Posted: 3:44 a.m. Friday, March 15, 2013
It was an unusually entertaining first round from Greensboro. After a slow start which suggested BC wasn’t ready for the ACC Tournament, the Eaglets, led by an extraordinary game from freshman Olivier Hanlan, who scored 41 points on 14-18 from the floor, roared back and won by 20.
Have we ever seen a 34 point swing in a tournament game? Surely we must have, at some point, but from such a young team? The Eaglets are now fledglings!
Shooting 77.7% is an astounding feat for anyone, let alone a freshman. It’s not like hit three out of four. He also shot 80% from the line (8-10).
The Rookie Of The Year award certainly seems justified.
State, apparently set on making a few points in the Coliseum, took it to Virginia Tech. State had their normal good offensive distribution – Richard Howell had 22, CJ Leslie 15, and Scott Wood and TJ Warren 13.
Lorenzo Brown had just nine but on the other hand he had 12 assists and held Virginia Tech’s remarkable Erick Green to 15 points on just 5-19 from the floor.
On WRAL’s 11:30 news, State made it clear that they were cracking down on defense now and that they had a score to settle with Virginia.
Here’s the problem with that, and we’re not saying they can’t do it. However: Virginia has been playing great defense all year; a lapse is the exception there.
What Richard Howell and his mates were talking about as an advancement is habit for other teams. You can’t develop a habit over a weekend, at least not a legal one.
Still, they do look imposing.
For part of the game against Maryland, Wake looked as if they had learned (and remembered) their lessons.
The first half is still just half, and in the second, they began to throw passes to the benches, to charge the basket without a backup plan.
In other words, they more or less literally tossed the game away.
It was a shame, too, because in the first half, they ran Jeff Bzdelik’s system beautifully: great ball movement, lots of open, easy shots, beautiful interior passing.
For Wake, wrapping up at 13-18, it’s a disappointing season. Fans are calling for Bzdelik’s head, and they do make some fair points.
However, what we see is a team which had a number of problem players, all of whom are gone, who, like BC, is building around a strong freshman class which should continue to get better as time goes on.
There were, by our count, seven games this year they let get away. Whoever coaches them next year, they’ll be more experienced. They’ll win a number of those. We look forward to seeing Wake continuing to improve.
At halftime, Rodney Rogers, now paralyzed from his ATV accident, was honored.
Someone said – we don’t remember who – that no one really disliked him, and that’s true. Rogers really represents the best of Durham: he’s friendly, open, kind-natured, hard-working, but he’s not going to take crap off of you or anybody else and if you didn’t figure it out, he’d be happy to let you know in his own way.
What struck us in this moment though was the intimacy of it. The fans all knew him; the newer members less so perhaps, but he is part of the family. Like Dean Smith today, we don’t linger on the controversies and angry flare-ups of the past but rather worry about our old neighbor and his sad decline.
Same for Rogers. There was a lot of love for him in that building Thursday night.
With Syracuse, Louisville, Pitt and Notre Dame on the way, a lot of people might be somewhat polite, but it’s not their family member, you know? The intimacy is gone. And that’s a shame.
For the most part, Clemson and Florida State presented an offensive wasteland, which many people likely tuned out.
It was the late game, and no one could shoot. Why bother?
Yet with 1:16, Clemson cut the lead to 68-60. Then weird stuff started happening.
Jennings was fouled and split his free throws. Then Jordan Roper was fouled on a three point shot. He could’ve cut the lead to four, but missed his last two.
Then Rob Hall split on a pair of free throws to make it 68-63. Toss in the four misses and it’s a one-point game. But as we said: wasteland.
Still, in a near miracle, Devin Booker hit a clutch three and cut the score to 71-69.
Clemson couldn’t close it though, and two missed dunks in the first half didn’t help either.
So Friday, in the bye round, we get BC vs. Miami, State vs. Virginia, Maryland vs. Duke, and FSU vs. UNC.
We would repeat our standing suggestion to the ACC: on opening day, if people aren’t going to use their tickets, let kids come in and have the seats. You could even tie to to good grades and make it a reward for school achievement.