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ACC Roundup - Clemson Was Amazing

What a game by the Tigers

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 23 Wake Forest at Clemson
CLEMSON, SC - FEBRUARY 23: Wake Forest guard Damari Monsanto (30) shoots a three point shot during a college basketball game between the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the Clemson Tigers on February 23, 2022, at Littlejohn Coliseum in Clemson, S.C.
Photo by John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In Wednesday’s ACC Action, Boston College beat NC State 69-61, Notre Dame topped Syracuse 79-69, Virginia Tech took care of Georgia Tech 62-58 and Clemson beat Wake Forest 80-69.

Wait, what? Say that again?

We honestly did not think the Tigers could pull that off and we thought that PJ Hall would play at least some - but he didn’t. And of course Hunter Tyson is out for the season with a broken clavicle.

This, in our opinion, is one of the most impressive wins of the entire ACC season.

Keep in mind that the Tigers had lost six straight with their emerging star and that Wake has emerged as a tough, athletic team that can really perform at a high level.

Know too that, for whatever reason, Al-Amir Dawes didn’t start. So what the heck happened?

Well for one, Chase Hunter. The 6-4 sophomore shot 10-12, helping the Tigers to shoot 53.7 percent.

Wake Forest just never could catch the Tigers, by the tail or any other way. Clemson led the entire game.

Jake LaRavia helped - the normally reliable forward stunk it up for a good bit of the game and finished 4-13. He did heat up briefly but not enough to make a difference.

It was just a brilliant, gutty performance by Clemson and one their fans should long remember.

NC State clearly can’t defend the post but that’s still no reason for a guy like Quinten Post, a solid but not great big man, to hit 9-10. James Karnik, a decent center but again not great, had 11 points and nine boards. Add in Posts’ four boards and they combined for 29 points (16-21) and 15 rebounds.

State’s Ebenezer Dowuona did have six blocks, four points and seven boards, but also four fouls.

Terquavion Smith finished with 21 and Dereon Seabron had 20 but the rest of the team combined for just 20 points.

At 11-16, Boston College faces an uphill battle to get to .500 but it’s not impossible. The rest of the schedule isn’t too bad and who knows what the ACC Tournament holds? We’ll say it again - Earl Grant is building a solid program. Keep an eye on Boston College.

We figured that freshman Blake Wesley might have some trouble with Syracuse’s zone and he did, hitting just 3-13. But Nate Laszewski, still coming off the bench after his bone bruise, hit 5-10 on three pointers and Notre Dame hit 11-33 overall. The Irish also hit 18-21 from the free throw line.

Syracuse could match neither stat and also got hammered on the boards, 41-28 and 11-3 on offensive rebounds.

Like State and now Clemson, Syracuse is going without its expected starter at center, in their case Jesse Edwards, and his backups aren’t doing that well. Frank Anselem did get eight rebounds in 23 minutes but he also failed to attempt a single shot and picked up four fouls.

One reason why Notre Dame did well despite Laszewski’s injury is the emergence of Paul Atkinson as a legit ACC center. He had what Mason Plumlee might call a man’s game here: 20 points, including 10-12 from the line, and 17 rebounds. That’s impressive. It also frees Laszewski up. By necessity, Notre Dame may have found a winning formula that may be taking them to another level.

The Boeheims did well. Jimmy had 27 and Buddy got 20. This may sound vaguely familiar: the rest of the team combined for 22 points.

Do you know much about Darius Maddox? Yeah,same here. A 6-5 sophomore who comes off the bench, we hadn’t really noticed him much. Less certainly than, say, Sean Pedulla, who has had his moments.

Not to offend him but he’s been somewhat anonymous.

Well not anymore: Maddox ripped off 10 straight against Georgia Tech in the second half which did two things: first, along with a three by Nahiem Alleyne, it put the Hokies up by 13. And second, it guaranteed that no one will ever overlook him again.

The team records here are a palindrome at 11-17 and 17-11. The Hokies still have tournament hopes and if they can finish strong at Miami, then home against Louisville before closing out at Clemson, they’ll enter the ACC Tournament with 20 wins. A strong showing there could put them over the top.

No games until Saturday when everyone is in action except for Pitt.

ACC Standings