ACC Weekend Review: 01.22.19 Edition

Posted by Brad Jenkins on January 22nd, 2019

The first ACC clash of the titans lived up to the hype as Duke edged Virginia, 72-70, in an electric Cameron Indoor Stadium on Saturday night. And luckily for us, those two league heavyweights will do it all over again in three weeks in Charlottesville, with one or even two more meetings possible in the postseason. Elsewhere in the league, two other Triangle schools picked up hard earned road wins. North Carolina used a late three-point shooting barrage to pull away from a pesky Miami team, 85-76, and NC State (still playing without point guard Markell Johnson) held off Notre Dame, 77-73. Here are the highlights from the weekend around the ACC.

Duke’s freshmen stars Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett combined for 57 points in Duke’s big win over Virginia. (Rob Kinnan – USA TODAY Sports)
  • Best Win: Ever since Tony Bennett raised Virginia to elite status in the ACC hierarchy beginning in the 2013-14 season, the Cavaliers’ games in Durham have been instant classics. To say this game between co-#1 teams could have gone either way would be a vast understatement – for an eight-minute stretch in the middle of the second half, neither school held more than a one-point lead. While the rest of the ACC has struggled to score against Virginia’s pack-line defense, Duke seems to have cracked the code. Only nine league opponents have scored over 1.12 points per possession against Virginia over the last six seasons, but Duke has managed to do it four times, including a 1.14 mark on Saturday. Of course, it may be more a matter of talent than strategy. Mike Krzyzewski has had numerous elite players to call on lately, including, most recently, the transcendental talents of Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett. Playing without injured point guard Tre Jones, the Blue Devils relied on Barrett (30 points) and Williamson (27 points) to become the first pair of opponents to score more than 25 points against the Cavaliers in the Bennett era. Both teams were effective in the paint but less so from distance – Duke went 2-of-14 from deep while Virginia connected on only three of its 17 three-point tries. That’s where Virginia must feel it let a huge road win get away. While Duke has been struggling with the three-pointer all year, the Cavaliers have been one of the nation’s best outside shooting teams. Expect another classic when the two face off again in three weeks.
  • Worst Loss:  Call it the Duke Hangover, Part 2. Last Saturday, Florida State was one second away from stunning the top-ranked Blue Devils, but now, Leonard Hamilton‘s team is looking at a three-game losing streak after back-to-back road upsets at Pittsburgh and Boston College. The Seminoles blew a 10-point halftime lead Sunday afternoon in Conte Forum en route to an 87-82 loss to the Eagles. As has become the custom, Florida State was killed from behind the arc – the Seminoles went 8-of-25 from deep while allowing Boston College to make 13-of-21 from long distance. In five ACC games to date, Florida State ranks last in the league in three-point shooting (24.8%) and is tied for worst in opponents’ success from deep (41.7%).
Ky Bowman led Boston College to an upset win over Florida State on Sunday.
(Sports Illustrated)
  • Most Outstanding Player:  In gaining its first win in ACC play, Boston College turned to star guard Ky Bowman, who torched Florida State to the tune of 37 points, nine rebounds and three assists. Bowman was effective from all over the floor, making seven of his 10 two-point attempts and sinking a sizzling 7-of-10 from three-point range. More importantly, he single-handedly kept the Eagles in the game with 18 first-half points before his teammates found the range after the break.
  • Unsung Heroes: This week we recognize two reserves whose sharp-shooting helped push their respective teams to victory. Syracuse’s Buddy Boeheim scored a season-high 13 points and sank four threes in the Orange’s 74-63 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday. Likewise, Ty Outlaw came off the bench for 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from deep, as Virginia Tech handled Wake Forest in Blacksburg, 87-71.
  • Most Efficient Offense/Least Efficient Defense: Outlaw wasn’t the only Hokie to have a hot shooting day – none of the nine players that saw action for Buzz Williams shot under 50 percent from the floor against the Demon Deacons. Virginia Tech scored 1.28 points per possession by making 72.0 percent of its two-point tries, 42.3 percent of its threes and 81.8 percent from the foul line. This performance was not unexpected considering that the Hokies sport a top-10 offense and Wake Forest owns the worst rated defense in the ACC.
  • Most Efficient Defense/Least Efficient Offense: In a bit of a surprise, Louisville dominated Georgia Tech, 79-51, in Atlanta on Saturday, holding the Yellow Jackets to a dismal 0.70 points per possession. The Cardinals held Georgia Tech to just 38 percent shooting, including an icy 1-for-10 performance from distance. They also forced 17 Yellow Jackets’ miscues and posted a robust 84.2 percent defensive rebounding mark.

Upcoming Week – Four Games to Watch

  • Tuesday 1/22 – Clemson at Florida State (7:00 ET ESPNU) 
  • Thursday 1/24 – N.C. State at Louisville (8:00 ET Raycom/ACCN)
  • Saturday 1/26 – Syracuse at Virginia Tech (8:00 ESPN2)

Brad Jenkins (383 Posts)

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