson leading the way with 26 points, but North Carolina eventually suffered its first loss of 2017 by falling at Miami 77-62 Saturday. Against the Hurricanes, the team struggled mightily from the floor, shooting 35.0 percent while Joel Berry II, who averages 14.8 points per game, scored just two points on 0-for-8 shooting. Despite the loss, head coach Roy Williams' team remains atop the ACC standings but faces one of the more difficult remaining schedules in the conference with several matchups against Duke, Virginia and Louisville in the coming weeks.

No. 12 Virginia (16-4, 6-2)

The Cavaliers started the week on a high note by dominating Notre Dame on the road, as Virginia delivered a balanced scoring attack with four players—Isaiah Wilkins, Devon Hall, Marial Shayok and London Perrantes—scoring in double figures.while also finding rhythm from the 3-point line, where the team shot 47.6 percent. The Cavaliers shot 9-of-19 from 3-point range in the victory

On Sunday against No. 1 Villanova, though, Virginia suffered a second-half collapse as it saw a nine-point halftime turn into a two-point loss by the game’s end. It looked like the Cavaliers would get a shot at overtime, but Donte DiVincenzo ended those hopes at the buzzer with a tip-in of teammate Josh Hart’s missed layup to win the game. London Perrantes—who leads Virginia with 12.3 points per game—was ice cold in his team’s biggest game of the year, scoring just four points on 2-of-11 shooting.

No. 6 Florida State (18-4, 6-3)

The Seminoles entered this week coming off six straight games against ranked opponents, going 5-1 during the stretch to make a compelling argument for why they should be considered one of the best squads in the nation. This week was supposed to be an easy one, with Florida State facing its first back-to-back ACC games against unranked opponents this season, but surprisingly the team’s momentum disappeared as it lost both games by double-digits.

Against Georgia Tech, the Seminoles were doomed from the start by going 6-of-35 from the floor and 1-of-11 from 3-point range in the first half, allowing the Yellow Jackets to jump ahead to an unsurmountable 41-15 lead after just 20 minutes. Sophomore Dwayne Bowman scored 12 points in the second half as Florida State narrowly outscored Georgia Tech after the break, but the team never had a chance of earning a win.

The Seminoles posted a similar performance against Syracuse Saturday, going 10-of-32 from the floor in the first half, and found themselves down by 18 points at the half. Florida State rallied in the second frame and eventually cut the Orange’s lead to two points with 1:47 left in the game, but could never take the lead as Syracuse answered with a late 10-2 run to seal the 82-72 win.

No. 15 Notre Dame (17-5, 6-3)

After steadily climbing the national rankings during the last few weeks, the Fighting Irish suffered its first back-to-back ACC losses as one of four conference teams to lose multiple games this week. On Tuesday, Notre Dame dropped a highly-anticipated home matchup against the Cavaliers 71-54, attributable to a dismal 3-of-18 performance from long range combined with an empty showing on the boards, where the Fighting Irish were outrebounded 38-22.

The team then traveled to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech, which added to its impressive tally of upset victories by defeating head coach Mike Brey’s squad 62-60 thanks to Josh Okogie’s buzzer-beating fast-break layup. Again, Notre Dame was overpowered in the rebounding statistic—despite having the ACC’s leading rebounder in Bonzie Colson—as the Yellow Jackets finished with a 37-29 advantage on the glass.

No. 13 Louisville (18-4, 6-3)

The Cardinals turned things around after last week’s hard-fought loss to Florida State, going undefeated this week by defeating Pittsburgh and N.C. State by a combined 80 points. Sophomore guard Donovan Mitchell had two terrific games, scoring 29 and 28 points while combining to shoot an efficient 18-of-30 from the floor, and was well-supported with his teammates tallying six other double-digit scoring performances during the week. The Cardinals will have six days off before facing another easy opponent in Boston College next Saturday, and then will quickly turn around to play Virginia on the road Feb. 6.

Virginia Tech (16-5, 5-4)

After winning its two previous games by one point each, the Hokies' good luck game to an end this week with a 19-point loss at North Carolina. Virginia Tech shot the ball well—making 51.0 percent of its shots from the floor—but was careless with the ball and overpowered at the glass, allowing the Tar Heels to earn 19 points off turnovers and 24 second-chance points en route to a 91-72 victory.

The Hokies moved back above .500 in ACC play against Boston College Sunday, taking down the Eagles 85-79 due in part to strong showings from redshirt senior guard Seth Allen—who earned 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting—and junior Justin Bibbs, who used an impressive 4-of-5 performance from beyond the arc to propel his way to 18 points as well.

Georgia Tech (13-8, 5-4)

The Yellow Jackets continued their surprising success against ranked teams by defeating two more of them this week. The team dominated Florida State throughout Wednesday’s matchup and held a 41-15 lead at halftime before going on to win 78-56, with freshman Josh Okogie scoring 35 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.

The freshman guard did not have the same impressive box score totals in Saturday’s game against the Fighting Irish—scoring just eight points—but he did earn his team the upset against Notre Dame with a layup at the buzzer to win 62-60. Junior Tadric Jackson led the way for the Yellow Jackets with a career-high 25 points and also assisted on Okogie’s winning basket.

Syracuse (13-9, 5-4)

The Orange climbed back above .500 in conference play this week with wins against Wake Forest and Florida State. Andrew White III posted two of his best games of the season—scoring 24 points against the Seminoles and 27 points against the Demon Deacons—and was also helped by steady performances by Tyler Lydon, who shot 5-of-11 this week from beyond the arc while averaging 14.5 points per game in the two matchups.

No. 17 Duke (16-5, 4-4)

The Blue Devils fell early in the week to N.C. State as Dennis Smith Jr. erupted with 32 points, allowing the Wolfpack to defeat Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time since 1995. Duke led by six at halftime and grew that lead early in the second half, but looked lost defensively late in the game as N.C. State downed several late 3-pointers to upset the Blue Devils. Jayson Tatum—who scored 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting during the game—had an opportunity to take the final shot and stop the Wolfpack’s comeback effort, but the freshman turned the ball over in the closing seconds.

Duke saw a similar close matchup Saturday in Winston-Salem, N.C., as the team took on Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons led for most of the game thanks to strong showings from forward John Collins and guard Bryant Crawford, but Luke Kennard stole the show late in the game and nailed a shot from long-range with 6.6 seconds left to earn the Blue Devils their first road victory of the season. Kennard scored 34 points and was a perfect 10-of-10 from the floor in the second half while also shooting 6-of-6 from 3-point range during the game. Grayson Allen also had a solid performance after struggling in recent games, scoring 19-points and hitting a clutch 3-pointer with less than a minute to go to set up Kennard's game-winner.

Miami (14-6, 4-4)

After blowing a double-digit second-half lead against Duke late last week, Miami was able to turn things around and notch two victories against two very different teams. The Hurricanes traveled to Chapel Hill Saturday and handily defeated the Tar Heels 77-62 behind Bruce Brown’s efficient 30-point performance on 8-of-11 shooting from the floor. Davon Reed and Ja’Quan Newton also pitched in, scoring 14 and 18 points, respectively, to help their team earn its first victory against a ranked opponent this season.

The team faced a less difficult matchup earlier in the week against Boston College, but had a tougher time sealing the 78-77 win. The Hurricanes led for most of the game against the Eagles, but a pair of Jordan Chatman 3-pointers down the stretch allowed Boston College to hang in the game until late, when Newton made four free throws in the final 27 seconds to earn Miami’s 12th consecutive win against the Eagles.

N.C. State (14-8, 3-6)

Dennis Smith Jr. had a stellar 32-point performance Monday night at Duke as the Wolfpack mounted a late comeback and eventually earned an 84-82 victory against the Blue Devils. The team could not turn that momentum into another win against a ranked opponent, though, and fell to Louisville 85-60 as the Cardinals held Smith Jr. to just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting. Abdul-Malik Abu and Maverick Rowan led their team with 13 points each during Sunday’s game, but it was not enough to make up for a poor showing from one of the ACC’s most talented players.

Wake Forest (12-9, 3-6)

Wake Forest dropped two close games this week, falling to Syracuse on the road and Duke at home. Against the Orange, the Demon Deacons held an eight-point advantage midway through the second half as John Collins earned a double-double with 23 points and 12 rebounds, but it was not enough to stop Andrew White III’s season-high 27-point showing for Syracuse.

The team lost another late 10-point lead Saturday against Duke, which surged back late in the game thanks to Luke Kennard’s spectacular second half. Collins had another solid game with 20 points and eight rebounds and was well-supported by teammates Keyshawn Woods and Bryant Crawford, who also scored in double-digits, but the team could not keep up with the Blue Devils’ hot hand from beyond the arc and fell 85-83.

Clemson (12-8, 2-6)

Clemson entered Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh with six straight losses, but left the Petersen Events Center with its first victory of 2017 thanks to a 25-point performance from Jaron Blossomgame and 12 points from Shelton Mitchell. The Tigers will have two more difficult matchups in the coming days, facing Georgia Tech Wednesday and Florida State on the road Sunday.

Boston College (9-13, 2-7)

The Eagles stretched their losing streak to five games this week with losses against Miami and Virginia Tech. Boston College shot the ball well enough to have a chance at victory in both matchups this week—losing them by a combined seven points—but was outrebounded against the Hurricanes and exploited on the defensive end of the floor. Against Miami, poor interior defense allowed Newton and Reed to find opportunities in the lane and combine for 40 points.

Against the Hokies, the Eagles squandered a career-high 30-point performance from Jordan Chatman on 9-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc in the 85-79 loss.

Pittsburgh (12-9, 1-7)

The Panthers find themselves at the bottom of the conference standings after extending their losing streak to six games. The team was blown out 106-51 by Louisville—the most points Pittsburgh has allowed in a loss all season—and saw only Michael Young score in double figures against the Cardinals. The team put in a better effort against the Tigers Saturday, as Jamel Artis and Cameron Johnson each scored 16 points, but the Panthers were held to just 18-of-55 shooting and could not contain Blossomgame in the 67-60 loss.


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