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ACC Roundup - It Wasn't Perfect Basketball, But Wednesday Night Was A Lot Of Fun

And Jeff Capel has Pitt in third place.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Pittsburgh
 Jan 25, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Jeff Capel reacts on the court against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the second half at the Petersen Events Center. Pittsburgh won 81-79. 
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

There were only two ACC games Wednesday night but they both ended up being compelling, if not necessarily always well played: Pitt beat Wake Forest 81-79 and Boston College knocked off Louisville 75-65.

Poor Louisville.

The Cardinals led for much of the game and were still up 45-42 with 12:50 left to play.

But it wasn’t meant to be. Though the Cards played very well for much of the game, they again couldn’t finish it as BC roared back. And give the Eagles credit - this isn’t the only comeback they’ve had this season.

Louisville got outstanding games from El Ellis (17 points and five assists), Jaelyn Withers (16 points and seven rebounds) and Mike James (15 points). Sidney Curry had 10 points and shot 5-6. Overall Louisville shot 53.1 percent and 50 percent on threes. But they also had 19 turnovers and only six offensive rebounds.

In the end, Boston College just was tougher. Quentin Post had 22 points and six boards despite getting poked in the eye. Jaeden Zackery had 15 points and seven assists and several big defensive plays, especially late. And Makai Ashton-Langford had one of his better games at BC with 21 points and five boards. It wasn’t just the scoring though. He, along with Zackery and Post gave BC a spine that Louisville, which has improved, just does not yet have.

By the way, BC, which is nearly back to .500, had just 10 turnovers.

More bad news for Louisville as Ellis came up limping late after stepping on an official’s foot. We’ll presumably know more in a day or two.

We thought that Pitt might struggle with Wake’s size and to an extent they did. Wake did fairly well inside.

But Pitt had a program best day from behind the line with the Panthers hitting 18-37. And Blake Hinson hit 8-14. He didn't even attempt a shot inside the line. Greg Elliott hit 6-9 and Nelly Cummings was 3-7.

Good thing because Pitt need them all and even then almost blew it: up 81-79 with five seconds left, Hinson passed on a three pointer with the shot clock almost expired. He passed instead of shooting and Pitt turned the ball over.

It would have been a bad error at any point but with :05 left? Terrible.

Wake got the ball back and Tyree Appleby, who is a 40.2 percent three point shooter, got a clean look. One of the announcers even called it in - but it wasn’t.

No one will care in a week or so, but Pitt won despite a glaring, foolish mistake because the Panthers got lucky.

With the win, Pitt keeps pace with Miami and UNC, tied for third place at 7-3. And Boston College, despite arguably having less talent than any other ACC team, is somehow in 11th place, ahead of Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech and Louisville. And if you look down those rosters, it’s hard to argue that the Eagles have more talent. Brad Brownell is on target to win ACC Coach of the Year and deservedly so, but Earl Grant should get a few votes as well.

No games until Saturday when we’ll have seven, including Louisville at Notre Dame. And you know something will have to give.

ACC Standings