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ACC Roundup - Clemson Moves Into Sole Possession Of First Place

The Tigers are having a great season so far

Clemson v Virginia Tech
BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA - JANUARY 04: Center PJ Hall #24 of the Clemson Tigers in the second half during a game against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Cassell Coliseum on January 04, 2023 in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Photo by Ryan Hunt/Getty Images

In Saturday’s ACC Action, Syracuse fell at Virginia 73-66, UNC took out Notre Dame in Chapel Hill 81-64, Florida State beat Georgia Tech 75-64, Wake forest knocked off Louisville 80-72, NC State topped Virginia Tech 73-69 and Clemson triumphed at Pitt 75-74 to take sole possession of first place in the ACC.

This was a back and forth game. Clemson used its size to go ahead early then Pitt pulled ahead by seven in the second half. But they couldn’t stop a Clemson comeback as the Tigers took the lead back with :45 seconds left.

It’s no fun to lose especially when you are finding that you’re a good team, but Pitt isn’t going away. They have a chance at doing something really special.

Hunter Tyson and PJ Hall both finished with 15 points and 10 boards. Jamarius Burton paced Pitt with 28 points.

NC State followed up its big win over Duke with a road win over Virginia Tech. The Wolfpack jumped out to a 13-2 lead and never trailed though the Hokies did cut the lead to four with seven seconds left.

Mike Young’s three-point happy offense struggled: Virginia Tech hit just 5-18 on threes and they have not won since Hunter Cattoor was injured at Boston College, going 0-4 since then.

State’s starting guards Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner finish with 22 and 21 points respectively.

As we expected, Notre Dame was not competitive with UNC. They had no answer for Armando Bacot, who finished wand RJ Davis and Caleb Love had 13 and 18 apiece. Seth Trimble got his first start, filling in for Pete Nance, who is out with a bad back.

Nate Laszewski, who has so often been erratic, finished with 17 points on 7-10 from the floor and added eight rebounds.

It didn’t surprise us that Florida State handled Georgia Tech. It did surprise us that they went with a smaller lineup with Cam Corhen in for 7-4 Naheem McLeod.

Georgia Tech hung around in the first half but in the second, FSU blew it open, building a 22 point lead before taking their foot off the gas a bit.

Lance Terry had 17 to lead the Yellow Jackets. Miles Kelly added 16 and Deebo Coleman had 11.

Matthew Cleveland led FSU with 21.

Florida State is still just 5-11 but they are playing better. There is a massive, six-way tie for third place and while Duke and Virginia hold tie breakers, FSU is currently ahead of NC State and Virginia Tech, and that’s pretty good.

Incidentally, this was Leonard Hamilton’s 600th win, which means that he’s about halfway caught up to Mike Krzyzewski.

Speaking of records, congratulations to Tony Bennett, who is now the winningest coach in Virginia history. With the win over Syracuse, Bennett passed Terry Holland, and Holland was a pretty damn good coach.

Virginia got out to a 23-point lead but the Orange cut that back to seven at the end.

Too little, too late.

It’s nearly impossible to come back against Virginia since they control the pace via defense which also wears down your legs when you get the ball back.

It’s exhausting.

Syracuse had 16 turnovers against Virginia’s stifling D, including four by freshman guard Judah Mintz.

Reece Beekman played but we still don’t really have an idea of how much trouble he’s having with his hamstring, if any at this point. Kihei Clark had 11 assists for UVA.

Syracuse is dangerous but also a mediocre 10-6.

Wake Forest has had some rocky spots this season but they appear to be rounding into a typical Steve Forbes team - fast, free-flowing and tough-minded.

The Deacs never trailed at Louisville and effectively blew the Cardinals out, pushing the lead out to 53-31 with 14:50 to play.

But Louisville, which is now 2-14 and is having a train wreck of a season, made an impressive comeback, cutting the lead to 70-67 with 2:40 to go.

Still wasn’t enough, but for now, showing heart is what the Cardinals need to do. If they keep doing that, they’ll start winning a few.

No games until Tuesday when Notre Dame hosts Georgia Tech and UNC hazards a trip to Charlottesville.

ACC Standings