Around the ACC: Hokies Roll Against Tar Heels

Justin Robinson (5) led Virginia Tech with 19 points in an 80-69 upset of No. 10 North Carolina. (Ivan Morozov)

Virginia Tech was facing what was essentially a must-win game following a recent slump, and the Hokies came through in a big way. Justin Robinson led Tech in scoring with 19 points. Ahmed Hill finished with 18 and Kerry Blackshear Jr. pitched in 16.

The major difference for the Hokies (14-6, 3-4) came on the defensive end. Tech out-rebounded Carolina on defense 26 to 25 and 36 to 35 overall. The Hokies also limited the Tar Heels to just 10-31 (32.3%) shooting from outside after entering the game dead last in ACC-play in three-point defense.

The Hokies have four days of rest before a road trip to Notre Dame.

For North Carolina (16-5, 5-3) there were two standout performances. Luke Maye finished with 23 points and nine rebounds while Joel Berry II also scored 23 points with seven rebounds. Outside of those two however, no Tar Heel scored more than five points.

The always entertaining Roy Williams had no shortage of candor in his postgame comments.

“I feel the same way right now I felt the last time I was in Virginia. The University of Virginia kicked our rear ends and I felt like that tonight. I think Buzz had his team much more ready to play than I had my team. They were much more aggressive physically and mentally in everything they were doing.”

When asked about the team’s effort, Roy took the blame.

“We have some issues and that’s my responsibility. I used to say that I shouldn’t have to coach effort and intensity. But I’m trying to coach that and not doing a very good job of it.”

With four days off before a home game against rival NC State, it sounds like Williams will have one of his infamous trash can practices where he runs the team until, well, they evacuate the contents of their stomachs.


News & Notes from around the ACC

It’s not terribly surprising that Irish coach Mike Brey had the above quote given that Colson is just a few weeks removed from suffering a broken left foot in a win over Georgia Tech. Since then however, Notre Dame has struggled to a 2-4 record including a loss to the Yellow Jackets the second time around.

Saturday’s game against Virginia Tech will feature two of the five teams with 3-4 ACC records. Whichever team can break free from the logjam in the standings will have vital momentum for the stretch run.

Everyone was sick at the news that Clemson senior Donte Grantham will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL, Tigers and rivals alike. Grantham’s excellent season (14.2 PPG) and his Clemson career are over. That’s bad enough but now without its second leading scorer and rebounder, the Tigers likely feel uneasy despite a No. 18 ranking and 16-3 overall record.

Grantham was the unquestioned leader of the team, and while he can still be that on the bench, they need someone (or several someones) to lead on the court. They’ll learn a lot about who that might be Tuesday night at No. 2 Virginia.

Follow me on Twitter @BestCates and follow @InsideTheACC for more Atlantic Coast Conference coverage.


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