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ACC Roundup - Tuesday Looked Dull - Then They Played

What a great pair of games we got.

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NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Virginia Tech
Feb 21, 2017; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies guard Seth Allen (4) reacts following the victory against the Clemson Tigers at Cassell Coliseum.
Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

First tragic news: Clemson’s associate A.D. Bert Henderson was found dead near property he owned in Anderson County Wednesday. There is no word on the cause of death. Condolences and prayers go out to his family.

When we saw tonight’s ACC schedule featured Virginia Tech at Clemson and NC State at Georgia Tech, honestly? It wasn’t alluring.


Both games were compelling. In Blacksburg, Clemson was on the verge of a big road win when Seth Allen stole it away with a three point shot shot with 3.8 seconds left.

It was a gut wrenching way to lose on an already gut-wrenching day at Clemson.

Worse, it was the second time this season that Clemson lost to the Hokies by a single point.

Look at it this way: Clemson is two points from being 16-11, three points from being 17-10, five points from being 18-9, eight points from being 19-8 and 13 points from being 20-7.

How painful is that?

Instead, the Tigers are 14-13 - and this is a good team.

That’s just life in the ACC this season.

Heartbreak City, as Dick Vitale might say.

Better night for NC State. After showing some heart - finally - against Notre Dame on Saturday, the Pack played hard at Georgia Tech and on both ends too.

State did a tremendous job on Tech’s Ben Lammers, holding the big man to 1-9 from the floor.

He still got nine rebounds and four blocks, but State nearly shut him out. He had four free throws to total six points.

Josh Okogie had 25 to pace the Yellow Jackets. Tadrick Jackson had 17 off the bench.

Omer Yurtseven has almost dropped out of the rotation - the Turkish center got just two minutes. BeeJay Anya has also nearly disappeared - as much as a 6-11 350 lb guy can anyway. He played three minutes at Duke, zip at Louisville, five at Syracuse, none at FSU (he was left home for that one), none at Notre Dame and none at Tech.

Not what you want out of a senior.

That leaves the Pack with Abdul-Malik Abu to hold down the inside, something he really didn’t want to do this year and while he did get 10 rebounds he scored just six points.

State went with four guards again. Terry Henderson had 21 while Dennis Smith had 18. Maverick Rowan had nine.

State seemed to have this game in the bag with :31 left and a seven-point lead. Tech roared back though and with :15 left it was a four-point lead.

Jackson hit a three with four seconds left to cut that to 70-69. Smith missed the front end of a one-and-one and made the second. And then, with :02 left, Tech ran the most beautiful play:

The Yellow Jackets made a full-court pass to Lammers who caught it in the air and immediately shuffled it to Jackson. He missed the shot but are you kidding?

It was a breathtaking comeback and it’s clear that, at least for this season, the magic has returned to the Thriller Dome.

It was a wonderful comeback, a gorgeous play, and Tech did everything but hit the winner.

It was a huge win for State of course and the Pack deserved it. It’s nice to see that team regain some self-respect and nice to see Mark Gottfried squeeze some life out of his dysfunctional squad.

On Wednesday some major games but the biggest is in Chapel Hill: beat Louisville and UNC stays in first place. Lose and the Heels move down to a tie with Louisville and, if Duke beats Syracuse, the Blue Devils.

Pitt visits Wake Forest and both teams are significantly improved. That could be a surprisingly good game. Pitt has really perked up lately and Wake Forest has a superb talent in John Collins.

It has no major impact on the stands but both teams still have post-season hopes and every game is crucial.

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