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ACC Roundup - Cole Anthony’s Hot Start, Pitt Wins Ugly And Virginia’s Still Virginia

It’s early but it looks like a fun ACC season ahead

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Syracuse
Nov 6, 2019; Syracuse, NY, USA; Virginia Cavaliers guard Kihei Clark (0) retrieves a loose ball as Syracuse Orange guard Joe Girard III (11) defends in the second half at the Carrier Dome.
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

On Day II of the ACC Network Extravaganza, UNC beat Notre Dame 76-65, Syracuse managed 34 points against Virginia’s 48, BC took Wake Forest 77-70, and Pitt nipped FSU 63-61.

On the bright side for Leonard Hamilton, his team nearly doubled Syracuse’s output.

It certainly wasn’t a beautiful game by Pitt, but a win is a win. Best of all for Jeff Capel, the Panthers had to overcome some mild adversity, falling behind by nine in the second half.

Pitt started last year’s freshman backcourt, Xavier Johnson and Trey McGowan, along with Au’Diese Toney, Gerald Drumgoole and UNCG transfer Eric Hamilton.

You can see the future of Pitt basketball taking place. Johnson, McGowan, Toney and Drumgoole are all between 6-3 and 6-6 and athletic. Capel has several more coming next year along with some big men. The Panthers are going to improve this season and next year could make the Top 25.

Wake Forest went up to Boston to lose to the Eagles who got a nice game out of former Blue Devil Derryck Thornton who had a career high 23 and helped the Eagles force 17 turnovers.

Underrated center Nik Popovic had 19.

BC had a 20-3 run and really that’s hard to see. It’s a team with issues. But then, so is Wake Forest.

Admittedly it’s early but it must be a dispiriting loss.

Virginia is rebuilding after a national championship team and held Syracuse to 34 points (talk about dispiriting). Players leave but the Pack Line stays the same and Syracuse had trouble getting shots anywhere near the basket.

Elijah Hughes scored 14 but only one other player got more than four points - Buddy Boeheim with seven.

Junior Tomas Woldetensae and freshman Casey Morrell joined familiar faces Mamadi Diakite, Brandon Key and Kihei Clark in the lineup.

Most impressive stat of the ACC night: 5-7 Clark nabbed 11 boards. Admittedly Syracuse missed a lot (44 shots) but that’s really impressive.

Also impressive: UNC’s Cole Anthony had 34 in his freshman debut. He also had five assists and matched Clark’s 11 rebounds but in fairness he’s seven inches taller.

As we’ve emphasized several times, it’s very early still and 34 points is impressive...but he had to take 24 shots to get the 34 points and that was 40.6 percent of all of UNC’s attempts.

The only other guy who hit double figures was Garrison Brooks who had 10. No doubt Ol’ Roy Williams is happy with his prize rookie (and one-and-done) but no coach in his right mind wants to see that kind of imbalance.

Notre Dame was competitive which must be a relief for Mike Brey, who had a very tough season last time out. Rex Pflueger is back, although he scored just one point.

Notre Dame’s backcourt, Prentiss Hubb and TJ Gibbs had 22 and 19 respectively.

It’s a minor point but Notre Dame’s backcourt outscored UNC’s 41-39 despite Anthony’s explosion.

Only one game on Thursday as Clemson hosts Presbyterian after losing to Virginia Tech on Tuesday.