Story By: Richard Thomas
Photos By: Sol Tucker
As the ACC Tournament rolls on here in D.C, the Blue Devils however will not be with it, but UNC and Notre Dame will. All of the top seeds will move on to play on Friday in what is sure to be some great action at Verizon Center
After barely beating North Carolina State 92-89 in its first tournament game on Wednesday, both Brandon Ingram and Grayson Allen were asked about being tired. If all went according to plan, Duke would play four games in four days. Both said they have a young team and are just excited to play and couldn’t imagine being tired at all.
But as the quarterfinal wore on, the Blue Devils appeared gassed while the Irish gained energy.
“It’s like two different games,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “We just played really well for 28 minutes, then we started missing shots. They obviously were responsible for that too. We missed free throws and I really thought that when we had that double-digit lead, it impacted on our defense, which is what happens with a young group. We’ve had it happen before.
In the earlier game action, UNC had their hands full with Jamie Dixon’s Pitt Panthers, but found a way to make things happen in the second half as the 7th ranked Tar Heels ran for a 88-71 victory and are the likely candidate to win the entire tournament.
Four players scored in double figures as the Tar Heels (26-6) shot 58.9 percent from the floor and pulled away from Pittsburgh (20-11) in front of a boisterous crowd in baby blue at Verizon Center.
Joel Berry II led North Carolina with 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, and Brice Johnson added 19 on 8-of-11 shooting. The Tar Heels will face either No. 19 Notre Dame in the semifinals Friday.
In the night action, Virginia advanced over Georgia Tech making it tough defensively as they started 0 for 4 on field-goal tries, settling for off-balance heaves late in the shot clock. By the end, the Yellow Jackets had 14 turnovers and a shooting percentage of 41 percent.
It was another solid match-up in the night cap where Virginia Tech and Miami took a solid first half battle that could have made it anyone’s game, however Miami guards took charge in the second half and send the Hokies packing.
Game 11: No. 1 North Carolina vs. No. 4 Notre Dame, 7 p.m. (ESPN, WSTM-3)
Game 12: No. 2 Virginia vs. No. 3 Miami, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN, WSTM-3)