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ACC Roundup - Too Bad Virginia Tech Can’t Defend Like Boston College

BC’s defense against Clemson was simply brilliant.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 31 Clemson at Boston College
CHESTNUT HILL, MA - JANUARY 31: Boston College Eagles forward T.J. Bickerstaff (1) drives past Clemson Tigers center PJ Hall (24) during the college basketball game between Clemson Tigers and Boston College Eagles on January 31, 2023, at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, MA.
Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

You have to say this. It’s not like he’s radically transformed BC’s record yet, but has Earl Grant made Boston College more competitive?

Oh, yes. Yes, he has.

Latest evidence: BC’s upset win over Clemson Tuesday night.

The Eagles started slow, falling behind 10-4. But Boston College kept coming went in front 27-23 with 2:29 left to play in the first half.

And this next part hasn't happened lately - they were dominant in the second half. Clemson managed to tie the game at 45-45 with 7:42 left, but the Eagles just popped right back in front, ultimately winning 62-54.

BC limited Clemson to 30.8 from the floor and PJ Hall was just 3-12. Only Hunter Tyson was close to .500 with 6-13.

Clemson also had 17 turnovers, which didn’t help.

For his part, Earl Grant talked about building a culture. Here’s what he said: “I just tell the guys that we’re just trying to build something. You are what you repeatedly do. You build habits.”

Those habits are starting to pay off. Check this out: Boston College didn't allow Clemson a single basket from the 13:16 mark to the :17 mark. That’s rather extraordinary, not least of all from a team that’s under .500. We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: you need to keep an eye on Earl Grant’s BC.

Normally, if you shot 41.2 percent from three point range, 56.9 overall and 90 percent from the line, you’d feel pretty good about things.

Not Virginia Tech.

The Hokies followed up two wins over Duke and Syracuse, and a last-second one point loss to Clemson, with giving up 92 points to Miami.

And a lot of it was because of Nijel Pack.

Pack scored 17 points in a five-minute span to help shoot down the Hokies late. Norchad Omier was load again with 21 points on 9-12 from the floor and also had eight boards.

Isaiah Wong had 18 and Jordan Miller tossed in 14.

Miami shot nearly 60 percent from the floor and hit 8-19 on threes. And it nearly matched Virginia Tech’s 90 percent from the line with 82 percent (14-17).

You don’t need extensive coaching experience to know that defense lost this game for Virginia Tech. The game was tied at 76-76 with 4:16 left. Pack got loose for eight points in 1:10. Obviously he’s dangerous, but he’d already ripped off nine late points. It’s not like they weren’t trying, obviously, but Pack just killed the Hokies in that stretch.

With the loss, Virginia Tech falls to 13-9 and is not really even on the bubble now. No one thought that could happen.

Then again, no one thought Clemson would be in first place in February either.

Wednesday is a busy day with three games: UNC gets Pitt at home, Georgia Tech offers Louisville a shot at an ACC win in the Yum! Center and Florida State stops off in Raleigh where the teams records are exactly opposite: 7-15 and 15-7.

Wednesday’s ACC Action

  • Pitt vs. UNC || 7:00 PM || ACCN
  • Georgia Tech vs. Louisville || 7:00 PM || ACCNX
  • Florida State vs. NC State || 9:00 PM || ACCN

ACC Standings