11th-seeded Wake Forest beat #6 seed Georgia Tech 114-112 in double overtime
early Friday morning, in a game that dragged on until nearly 1 a.m. and set a
record for total points in an ACC tournament game. With the thrilling win, the
Demon Deacons capped off a day that saw all four lower-seeded teams win. Seeds
5-8 all went down in defeat, while seeds 9-12 advanced to the quarterfinals.
Wake Forest will play third-seeded Virginia Tech in the late game Friday night,
tipping off some time after 9 o’clock.
In a game that featured many twists and turns, the high score produced
numerous heroes for the Deacs, none of whom was a less likely hero than Harvey
Hale. When regulation ended in an 82-82 tie, Hale had just one point on 1-of-3
shooting from the free throw line. By the time the second overtime ended, Hale
had 22 points and had dropped 5-of-6 three-pointers on Georgia Tech, including a
bomb with 28 seconds left in the second overtime that put Wake up 114-111. Wake
elected to foul Georgia Tech’s Thaddeus Young with four seconds left. Young hit
the first free throw and missed the second. GT got the rebound, and Tech’s
Anthony Morrow, who had nailed a three-pointer to tie it at the end of
regulation, couldn’t connect on a 17-footer as time expired.
Wake’s win wasn’t the only overtime contest of the night, as NC State beat
Duke in overtime in the first game of the night session. The two overtime games combined
to push the finish of the Wake/GT game to almost one o’clock in the morning,
which could benefit the Hokies in their Friday night matchup with the Deacs.
Here’s the ACC tournament bracket after day one:
The first day of games silenced the critics who complain that the Thursday
games are bad basketball or unnecessary. Not only did the bottom four seeds win
all four games, but each one was a hard fought thriller decided in the final
minute or even the final possession. The total margin of victory in all four
games was only 13 points.
In the first game of the day, two teams on the bubble battled it out in a
hotly-contested game when #9 seed Florida State beat #8 seed Clemson 67-66.
FSU’s Al Thornton hit one of two free throws with 1.5 seconds left to lift the
Seminoles to the win and keep their NCAA tournament hopes alive.
Thornton was fouled by Clemson’s K.C. Rivers on a questionable call, as
Thornton drove into the lane, slipped, and went down. The referees blew the
whistle on Rivers, and a game that featured 8 ties and 22 lead changes wound up
being settled at the free throw line.
was the star of the game with 25 points and 11 rebounds, both game highs.
Freshman Trevor Booker led Clemson with 18 points, and he narrowly missed a
double-double with nine rebounds. Florida State’s win lifted them to 20-11, with
an RPI of 40 (per RealTimeRPI.com). Clemson fell to 21-10, with an RPI of 45.
In the second game of the afternoon session, downtrodden #12 seed Miami got
the drop on #5 seed Maryland and beat the Terps 67-62. The Hurricanes jumped on
Maryland, the hottest team in the conference coming in, and opened up a lead of
14 points late in the first half. Miami went into the break up 37-24 and made it
stand up in the second half, fighting off a late Maryland push.
The Terrapins closed to within one point, 63-62, on a dunk by James Gist with
23 seconds left, but Miami’s Brian Asbury hit four straight free throws in the
closing seconds for the final margin.
Jack McClinton led the Canes with 17 points, and freshman Dwayne Collins
added 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Maryland was led by Mike Jones with
15, and the Terps doomed themselves by only hitting 3 of 18 three-pointers.
The upsets continued in the night session, with #10 NC State handing #7 Duke
their first first-round loss since 1996, 85-80 in overtime. Duke didn’t have an
answer for N.C. State redshirt freshman Brandon Costner, who scored 30 points on
10-of-17 shooting. State also got a big contribution from team leader Engin
Atsur, who went scoreless in the first half and then poured in 21 points after
Atsur hit a three-pointer with 1:30 to go to put State up 70-68. Duke missed
a three-pointer on their next possession, but got the offensive rebound and
converted a layup by DeMarcus Nelson for a 70-70 tie with 41 seconds left. NC
State got four shots at the basket in the last eight seconds but couldn’t sink
one, and the game went into overtime.
In the extra session, Costner scored seven of State’s 15 points. Costner hit
a layup to put State up 72-70, and he made all five of his free throws in OT.
Duke was led by Greg Paulus with 18 points, and Nelson and Josh McRoberts added
17 (including a nasty dunk in overtime that was the highlight of the game,
despite Duke’s loss).