ACC Basketball

The Morning After…

Dennis Nett | dnett@syracuse.com

It was a good night to be in the middle of the pack, as teams sitting sixth, seventh and eighth in the ACC all walked away with victories Tuesday night.

NC STATE HOLDS ON TO BEAT NORTH CAROLINA
The Wolfpack walked into Chapel Hill, turned the game into a crawl and stormed out of the building with a victory. With NC State’s big men shutting down North Carolina’s interior, they held the Tar Heels to 18 first half points and had a 36-20 lead early in the second. However, using the fast break to perfection, North Carolina rallied, scoring 16 of 18, getting back to within two. Yet, they never were able to cross that border and State ended the game on an 8-0 run.

Anthony Barber, Trevor Lacey and Ralston Turner combined for 43 points, as NC State has won three straight. North Carolina has dropped five of seven and haven’t beaten an RPI top-40 team since early January.

SYRACUSE UPSETS NOTRE DAME
One of the most efficient offenses in the land couldn’t figure out how to hit shots against the zone. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish started the game hitting four of 23, turning it over eight times, as Syracuse kept All-American candidate, Jerian Grant, out of the paint, while building a 27-17 lead. Six Orange players scored early, led by B.J. Johnson’s nine points. However, a five-minute scoring drought between the end of the first half and the beginning of the second let the Irish go on a 9-0 run to get back within one.

Yet, teams rally. The trick is to never surrender the lead, which is exactly what Syracuse did. Even with Rakeem Christmas in foul trouble all night long, fouling out with over five minutes to play, Notre Dame couldn’t take over. Although B.J. Johnson led all scorers with 19, it was surprisingly Trevor Cooney who saved Syracuse in the end. After a 1-4 start to the game, while the Irish suddenly become unstoppable (12 points during a four-minute stretch at the end of the game), Cooney scored nine straight points, including a crucial three after Jerian Grant pulled Notre Dame back to within two at the 3:17 mark.

Syracuse improves to 18-10 on the year, 9-6 in the ACC. It’s almost a shame their season is just about over. The Irish were led by Bonzie Colson. The undersized backup “center” finished with 16, hitting eight free throws. Jerian Grant struggled with the zone, hitting just 2-9 from the floor, 0-6 from deep. He scored nine of his 13 points at the FT line. The Irish fall to 24-5 on the year, 12-4 in conference, falling behind Duke into third place.

PITTSBURGH OVER BOSTON COLLEGE
Olivier Hanlan continues his NBA showcase tour, turning in a 39-point performance against the Pittsburgh Panthers. Unfortunately for Boston College, it still wasn’t enough, as Pittsburgh won, 71-65. In fact, Hanlan and Aaron Brown (who finished with 20 points) combined to score 59 of the Eagles’ 65 points, as the rest of the team hit just 3-9 shots, 0-5 from the FT line.

The Panthers, who barely beat Boston College in overtime in early January, led by as much as 15 in this one, but just couldn’t put their foes away until the end. Jamel Artis scored 24, grabbing eight rebounds, while Michael Young delivered 22 against a soft Eagles’ interior, getting to the FT line 15 times.

Boston College has now dropped nine straight and remain in the ACC basement. Pittsburgh has now won six of eight. At 19-10, 8-7 in the ACC, they still have a good shot at an NCAA Tournament bid, sitting in 8th place in the conference.

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