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ACC Roundup - Shocker In Chapel Hill

And almost as shocking as the upset itself was how unprepared UNC was for Clemson

Clemson v North Carolina
CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 06: PJ Hall #24 of the Clemson Tigers catches an entry pass against James Okonkwo #32 of the North Carolina Tar Heels in the second half at the Dean E. Smith Center on February 06, 2024 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Clemson won 80-76.
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

In Tuesday’s ACC Action, Florida State nipped BC 63-62, Wake Forest destroyed Georgia Tech 80-51 and Clemson moved to 2-60 lifetime in Chapel Hill, 80-76.

Clemson played a brilliant game for the most part, going up 15-2 and taking a 43-34 lead into halftime.

UNC took a while to mount its comeback and kept getting close, only to see the Tigers pull back ahead.

The Tar Heels finally caught up at 70-70 only to see Clemson move back in front again, rebuilding a 78-72 lead with :24 left.

PJ Hall made the sort of disastrous turnover that doomed so many Clemson teams in Chapel Hill over the years, making a foolish pass with a five point lead after an Armando Bacot free throw. But RJ Davis missed a shot and Hall hit a pair of free throws to make up for his awful pass. And while Davis hit a three with three seconds left, it was too little too late.

For Clemson, it was a huge win that will boost their tournament resumé. For UNC, it’s a train wreck.

This was a train wreck in more ways than one.

One final word here: we’ve long thought Hall was one of the good guys. When Harrison Ingram appeared to be injured, Hall got down next to him and expressed genuine concern. We all see him from a distance and it could all be fake, but we don’t think it is. He just seems like a very decent person. His parents should be proud.

We thought Wake Forest should be at an advantage over the Yellow Jackets but we didn't expect this much of one. The Deacs just crushed Tech from the beginning, going up 23-3 and later 61-27. Get this - Georgia Tech started off 1-24 from the floor.

It was a laugher, a rout, a root canal for the Yellow Jackets.

It was also Wake’s second-straight 29 point win following the last one over Syracuse.

Considering the magnitude of the beatdown, it’s impressive that Tech managed to hit 28.3 percent (17-60) but just 3-24 from behind the line. And imagine how bad it could have been if they had sucked from the free throw line where Georgia Tech hit 14-19.

Thing is with a spread like this you’d kind of expect Wake to have shot lights out and they really didn’t. The Demon Deacons managed 46 percent and hit just 5-21 on threes. But nonetheless it was a serious beating and, along with Virginia and Clemson, their tournament chances, seen as very slim recently, are going back up.

All five starters finished in double figures and Damari Monsanto got there off the bench.

Tech’s best players are freshmen Naithan George and Baye Ndongo, and they were the only ones to score more than eight points.

After the disaster, Tech coach Damon Stoudamire said this: “I could use the excuse of being flat, but I’m going to say we just didn’t come ready to play. It’s a make-or-miss game, so you’re going to make shots, you’re going to miss shots, but that doesn’t mean you don’t play hard. And I just didn’t think we played hard collectively.”

That’s a safe assumption.

What we like about Boston College is the grit and never-say-die attitude and we got more of that against Florida State Tuesday night.

FSU ran out to a 16-2 lead every winning team had at least a 15-2 lead Tuesday night - and while Boston College fought back, it was never quite enough to take the lead.

Even so, they were in position to win the game with time running down when Cam Corhen knocked the ball away from Jaeden Zackery before he could get off a game winner.

Interestingly, with two grind-it-out defenses, only 10 foul shots were taken the entire game. Boston College dominated the boards but had 15 turnovers.

After the carnage, Florida State and Wake Forest are in a three-way tie for fourth place with NC State, while Clemson improves to 5-6 for a four-way tie for eighth.

One of those teams is Syracuse, where Adrian Autry dismissed forward Benny Williams from the team Tuesday. No explanation was given but this may have had something to do with it. Or maybe it’s this. Or maybe it’s just an accumulation of things and Autry had had enough.

Whatever it was, Syracuse is much smaller now and that’s going to make life more difficult.

Okay, as for Wednesday, Syracuse hosts Louisville and Pitt visits the Pack. We’d still take the ‘Cuse but the other game? We’ll go with State, but that’s a tough call.

Wednesday’s ACC Action

  • Louisville @ Syracuse || 7:00 || ACCN
  • Pitt @ NC State || 7:00 || ESPNU
  • Notre Dame @ Duke || 9:00 || ACCN

ACC Standings