FSU, Pitt, N.C. State and Clemson advance on Thursday of the ACC tournament
Florida State 67, Maryland 65: While other bubble teams like Arkansas and Georgetown likely played their way out of the The Dance in their conference tournaments, Boris Bojanovsky's (12 points, 12 rebounds) dunk with :0.4 to play kept the Seminoles' hopes alive.
Maryland's hot shooting -- particularly from Seth Allen (18 points, 4-of-7 from deep) -- in the first half put the Terps on top after they fell behind early. The 'Noles stormed back with a big run of their own in the second half, but their offense stalled, allowing the Terrapins to get back in it. Dez Wells, who had 18 points of his own, tied the game with two free throws before FSU's final possession ended in the Bojo dunk.
The loss closes the book on Maryland's storied ACC history. The Terps will be playing in the Big Ten next season. While the lawsuits and the handwringing has soured some ACC fans on Maryland in the short term, it's still going to be super weird and not-so-great that the Terrapins will no longer be playing against Duke or UNC or Virginia.
Pittsburgh 84, Wake Forest 55: In a game Pitt desperately needed to have, the Panthers put on a show against the Demon Deacons. Pittsburgh crashed the boards, got in the passing lanes and showed patience against multiple defenses to pretty much get anything it wanted against a Wake team that barely looked like it wanted to be there at all after beating Notre Dame on Wednesday. Lamar Patterson looked like the player that helped the Panthers jump out to 16-1 earlier this season, finishing with 24 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.
Jeff Bzdelik's future with Wake Forest continues to remain in doubt. The fourth-year coach (51-76, 17-51 ACC) finally got the team above .500 to end the season, thanks in part to the 313th ranked non-conference schedule, but the team still wasn't playing consistently good basketball over the course of the season. The Duke, UNC and N.C. State wins are nice in a vacuum, but they aren't enough to ignore the awful effort on the boards, the inability to score for prolonged periods of time, the poor starts to the second half, the horrific conference road record and the bad free throw shooting. Ron Wellman has a decision to make, especially with a large portion of the fan base clamoring for Bzdelik's tenure to end.
N.C. State 67, Miami 58: T.J. Warren and Ralston Turner combined to score 46 points as the Wolfpack moved past the Hurricanes to earn a date with Syracuse on Friday. Warren dazzled with a variety of moves, going 9-of-18 from the floor and adding eight rebounds. The ACC player of the year is good enough to keep State in any game, and he'll have his chances to put up a lot of points if he can find the soft spots in the Syracuse zone.
For Miami and Jim Larrañaga, this year has to be thought of as a net win. With super low expectations and just about every contributor from last year gone, the 'Canes had a winning season and saw players like freshman Davon Reed make big strides. Plus, next year star point guard recruit Ja'Quan Newton out of Philadelphia and shooting guard Deandre Burnett, a top 100 prospect who redshirted this year after a wrist injury, will be in the mix.
Clemson 69, Georgia Tech 65 (OT): This was the quintessential Thursday night late game at the ACC tournament. Very little flow, mistakes, low-scoring, poor shooting, echoes from the empty seats in the upper deck. In other words, it was pretty much the ideal script Clemson would have written up before the game, aside from that whole overtime thing. The Tigers got to 20 wins this year on the strength of their defense and on the stellar play of K.J. McDaniels. But Clemson was never really good enough in games when McDaniels didn't play well -- except against Georgia Tech. The junior shot just 33.3 percent in the two regular season meetings against the Yellow Jackets, and he was 4-of-15 with 18 points and five turnovers on Thursday. With him pressing, the Tigers' offense stalled far too often, and that allowed GT to take a big lead in the second half. But Clemson got to the line frequently and made enough of its free throws to force overtime and steal a win in bonus time. The Tigers will play Duke on Friday.