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ACC Roundup - Another Amazing Night Of Basketball

Another day of ACC passion producing great games

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NCAA Basketball: Duke at Syracuse
Feb 22, 2017; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange guard John Gillon (4) takes the game winning shot in the final moments of the second half against the Duke Blue Devils at the Carrier Dome. The Orange won 78-75. 
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

UNC’s win over Lousville is a bigger deal and was in a general sense more exciting. The more interesting game though was Wake’s win over Pitt.

Wake was awful. Wake went down 19 points. Wake was getting killed.

Then Wake turned it around and that’s something Wake has been doing lately.

Wake’s comeback tied the school record.

Wake held Pitt to 16.7% in the second half.

In fairness though, Pitt pretty much fell apart after Michael Young picked up his fourth foul with 14:02 left.

Young sat until about the 6:00 minute mark and during that time, his teammates only managed five points.

The score was tied with :25 left when John Collins got a steal.

Wake’s Bryant Crawford missed a layup (stop us if you’ve heard this lately) with :20 seconds to go, but John Collins got the putback to put Wake up 61-59.

Pitt had a chance to take the lead on a late three pointer but a pass that Kevin Stallings described as off “by about 20 feet” sailed out of bounds.

Brandon Childress was fouled and hit both though Pitt tried to ice him. John Collins got a late steal and Wake walked off with the 63-59 win.

Let’s be clear: Wake was awful for much of the game and so was Pitt. There were 31 fouls called - in the second half.

Nonetheless, Wake Forest showed grit and heart and determination. On a night when the offense simply wasn’t working, the Deacons turned to defense and rode that to a victory which could be a program-defining win. As we’ve been saying for some time, Wake has enough talent to be good. What it has lacked is the will to be excellent. That may be changing.

The nation is catching on to John Collins. Wake is still somewhat obscure but his talent is turning heads. CBSSports.com thinks he could be a lottery pick.

Is he ready? Doesn’t matter anymore, does it? It’s just a choice and it’s hard to turn down NBA money.

If he comes back next year, the Deacons could be a vastly improved team and he could continue to benefit from the tutelage of Danny Manning, who has unique insights to offer a young big man.

Duke and Louisville both lost, which puts UNC in the driver’s seat for the ACC regular season.

UNC didn’t dominate the paint as usual - Isaiah Hicks was shut out and picked up four fouls - but it didn’t matter. The Heels had Justin Jackson and he made up for it. Kennedy Meeks had 14 points and seven rebounds. Joel Berry had 15 and Theo Pinson had 13, including two three pointers.

At halftime of the UNC game a fan apparently yelled something at Rick Pitino which ESPN reported was “Hey Pitino! You Suck!”

Whereupon Pitino lost his mind. He started to charge the fan but was restrained by his staff. Ultimately the fan was removed and Roy Williams apologized after the game.

So what happened Rick?

“He just got in may face and said something I didn’t like. I take it from the students all the time. I expect it from students. But from an adult, who then turns his back on me like he’s a coward. … And he is a coward. But North Carolina’s a classy place and one person doesn’t speak for the rest of the people.”

If you’ve read this site for long you know we’re not huge Kentucky fans and don’t particularly admire the passive-aggressive behavior of John Calipari. But give the man credit. Last night hundreds of Missouri fans yelled “Cal you suck!” And he walked away.

We have no idea why Pitino reacted so viscerally. However as we said recently, the ACC has gotten too corporate, so it’s nice to see Pitino channel either Frank McGuire or Norm Sloan, or possibly both.

*****

As noted yesterday, Clemson’s associate A.D. Bert Henderson was found dead on Tuesday. The coroner has concluded that Henderson shot himself.

The Anderson County coroner, Greg Shore, said that Henderson had been depressed over his wife’s death in November.

The couple had two daughters who have now lost both parents within three months of each other. Hearts across the ACC go out to them in this most difficult time.

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