As we expected it came down to the final couple of minutes, but Virginia Tech pulled out a 68-63 win over Clemson in the first round of the ACC Tournament.
- Free throws, free throws, free throws. Look at the box score from the game, and it looks like Clemson should’ve won. Similar rebounding numbers, better shooting percentages and only a slim deficit in turnovers. But the Tigers only shot 60% from the charity stripe to the Hokies’ 85%. That was the difference. With a little over a minute left Tanner Smith missed two free throws including the front end of a one-and-one. Brian Narcisse and Devin Booker also missed one. That’s five points left on the board in the final minute alone. There’s your deficit.
- “We haven’t practiced special situations as much; we’ve just lived it,” Seth Greenberg commented on his team’s youth and their tendency towards tough games (17 games decided by six points or less). Virginia Tech’s closing has been up and down all season. It was up and down tonight too. The Hokies gave up one five-second violation trying to inbound the ball and probably should’ve had another. They gave up several second-chance opportunities down the stretch to keep Clemson in striking distance. Tomorrow against Duke, that execution will have to be a lot crisper.
- Tanner Smith has one of the best motors in the conference. He and Andre Young were everywhere defensively for Clemson down the stretch. Young got most of the accolades because of his importance on offense, but Smith is a big part of why Clemson’s defense is so effective. He’s a very versatile defender who fights through every screen. Those two are going to be impossible for Brad Brownell to replace next year. At least for replacing Young, the freshman Devin Coleman had a terrific game (truthfully, I don’t know why he didn’t get more time during the season).