By: Joe Dillard Jr.
Headline Photo Credit: Bob Donnan-USA Today
The first game of the day was everything a tournament is supposed to provide. High-scoring basketball and the excitement down to the end of the game where number 8 seed Syracuse took on number 9 seed Wake Forest. Forward Bobi Klintman had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds while guard Tyree Appleby played the whole game and tallied a double-double with 15 points and 12 assists Daivien Williamson hits the game-winning three finishing with 17 points giving Wake Forest the 77-74 win. Wake Forest advances to play number-one seed Miami for a trip to the semi-finals. Who would have known that this would be Jim Boeheim’s last game? After 47 seasons coach steps down as coach of Syracuse University. Boeheim went 1,014-441 which reflects the 101 games taken away from him during the 04-07 years and 10-12 seasons. A legend that was a true staple in college basketball.
The second game had a tough 5-seed Pittsburgh Panthers pound the ball and attack the rim with the team shooting over 55% for the whole game and having a great first half leading by 13 points 44 to 31. 13-seed Georgia Tech tried to speed the game up as they had 11 more attempts than Pitt however the efficient night of the Panthers had the Yellow Jackets fall short of the comeback as they lost by 8 points 89 to 81. Pitt was led by All-ACC stud Jarmarius Burton with 21 points and 8 assists. The post was dominated by Center Federiko Federiko with 19 points and 9 rebounds and forward Blake Henson with 12 points and 9 rebounds. All 5 Panthers were in double figures scoring and will need to bring that effort against the fourth-seed Duke Blue Devils for a chance to advance to the semi-final round.
In the third game of the night the University of North Carolina essentially had a home game where the crowd was filled with Carolina Blue and the energy was electric as the postseason has arrived for the Tarheels as they need to win a couple to secure a spot for the NCAA tournament. Carolina came out firing on all cylinders going 11-17 and 4 of 7 from three-point land to start the game with a 28-14 lead with just under 9 minutes. In the first half, the Tarheels were completing defensive possessions defending thru the full shot clock and were on fire from three-point land going 7-11. The Tarheels capitalized on the turnovers converting 12 points off 6 turnovers. After what appeared to be an ankle injury to Armando Bacot, Carolina went on a drought and the flames had cooled down by the end of the half as they led 43 to 29 going into the half. Stat line with the analysis of the first half numbers. The second half started with Carolina imposing their will on Boston College. In the blink of an eye or 5 minutes in the second half, the Tarheels were on a 12-2 run to expand the lead to 55-31. The Tarheels looked like a different team coming off a season-ending home loss against rival Duke. They shared the ball defended and shot well as they defeated Boston College. They will need to bring that as they advance to play the second-seed Virginia Cavaliers.
On the Nightcap of the second round of the ACC Men’s Championship, number 11 seed Virginia Tech Hokies who advanced against number 14 seed Notre Dame had no answer for the number 6 seed N.C. State Wolfpack also has the feel of a home game with a sea of red pouring in right after the UNC fans left. Terquavion Smith and Jarkel Joiner went off for a combined 50 points while the game was almost over at half with the pack leading 53 to 26. This commanding win means there will be a new ACC tournament Champion while the Pack sent the Hokies home 97 to 77 defeat. Clemson awaits the Wolfpack as they will play for the right to a semi-final appearance. The state of North Carolina is 3-0 so far and with 4 teams left from the state, I think they are all wishing to see one another to create an electric atmosphere.