Duke (4) – 85
Miami (1) – 78
Clemson (3) – 56
Virginia (2) – 76
So. Many. Dukies. Or maybe it just seems that way after every other ACC team from North Carolina took a collective powder in the tournament yesterday, packing up their logo gear and going home.
But 4-seed Duke pummeled 5-seed Pitt yesterday so profoundly that they took Kyle Filipowski out of the game after 15 minutes of play — during which, it should be mentioned, he scored 22 points, 12 of them off 3-pointers. Not too many 7-footers can shoot the three like that. It got so bad that Duke put in No. 55 Spencer Hubbard towards the end, a junior guard who played all of 9 minutes during the regular season. Kid was pumped. Happy for him.
On Friday night against 1-seed Miami, Duke would need those prolific scorers on the floor as long as they could stand to be there.
Early on Duke went up 14-7, then squandered it with a 3-minute scoring drought, allowing for a Miami 9-point run. from there the game transformed into a dogfight, with 12 lead changes in the first half, 10 of them in the last 10 minutes. Play got tough under the boards as refs seemed reluctant to call too may fouls — just 3 for Duke, 6 for Miami — and by the buzzer the Blue Devils were up 41-36.
Teams shot six 3-pointers in the first 7 minutes of the second half, igniting a round of rapid scoring.
Filipowski, who dropped just 6 points in the first, found a counterpart in Miami’s Isaiah Wong, trading scores but not the lead for most of the second half. Wong would finish with 22, 14 of them on the second half, while Filipowski would close out with 17. Unlike the first half, refs seemed to be calling more fouls in the second — by the time there was 5 minutes left, both teams were in the bonus round.
Nobody likes it when a high-stakes basketball game devolves into a free-throw shootout — except for the guy who’s been practicing his free throws. And whole that’s not exactly what happened here, the team with the better percentage — Duke, shooting 84 percent from the free-throw line vs Miami’s 80 percent — won out in a close one. Final score 85-78. With the upset Dule advances to the finals tomorrow.
A lot of people left the Greensboro Coliseum after the first game — maybe a third of the crowd, which was not a full house — leaving swaths of orange of slightly different shades.
Missed shots and lost opportunities marked t he first half of the game between 2-seed Virginia and 3-seed Clemson. After a couple of lead changes on the front end, Virginia settled into a soft lead, maintaining a 3-7 point cushion for most of the rest of the period on strong performances by Armaan Franklin and Jayden Gardner, each dropping 9 in the first, with Gardner adding 5 rebounds. At the 2-minute mark, the Cavaliers stepped on the gas, putting up an 8-0 run to finish at halftime 37-25. Clemson shot just 36 percent from the field.
It would get worse for the Tigers from there.
Clemson came out after the break and missed their first four shots, giving Virginia a 6-point continuation on their run. The Cavaliers kept pouring on, widening their lead to 21 as the Greensboro Coliseum emptied out. At the end, just a few thousand orange-clad ‘Hoos watched their team advance to the finals tomorrow.
Strong play on the Virginia side from Gardner, who would put in 23 points and handle 12 rebounds, with Franklin adding another 14 points.
On the Clemson side, PJ Hall turned in a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but to no avail.
Final score: 76-56.
Tomorrow we’ll see if Duke can bring some salvation — and crowds — to the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, which has seen the last of Greensboro for quite some time.
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