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ACC Roundup - Meltdown Saturday

Wake, BC and Pitt had dreadful Saturdays.

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Syracuse v Duke
DURHAM, NC - FEBRUARY 24: Teammates Bourama Sidibe #35 and Oshae Brissett #11 of the Syracuse Orange go after a rebound against Javin DeLaurier #12 of the Duke Blue Devils during their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 24, 2018 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images


Everyone knew that Pitt’s weakness and Virginia’s defense could make for an ugly game but that’s what Pitt shot in the first half - 4.5%. 4.5%!

The Panthers hit exactly one shot from the floor in the opening half (1-22). Check out how Craig Meyer put it in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. This is a wonderful bit of writing:

“That question was answered in resounding and, for Pitt, dispiriting fashion, as it cobbled together an offensive showing that rewrote large swaths of the program’s record book in all the wrong ways.

“The 37 points were the third-fewest in a game since the 1954-55 season. The Panthers’ 11 made field goals were tied for the second-fewest in a game in program history and their field goal percentage (23.9) was the eighth-worst in a game in program history.

“Those numbers were the product largely of a first-half performance that in real time became an object of astonishment and lampooning for those who follow college basketball. In the opening 20 minutes, Pitt made just one of its 22 field goals, giving it the lowest field goal percentage in a half (4.5 percent) in program history. The one made field goal was the fewest in a half for any college team in the shot-clock era and Pitt’s seven points were the third-fewest in a half in program history, beaten only by marks of zero and two points set in 1950 and 1906, respectively, the latter of which came 15 years after the sport of basketball was invented.”

They just had no idea at all how to deal with Virginia and worse, the fans are running out of patience. The Oakland Zoo is nearly bereft of animals and people were wearing paper bags on their heads with at least one shown on TV reading FIRE STALLINGS.

We’re not huge fans of his either but he’s not an incompetent. He needs time to get and teach decent players. Fire Stallings right now and Pitt starts all over again.

On the bright side, Rick Pitino and Sean Miller either are or will soon be available. So good news for the win now crowd.

It was also a depressing afternoon in Winston-Salem where Wake Forest, once at least reliably a pest and occasionally great, cannot figure out what to do at the ends of games.

Against Notre Dame, Wake Forest let the Irish finish on a 16-2 run, finishing with a Matt Farrell three to go up 74-71 with eight seconds left.

Wake tried to rush up court but the officials saw a problem and gave them the ball at half court with 3.6 left - plenty of time to at least get a shot off.

But Brandon Childress couldn’t inbound successfully and a pair of free throws by Martinas Geben ended it with a 76-71 victory.

But that wasn’t the end of Saturday’s collapses - BC did it too.

The Eagles were cruising at Miami. Despite having no meaningful frontcourt, BC had a 14 point lead with 5:51 left but Miami wasn’t ready to give up.

Chris Lykes, all 5-7 of him, was pretty effective down the stretch. He was a handful for BC to deal with defensively and when he drew a fifth foul on Ky Bowman with 1:28 left and BC up 75-70, the die was pretty much cast.

The Eagles don’t really have a backup for Bowman at point and Miami took full advantage.

Lykes drew a foul and converted his shots then hit Dejan Vasiljevic for a basket. He hit another pair of free throws with :18 left to cut the lead to one.

BC’s Luka Kraljevic hit one free throw to push it back to a two-point lead.

But with two seconds left, Lonnie Walker hit a truly clutch three point shot and that, as they say, was that.

With its third straight loss, BC falls to 16-13.

It was also clear to us in this game that while Nik Popovic is the best big man Jim Christian has, he’s still a long ways from being an ACC level center. He made some really foolish mistakes down the stretch that greatly cost the Eagles.

On the more admirable side of things were Clemson and Louisville.

The Tigers have struggled without Shelton Mitchell, out two games in the concussion protocol. He came off the bench against Georgia Tech but got his normal minutes.

Good thing.

Georgia Tech took the lead near the end of the first half and kept it until near the end of the second.

Mitchell tied the game at 61-61 with a pair of free throws and then Marcquise Reed made a basket on a Yellow Jacket turnover.

Clemson played like an experienced and mature team down the stretch. And you have to say for their part, the Yellow Jackets for the most part played like a well-coached team. Josh Pastner has not had top-shelf talent at Tech yet but at times he’s been a very resourceful and smart coach. Not always, but often enough to give the fans hope of eventual success.

Louisville has shown a certain toughness too. They lost to UNC by 17 before being hammered at Duke by 26.

The Cards bounced back at Virginia Tech though, behind a strong game from senior Quentin Snyder.

Snyder hit seven three point shots, personally outperforming the entire Hokie squad from the bonusphere.

We were surprised to see that Chris Clarke, normally one of the best sixth men anywhere, had minimal influence on the game.

Afterwards, Louisville coach David Padgett said that “[t]hat was a much-needed win for us. For a lot of reasons. Not only because we had a tough week with some other things off the court, but just because we needed a win.”

True enough. Not a huge surprise perhaps: it was Louisville’s 14th straight win over Virginia Tech.

And as far as the Hokies go, while they haven’t been very good at home this season, they have plans for Monday. Ahmad Hill: “We owe [our fans] a ‘W’, And we also owe our seniors to send them out in the last home game with a great win. And we owe Duke, because the last time we played them it wasn’t a good game. We look forward to Monday.”

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