clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

ACC Roundup

A big Saturday for several schools

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Louisville
 Dec 29, 2018; Louisville, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals forward Jordan Nwora (33) steals the ball away from Kentucky Wildcats guard Immanuel Quickley (5) during the second half at KFC Yum! Center. Kentucky defeated Louisville 71-58. 
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

In Saturday’s ACC action, Notre Dame survived Coppin State 63-56, Wake fell to Gardner-Webb 73-69, Syracuse topped St. Bonnie’s 81-47, Pitt got past Colgate 68-54, Miami took down Campbell 73-62, UNC popped Davidson 82-60 and Kentucky introduced Chris Mack to the Commonwealth rivalry 71-58.

Guard Tyler Herro had 24 for his biggest game for Kentucky to date but a lot of this was down to Kentucky’s size advantage which helped hold Louisville to 36.4% and just five three pointers.

It wasn’t all that though. UK had just nine turnovers and of the regulars, only Keldon Johnson shot poorly. There’s no question that Kentucky has improved.

In Chapel Hill, UNC beat Davidson by 22 but the Wildcats played without their best player, Kellen Grady.

Even so, it was a solid and balanced effort by the Tar Heels as four starters finished in double figures, led by Cameron Johnson with 17. Davidson got good shots, as coach Bob McKillop said after the game, but couldn’t hit them: they Wildcats shot just 29.9% for the game.

Upsets surely happen, but there’s also a hierarchy in basketball and ACC teams should not lose to Big South teams.

Yet Gardner-Webb is 2-0 vs. the ACC this season, having beaten Georgia Tech and now Wake Forest.

The Deacons kindly sent the Bulldogs to the line 40 times and they hit 35 of those attempts.

It’s the kind of performance that baffles people about Wake Forest: how can they be this bad? Yes they’re young but there is some talent anyway. It’s just hard to fathom.

After the game, sensing what the reporter who asked was after, Brandon Childress said this: “If you want me to say I’m pretty upset, yeah, I’m pretty upset we lost to Gardner-Webb. Yes, I’m disappointed at how I played, and how we were selfish at times.”

Just for the fun of it, unless you’re a Wake fan, imagine what would happen if say Kevin Keatts had this roster.

Notre Dame was nearly upset by Coppin State but unlike Wake Forest fought back effectively and clamped down in the final 10 minutes to pull out a win.

That’s how you handle an upset bid Wake Forest. The Irish pulled it out despite shooting just 28% in the second half and got some leadership from Terrence Gibbs, who led the comeback.

Everyone shot atrociously except for Juwan Durham (50%). Still, a win is a win.

One of the best ACC stories of the season so far is the amazing job Jeff Capel is doing at Pitt. The Panthers moved to 10-3 with a win over Colgate fueled by solid defense.

Trey McGowens led a balanced attack with 16 points. Jared Wilson-Frame added 15.

It wasn’t a special game or anything but didn’t have to be. Pitt is solid and improving and certainly won’t finish 0-18 again. You have to wonder what Kevin Stallings thinks as Capel continues his rapid turnaround.

Miami held Campbell star to 19 points but won by just 11. Fellow tiny guard Chris Lykes out dueled him, finishing with 21. Zach Johnson had 22 for the ‘Canes.

Miami, which has struggled a lot this season, had a fairly easy game. Jim Larranaga has a lot of issues going forth so an easy one probably felt pretty good.

There is a nice basketball tradition in upstate New York but a lot of it is fairly faded. St. Bonaventure just didn’t have enough to take down a shaky Syracuse and lost by 34.

Despite saying he’s too thin, Jim Boeheim has been using Marek Dolezaj at center and bringing Paschal Chukwu off the bench. He’s right - Dolezaj is 6-10 and weighs just 180 - but it’s driven by necessity.

It may not end well.

Syracuse’s 2-3 zone relies on long players and right now Boeheim is starting three guards, Oshae Brissett and Dolezaj - it’s going to be tough to make it work with that group.

Strong second half leads UNC to home win over Davidson