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ACC Notebook

January 21, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Atlantic Coast Conference Notebook

by Michael Protos

Hottest Item On ACC Menu is the Upset Special

Last week, the ACC featured ten games with several pivotal match-ups that had the potential to change the course of history (or at least for the 2002-03 campaign for conference champion). No. 1 Duke versus No. 16 Maryland. No. 20 Wake Forest versus Maryland. Clemson versus Virginia? Two non-conference games filled out the weekly schedule, both were upsets as Boston College knocked off NC State in Raleigh and North Carolina ambushed Connecticut in Chapel Hill.

Some people prefer to save the best for last, but let’s dive right into the biggest, juiciest upset of the week. Having defeated everybody this season, Duke entered each game favored, including Saturday’s 87-72 defeat in the brand new Comcast Center at Maryland. The Terrapins gave the Blue Devils the special tour of the facility, complete with a second-half thrashing as the home team outscored the visitors 50-29.

Senior forward Ryan Randle led the charge for Maryland by scoring 15 points, but more significantly, collecting 17 rebounds. Duke’s entire team gathered only 26 rebounds in comparison to Maryland’s 40 rebounds. Another point of concern on Duke’s stat sheet was a dismal 45 percent free throwing shooting percentage.

The key to stopping the Blue Devils was stopping their freshmen. Freshman guard J.J. Redick led the freshmen with 13 points. That’s eight more points than any other freshman on the team. Senior guard Dahntay Jones contributed 26 points in the losing effort.

Maryland’s senior leaders provided the push necessary to end Duke’s 12 game winning streak. Guard Drew Nicholas scored 24 points, forward Tahj Holden added 10 points and guard Steve Blake turned a solid performance with 8 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Not bad for a single day’s work.

And so with the victory Maryland sits atop the ACC standings at 3-1. The Terps share that position with the recently-vanquished Blue Devils. The Terps play a pair of key road games this coming week, including a visit to Clemson, which upset Virginia 78-77 Saturday, and a date in Chapel Hill against the Tar Heels.

Whose House? Heels’ house?

The North Carolina Tar Heels hosted No. 6 Connecticut Saturday in one of the team’s last non-conference games of the year. The Heels sprinted out to a 20-3 lead in the first few minutes, decimating the Huskies with a barrage of three-pointers. North Carolina nursed the lead for the rest of the game, trying to stave off a grinding comeback by Connecticut. The Huskies out-rebounded the Heels by seven and wrested the lead away from North Carolina with under two minutes to go. But freshman forward Rashad McCants led the Heels to victory by scoring 27 points, including two crucial free throws near the end of the game to stretch the lead to three. Connecticut’s last ditch effort failed and the Huskies fell in Chapel Hill 68-65.

Terps Lose Game (and Temper) to Wake Forest

Maryland battled from a 20-point deficit to make a game of it, only to fall to the Demon Deacons 81-72 in Winston-Salem. But the game turned ugly when coach Gary Williams and senior guard Steve Blake each received technical fouls in the second half. Gary Williams said that referee Doug Shows made threatening comments to the team, including an allusion to a future meeting this week.

In response, the ACC suspended the referee, not Williams. Shows will miss his next scheduled appearance. The official word from the league office is that Shows’ error was the “mishandling of a game management situation.” In laymen’s terms, he messed up and now must suffer the consequences for his actions. Williams joins Virginia coach Pete Gillen as the second ACC coach to openly criticize league referees in the past month. Like Gillen, Williams offered an apology to the entire ACC after his outburst and the league accepted his apology. Now everyone hug and kiss and let’s try to avoid any more arguments the rest of the way.

Yellow Jackets Capture Disgruntled Wildcat

Georgia Tech can add another talented guard to their lineup, but his services will not be available until December. No. 2 Arizona guard Will Bynum transferred to Georgia Tech and started classes last week. Bynum averaged nearly eight points a game for Arizona this season, but was unhappy playing a small role on a deep Wildcat team.

Conference Summary

As of Monday, Jan. 20, Duke (12-1) and Maryland (10-4) share a 3-1 record atop the ACC. Three other teams sit at 2-1: NC State (9-4), Wake Forest (12-1) and North Carolina (11-5). Filling out the conference standings are Georgia Tech (2-2, 8-6), Clemson (1-2, 11-2), Virginia (1-3, 10-5) and Florida State (0-4, 9-6).

ACC Player of the Week:

Wake Forest senior forward Josh Howard delivered two outstanding performances to support his campaign for ACC Most Valuable Player. This week, he averaged 26.5 points and 7 rebounds in two important home wins against No. 16 Maryland and Georgia Tech.

ACC Rookie of the Week:

The ACC rookies had another big week, but North Carolina guard Rashad McCants was most impressive in his team’s victory over No. 6 Connecticut. For the week, he averaged 23.5 points and 5 rebounds.


ACC Coach Watch:

How will Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski adjust the game plan following a loss at Maryland? Duke plays two games this week – Wednesday night at NC State and Saturday versus Georgia Tech.

Weekly Schedule:

There are ten games this coming week for ACC teams. Virginia and Georgia Tech play non-conference games, Virginia Tech and Elon University, respectively. The most noteworthy conference game this week sends Maryland, fresh off its victory over Duke, down south to face North Carolina, fresh off its victory over Connecticut. Think the Dean E. Smith Center will be loud? Something has got to give.

Wednesday: North Carolina vs. Maryland
Wednesday: NC State vs. Duke
Thursday: Virginia vs. Wake Forest
Saturday: Duke vs. Georgia Tech
Sunday: NC State vs. North Carolina

     

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