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ACC Roundup - Clemson, UNC Win Thrillers

Well, thrillers by 2020 standards anyway

NCAA Basketball: N.C. State at Clemson
Jan 5, 2021; Clemson, South Carolina, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Brad Brownell waves to fans after defeating the North Carolina State Wolfpack in overtime at Littlejohn Coliseum. 
Ken Ruinard-USA TODAY Sports

Clemson is off to a really good start but as we’ve seen over the years, and as Barry pointed out the other day, it’s not the start that matters but the finish.

Still, the start is pretty good this season and it got better Tuesday as the Tigers beat NC State 74-70 in overtime to move to 9-1 and 3-1 in the ACC.

Although the Pack had its way in the first half, Clemson shut them down later, outscoring State 21-11 in the last nine minutes.

There was some question about whether the injured Manny Bates would play. He did, and had an effect on defense though he only blocked one shot, well under his average under 3.4.

Still, Aamir Simms struggled, shooting 3-11 and attempting six threes (he missed them all).

Clemson’s start is impressive and deserves respect. So we don’t mean to sound churlish when we remind you that this season has been weird for everyone and that most teams haven’t played enough to establish a sense of rhythm.

We’ll see how things look in a month.

That said, we hope Clemson stays healthy and injury free. You know what would be hilarious? If the Tigers managed to get to the Final Four and then to pull off a national championship in basketball. Even better if Ohio State makes it too.

For all the talk about Wendell Moore’s early struggles, people are paying less attention to what UNC’s Garrison Brooks is going through.

Voted the pre-season ACC Player of the Year, Roy Williams moved him to the bench after the NC State loss and he’s stayed there.

in UNC’s 67-65 win over Miami Tuesday night, he hit just 1-7 and since the win at Kentucky, with the exception of the Georgia Tech game, his shooting percentage has declined alarmingly.

Well alarmingly if you’re a UNC fan or Roy Williams. Check this out:

  • Kentucky 71.4 percent
  • NC State 35.7 percent
  • Georgia Tech 57.1 percent
  • Notre Dame 28.6 percent
  • Miami 14.3 percent

The good news is it can’t get much worse and he’s still rebounding consistently. But this guy was voted the pre-season Player of the Year! This is amazing and underreported.

His replacement, Da’Ron Sharpe, may be solidifying his place in the lineup. At Notre Dame, he put up 25 points and nine boards. At Miami, he had 12 points and an impressive 16 rebounds. Even more impressive: seven of them were offensive which matched the rest of the team’s output on the offensive boards.

More good news for the Tar Heels: UNC hit 45 percent on threes, including 3-7 by Kerwin Walton and 4-4 from Leaky Black.

This game had a great ending: Miami’s Isaiah Wong hit a great high arching shot in the lane then Andrew Platek, of all people, won the game on a driving layup. We could have imagined him doing it on a three but on a drive? Didn’t see that coming.

Back to NC State for a minute: Shakeel Moore was not the highest rated freshman in the ACC last year. We’re not even sure he was State’s highest rated.

Lately though he’s playing great, at least in spurts. He didn’t shoot well against Clemson, but the 6-1 Moore grabbed 10 rebounds. State got 20 boards between Moore and Devon Daniels, which leads to a question: what’s the best rebounding game ever by an ACC backcourt? Twenty has to be close.

Anyway, against BC, Moore had a couple of big plays down the stretch including a last-second dunk, and against Clemson he blocked a late shot by Nick Honor to make sure the game went into overtime.

He’s tremendous athletic and a lot of fun to watch.

Wednesday’s ACC games include Pitt at Syracuse, Virginia Tech at Louisville and Wake Forest at Virginia. Even though Virginia will be missing a couple of coaches and at least two players, that one could get extremely ugly.

As for Pitt, already without Justin Champagnie due to injury, the Panthers will have two guys sit out under contact tracing protocols.

On the other hand, Syracuse hasn’t played in two weeks. This game was arranged because the ‘Cuse couldn’t play Florida State. We haven’t heard if Jeff Capel will be able to coach or not but we think his quarantine should just about be up.

Wednesday’s ACC Action

  • Pitt @ Syracuse || 4:30 || ACCN
  • Virginia Tech @ Louisville || 6:30 || ACCN
  • Boston College @ Duke || 8:30 || ACCN
  • Wake Forest @ Virginia || 9:00 || ACCNX

ACC Standings