Behind a masterful display of ball security and double-figure scoring from all three of its starting guards, the Virginia men’s basketball team defeated North Carolina, 71-63, to win the ACC tournament championship game Saturday night at Barclays Center.
The top-seeded Cavaliers (31-2) claimed their third ACC tournament title and second in the past five seasons under Coach Tony Bennett to secure an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Guards Kyle Guy (16 points), Devon Hall (15) and Ty Jerome (12) combined to score 43 points, and with the ball in those players’ hands for the majority of the game, Virginia committed just four turnovers. The win gave the Cavaliers a single-season school record for victories.
“It’s a good thing to enjoy a moment like this,” Bennett said. “If you can’t enjoy this, being with this group of guys and seeing their heart, and we weren’t perfect, but we battled. To win the regular season and to win this means a lot. We know it comes from the hard work from a lot of people around us.” — Gene Wang (Read more)
Skinny: The Virginia men’s basketball team received timely offensive contributions from one unlikely source and highlight reel moments from a top reserve on the way to outlasting Clemson. Starting center Jack Salt scored eight points, more than double his season average, and forward Mamadi Diakite came off the bench to spark a 10-0 run early in the second half that allowed the Cavaliers to gain a working margin on the way to their ninth appearance in the tournament final.
Top-seeded Virginia (30-2), which also got a team-high 15 points from guard Kyle Guy, faces either No. 2 seed Duke or sixth-seeded North Carolina on Saturday night in the Cavaliers’ third ACC tournament final berth in five years.
Skinny: Luke Maye scored 17 points, including North Carolina’s last field goal with 5:33 remaining, and No. 12 North Carolina held off a late rally by No. 5 Duke to advance to the ACC Tournament championship game with a 74-69 victory on Friday night. The sixth-seeded Tar Heels (25-9) will face top-seeded and top-ranked Virginia on Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn in a rematch of the 2016 ACC championship, won by North Carolina. North Carolina led by 15 when Maye hit a jumper with 5:33 left and it looked as if it would cruise into the title game. But the Tar Heels went cold and second-seeded Duke went on a 13-0 run, drawing within three on Gray Trent Jr.’s three-pointer with 50 seconds left.— Associated Press
Skinny: This time the Virginia men’s basketball team didn’t need five points in less than a second to complete a victory over Louisville. The Cavaliers instead removed much of the late-game drama with stifling defense down the stretch at Barclays Center Thursday afternoon. Top-seeded Virginia advanced to play the winner of Thursday’s second game, between No. 12 seed Boston College and No. 4 Clemson, on Friday night. To get to the semifinals, the Cavaliers closed the game on 19-6 run, during which they held Louisville to one field goal over nearly nine minutes. Kyle Guy finished with a game-high 19 points while wearing a brace on his left knee to protect a sprained medial collateral ligament. — Gene Wang
Skinny: The Eagles’ surprising run came to an end in a quarterfinal loss to the Tigers. Senior guard Gabe DeVoe scored 25 points to pace Clemson, while junior Shelton Mitchell added 21. The Tigers’ reward for the win? A semifinal date with the No. 1 team in the country, Virginia.
Skinny: Marvin Bagley III and Grayson Allen combined for 56 points while Bagley added 17 rebounds in a dominant Duke win over Notre Dame. The Blue Devils ran away with it in the second half, as Bagley (15-of-23 shooting) carried the conference’s second seed to a semifinal berth. Bonzie Colson went for 18 points and nine rebounds in his final conference action for the Fighting Irish.
Skinny: Another classic matchup was probably inevitable, and with its win over the Hurricanes Thursday night, North Carolina will get to lock horns with Duke one more time in the ACC Tournament semifinals. The Tar Heels overcame a brutal start in which they fell behind 14-0 before taking complete control and running away from Miami, outscoring the Canes 50-34 in the second half. Senior forward Theo Pinson led North Carolina with 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting, and 11 rebounds.
SECOND ROUND (Wednesday, March 7)
Skinny: Quentin Snider scored 19 points, and the Cardinals led by as many as 26 points in the second half before hanging on to beat the Seminoles. Ray Spalding added 18 points and Deng Adel had 15 points and eight rebounds for Louisville, which is firmly on the bubble for the NCAA tournament. Florida State, which had won at least one game in the ACC tournament in each of the past six seasons, got a team-high 14 points each from reserve guards Trent Forrest and PJ Savoy.
Skinny: Jerome Robinson made a pull-up jumper with 18 seconds left to break a tie, and then forced a turnover on an inbounds play moments later, and the Eagles upset the Wolfpack.Robinson scored 26 points and fellow North Carolinian Ky Bowman had 24 in the win. North Carolina State wiped out a double-digit deficit in the final 10 minutes and tied it five times down the stretch but couldn’t finish its comeback. The Wolfpack is still in fine shape for an at-large NCAA bid. — Associated Press
Skinny: Not even a 21-point lead in the second half proved enough for the Hokies to avoid a stunning collapse against the Fighting Irish. That the 71-65 loss unfolded in the second round of the ACC tournament had seventh-seeded Virginia Tech (21-11) smarting all the more, leaving players and Coach Buzz Williams heading back to Blacksburg, Va., with their NCAA tournament seeding almost certain to suffer on the heels of the early exit at Barclays Center. No. 10 seed Notre Dame (20-13), meanwhile, continued to make the case it belongs in the field of 68 thanks to a fourth win in five games. — Associated Press
Skinny: Theo Pinson had 16 points, 11 rebounds and six assists and Kenny Williams scored 17 points as the 12th-ranked Tar Heels beat the Orange on Thursday night to advance to the quarterfinals. The defending NCAA tournament champions will face third-seeded Miami on Thursday. The Tar Heels improved to 7-1 against Syracuse since the Orange joined the ACC and ended a two-game losing streak. By losing the last two regular season games, North Carolina slipped out of double-bye position in the ACC standings to the sixth seed. — Associated Press
FIRST ROUND (Tuesday, March 6)
Skinny: Ky Bowman had 26 points, 10 rebounds and six assists as Boston College won the tournament’s opening game in front of what the Associated Press described as “a sparse crowd.” The Eagles never trailed in the game, also getting a career-high 20 points from sophomore forward Nik Popovic and 19 points from Jerome Robinson. The Eagles led by as many as 20 points in the second half before closing out the win from the free throw line. Boston College’s last three ACC tournament victories have all come over Georgia Tech, which finished 13-19. Boston College (18-14) will play N.C. State on Wednesday.
Skinny: Bonzie Colson scored 19 points in his third game back from injury, and the Fighting Irish needed their star forward to hold off the last-place Panthers, 67-64 in their tournament opener. Colson made two from the line with 22.3 seconds left that all but gave Notre Dame the breathing room it needed. Colson missed 15 games with a broken left foot before returning last week to play the final two games of the regular season; the Irish are now 13-4 with Colson in the lineup. Notre Dame still needs a good showing at Barclays Center to possibly secure an NCAA tournament bid. — Associated Press
Skinny: Freshman forward Marek Dolezaj scored a career-high 20 points and the Orange won its first-ever ACC tournament game, beating the Demon Deacons, 73-64. Tyus Battle had 18 points and Paschal Chukwu added 14 points and nine rebounds as all five starters scored in double figures for 11th-seeded Syracuse, which hopes an impressive performance in Brooklyn will get them off the bubble and into the NCAA tournament. Wake Forest dropped to 1-7 all-time against Syracuse with the loss. It was the first postseason meeting between the schools. — Associated Press
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