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ACC Roundup - Syracuse, Notre Dame Get Crucial Wins

Both teams really need more NCAA points.

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NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Notre Dame
Feb 7, 2017; South Bend, IN, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish guard T.J. Gibbs (2) reacts after being fouled in the second half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at the Purcell Pavilion. Notre Dame won 88-81.
Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Georgia Tech’s game against D-II Tusculum was meaningless but may have come at significant cost: Josh Heath left the game in the second half with an ankle injury. That’s something the Yellow Jackets simply can’t afford, so stay tuned.

The other two games were far more interesting and consequential.

We realized that Wake Forest had some mismatches inside but made an elementary mistake and forgot that works both ways: enter Bonzi Colson.

The 6-5 Colson finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds, five blocks and two assists.

Shot 10-16 too.

Wake’s John Collins, who only picked up two fouls, finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds.

The game followed a familiar pattern: after being up 41-36 at the half, Wake Forest gave up 52 points in the second stanza and Notre Dame just took them out.

As we’ve said before, it’ll continue until the Deacons get sick of it. It’s a question of maturing.

And they could use a small forward too.

As for the Irish, having lost four straight and five out of six, this was a game they really needed.

Meanwhile in Clemson, the Tigers and the ‘Cuse had a mediocre game going when it accidentally got thrilling.

What the hell? It wasn’t like either team was playing smart enough to win. If Clemson wasn’t blowing layups, Syracuse was letting Donte Grantham right into the sweet spot of the zone - between the 2 and the 3 - for an easy jump shot that put Clemson up 81-79 with :07 left.

Then, not happy with putting an end to a comedy of errors and bad decisions, Clemson let Syracuse come down and...well...this happened.

Tyler Lydon brought the ball in and trailed the action up court. John Gillon, channeling Villanova’s Ryan Arcidiacono from last spring, turned and flipped the ball back to the trailing Lydon.

Unlike Kris Jenkins, who caught Arcidiacono’s pass in Houston and launched a majestic jumper to put UNC away, Lydon headed towards the basket.

The defense collapsed on him and he, rather wisely, saw that it had left Tyus Battle completely, staggeringly and utterly open in the corner.

As Mark Gottfried said the other day, he could have checked the wind first.

He nailed it and Syracuse got a key road win, and its third clutch win in a row.

It wasn’t a very good game but the ending was tremendous.

More fun on Wednesday as State and Florida State tangle, meaning that Dennis Smith and Dwayne Bacon could put on a highly entertaining show.

The other games aren’t as promising - BC hosts Pitt while Virginia Tech and Miami tangle at Miami.

Actually, that one could be pretty good too.

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