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Around the ACC: Week 14

<p>The Blue Devils have won five games in a row and are improbably back in the hunt for the ACC regular-season title.</p>

The Blue Devils have won five games in a row and are improbably back in the hunt for the ACC regular-season title.

Duke continued its rapid ascent up the conference standings this week and is the only team in the ACC with a winning streak of more than two games.

No. 8 North Carolina (21-5, 9-3)

The Tar Heels' only game this week was their 86-78 loss Thursday night against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. With forward Isaiah Hicks sidelined due to a minor hamstring injury, North Carolina got outrebounded 31-30 by the Blue Devils, and 21 points from junior guard Justin Jackson were not enough. The Tar Heels used a 15-3 run in the second half to turn a five-point deficit into a 64-59 lead, but only made one shot from the field in the final seven minutes to help Duke come out on top.

No. 14 Florida State (21-5, 9-4)

The Seminoles started the week with a blowout 95-71 victory against N.C. State at home Wednesday, led by freshman Johnathan Isaac's 21 points, but their road struggles continued at Notre Dame Saturday. Florida State shot a dismal 7-of-22 from the free-throw line and trailed by double digits for the last 17 minutes in the 84-72 defeat, the Seminoles' fourth road loss in their last five games away from home.

No. 12 Virginia (18-6, 8-4)

The Cavaliers started their week on a high note with a 71-55 win against Louisville to complete a season sweep of the Cardinals. Virginia trailed by two at halftime but tightened up on defense and started the second half on a 22-5 run. Isaiah Wilkins had a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds and point guard London Perrantes added 18 points, but Perrantes' 22 points could not carry the Cavaliers to victory in an 80-78 loss at Virginia Tech in double overtime Sunday.

Virginia blew a 14-point halftime lead and freshman Ty Jerome missed the front end of a one-and-one with nine seconds left in regulation that could have iced the game. A layup from Perrantes that would have given the Cavaliers the lead with 21 seconds left in the first overtime came to rest at the top of the rim with the possession arrow pointing the Hokies' way, and Perrantes missed a desperation 3-pointer that would have won it at the buzzer in the second overtime.

No. 18 Duke (20-5, 8-4)

The Blue Devils ran their winning streak to five this week with home victories against arch rival North Carolina and Clemson. Junior Grayson Allen poured in 25 points on 7-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc Thursday night and combined with Jayson Tatum and Luke Kennard to score 64 points against the Tar Heels, and Allen knocked down a key pull-up triple with 1:20 left to push the lead to five.

Duke had to take the floor against Clemson about 40 hours later and looked tired, letting an 11-point halftime lead slip away as the Tigers scored 27 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half after putting up just 18 in the entire first half. But Kennard took over the game, scoring 15 straight Blue Devil points and finishing with 25 as Duke escaped with a 64-62 win.

No. 4 Louisville (20-5, 8-4)

Forwards Deng Adel and Mangok Mathiang were suspended Monday just hours before the game against Virginia for missing curfew, and a depleted Cardinal squad that was still missing guard Quentin Snider due to a hip flexor injury ran out of gas in the second half. Louisville scored just five points in the first 11 minutes after the intermission, and although V.J. King and Donovan Mitchell combined for 40 points, the rest of the team scored just 15 points on 6-of-23 shooting.

Adel, Mathiang and Snider all returned Saturday against Miami to help the Cardinals rally from a 14-point first-half deficit at home in a 71-66 win. Two free throws from Mathiang gave Louisville its first lead of the game with 5:15 remaining, and Snider scored five straight points in the final two minutes with two free throws and a triple to break a 61-61 tie.

Notre Dame (19-7, 8-5)

6-foot-5 forward Bonzie Colson averaged 30.0 points and 14.5 rebounds in home wins against Wake Forest and Florida State to help the Fighting Irish find their offense again and snap a four-game losing streak. Notre Dame shot 13-of-27 from beyond the arc Tuesday against the Demon Deacons and quickly rallied from a nine-point second-half deficit to win the 88-81 shootout. Colson dominated again Saturday with a career-high 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting, as the Fighting Irish picked up their first win against a ranked team in more than a month.

Syracuse (16-10, 8-5)

Freshman Tyus Battle only had six points Tuesday at Clemson, but half of them came on a clutch corner 3-pointer at the buzzer off an assist from Tyler Lydon to lift the Orange to a dramatic 82-81 win.

Andrew White III led four Syracuse players in double figures in the victory.

The Orange's five-game winning streak ended Saturday at Pittsburgh, though, as Syracuse trailed for the whole second half in an 80-75 loss. Twenty points each from White III and John Gillon were not enough, and the Orange are one of many ACC teams sitting squarely on the bubble heading into the home stretch of the regular season.

Miami (16-8, 6-6)

The Hurricanes had a solid start to the week with a 74-68 home win against Virginia Tech, led by Davon Reed's 18 points. After the Hokies tied the game with 13:46 left, Miami rattled off an 18-2 run to put the game away, and Virginia Tech did not get closer than nine points again until the final minute. But the Hurricanes had a missed opportunity at Louisville to end a hot stretch in which they won four of five games. Miami responded to an 11-0 run from the Cardinals with an 8-0 run of its own to tie the game with 1:56 left, but faltered down the stretch in the loss.

Virginia Tech (17-7, 6-6)

Five Hokies in double figures were not enough to beat Miami, but Virginia Tech rebounded with a dramatic win Sunday night. A 16-4 run early in the second half got Virginia Tech back into the game against Virginia, and the two teams went back and forth in the final minutes of regulation. Seth Allen missed a layup on the Hokies' final possession, but Ty Outlaw tipped it in to send the game to overtime, and Justin Bibbs tied the game with a triple from the wing with less than a minute left in the first overtime to force another extra session.

With the game tied at 78, Allen—who finished with 20 points off the bench—got into the paint and sank a short jumper with 3.2 seconds left to win it.

Georgia Tech (15-10, 6-6)

The Yellow Jackets started an easy week with a blowout 96-58 win against Division II Tusculum in a break in its ACC schedule, with 50 points coming from their bench. They then came back from a 15-point deficit to dispatch Boston College 65-54 Saturday, led by 29 points from Tadric Jackson and 14 points and 17 rebounds from center Ben Lammers. Freshman guard Josh Okogie also posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 boards.

Georgia Tech trailed 20-5 14 minutes into the game and put up just 15 points in the first half, but outscored the Eagles 50-32 after the break to get back to .500 in the ACC. 

Wake Forest (15-10, 6-7)

Although the Demon Deacons have displayed a lot of offensive firepower with at least 75 points in nine straight points, they have only won five of those games and dropped another shootout against Notre Dame Tuesday night, squandering 24 points and 14 rebounds from John Collins. But a matchup with free-falling N.C. State Saturday was just what the doctor ordered, and Wake Forest blew out the Wolfpack 88-58 behind 23 points from Collins on 9-of-13 shooting. The Demon Deacon starters shot 10-of-15 from beyond the arc, and Wake Forest had 16 assists and just eight turnovers.

The Demon Deacons still need a signature win to bolster their shaky NCAA tournament resume, and they will get a chance next Saturday at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Clemson (13-11, 3-9)

The Tigers lost two games by a combined three points against teams in the top half of the ACC in a week that was a microcosm of a season of heartbreak. Twenty points from Jaron Blossomgame and five players in double figures were not quite enough to beat Syracuse thanks to Battle's buzzer-beater, and Shelton Mitchell scored a career-high 23 points Saturday to help Clemson take Duke down to the wire on the road. Six of the Tigers' nine ACC losses have come by five points or less.

Pittsburgh (14-11, 3-9)

The Panthers finally put the pieces together this week, snapping an eight-game losing streak with a pair of victories against Boston College and Syracuse. Michael Young scored 30 points on 11-of-19 shooting to dominate the Eagles inside, and Cameron Johnson shot 6-of-8 from beyond the arc to lead the way with 22 points against the Orange. Jamel Artis also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 assists Saturday. Young and Artis are no longer the top two scorers in the ACC, as Artis got passed up by Kennard for second place, but Artis made an impact in other ways to help his team finally pick up a couple wins.

N.C. State (14-12, 3-10)

Another week, another pair of embarrassing losses for the Wolfpack. It isn't that hard to score against Wake Forest, but N.C. State put up the fewest points by a Demon Deacon opponent all season in Saturday's blowout. Things got so bad that Ed Hardin of the Greensboro News & Record reported that freshman point guard and projected lottery pick Dennis Smith Jr. asked to take himself out with a couple minutes left in the game and BeeJay Anya started jawing with a fan in the closing seconds, challenging him to meet him after the game. The loss came three days after a 24-point loss at Florida State in which the Wolfpack got outrebounded 49-25.

N.C. State has now lost five straight games since a stunning win at Duke, and head coach Mark Gottfried's days in Raleigh may be numbered if the season's downward spiral continues.

Boston College (9-17, 2-11)

It took a while this year after a 2-2 start to ACC play, but the Eagles are right back where they spent all of last season—last place in the conference. Jerome Robinson averaged 19.5 points against Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech, but Boston College lost both by double digits even after an early 20-3 run that spanned more than 10 minutes against the Yellow Jackets. The Eagles have now dropped nine games in a row and have to play Notre Dame and Florida State this week.

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