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ACC Basketball Game Stories, Jan. 11

Saturday, January 11, 2014 6:11pm
  • Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail/Mark Crammer)
     Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame (AP Photo/Anderson Independent-Mail/Mark Crammer)

Check here for game stories from all the ACC basketball action on Saturday. Now that we're conference play, stories will be listed in alphabetical order, by which ACC team won the game.

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Boston College edges Virginia Tech 62-59 

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - When Boston College coach Steve Donahue put together his team's pre-conference schedule before the season, he expected his team to incur its fair share of difficulties, but he also expected it to pay off down the road.

It finally paid off on Saturday.

The Eagles traveled to Southwest Virginia and continued their recent mastery of the Virginia Tech Hokies, getting a Lonnie Jackson 3-pointer with 27.4 seconds left and holding on for a 62-59 win over the Hokies.

BC (5-11, 1-2 ACC) has played the fourth-toughest schedule in the nation according to ESPN's daily Ratings Percentage Index (RPI), and the Eagles have seen players like Jackson (hamstring) and center Dennis Clifford (knee) miss time because of injuries.

But the Eagles snapped a four-game losing streak. BC, which also had lost seven of its previous eight games, beat Virginia Tech for the sixth time in the past seven meetings, including three times in Blacksburg.

"I can't even put into words the way things have gone this year and the way guys have stayed with it with a positive attitude," Donahue said. "I said this when I did the schedule that I thought it was going to benefit us at some point, and I thought you saw that today."

The Eagles led for much of the game, but never by more than five points. And a team that had lost four games by four points or less appeared to be on the brink of letting another one slip away.

Virginia Tech (8-7, 1-2) took a 59-58 lead on a 3-pointer by C.J. Barksdale with 1:36 remaining. BC's Olivier Hanlan turned the ball over on the Eagles' next possession, but the Hokies couldn't take advantage, as Jarell Eddie missed a 3-pointer with 47 seconds left.

BC then called a timeout with 33 seconds to go. After the timeout, Jackson got a good look from the left wing and hit the 3-pointer to give the Eagles a 61-59 edge with 27.4 seconds remaining.

"Coach drew up a nice play, and I was just trying to get it up on the hoop," Jackson said. "I did a one-dribble pull-up to the left. I've been practicing that shot, and I just let it go and it went in."

The points marked Jackson's only points of the second half.

"If you had told me that before the timeout, I might have changed my mind," Donahue joked. "I looked in his eye. I know he wanted it."

Virginia Tech got the ball up the court quickly and called a timeout with 22.8 seconds left. The Hokies ran the clock down before getting the ball into the hands of guard Adam Smith, who took a jumper from the baseline that came up short with two seconds to go.

BC's Joe Rahon got the rebound, and Smith fouled Rahon with a second remaining. Rahon made the first free throw, but missed the second one. Eddie got the rebound for the Hokies and time expired.

Jackson - who missed BC's first three games this season with a hamstring injury and had scored in double figures just once this season - came into the game averaging just 4.4 points per game. But he led BC with 17 points, hitting 6 of 11 from the floor, including five 3-pointers. Hanlan added 14.

"I've been doing this for two years now," Jackson said. "I've started a lot of games. I was injured at the beginning of the season. I missed three games and I'm just now starting to hit my groove. I'm thankful my body is starting to respond and I'm feeling better. I know what I can do. I'm ready now."

BC sent the Hokies to their fourth loss in the past five games, and in none of the four losses have the Hokies scored 60 points. Virginia Tech shot just 28.6 percent in the second half (8 of 28) and 35.1 percent for the game (20 of 57). The Hokies also missed nine free throws.

"We had looks, but we just haven't been shooting the ball well lately," Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said. "We need to start making some shots. We left a lot of points out there - layups, open shots, free throws. We left a lot of points out there."

Smith led the Hokies with 12 points, and Barksdale added 11. Eddie, Virginia Tech's leading scorer at 16.6 points per game, scored 10 for the Hokies, but made just 3 of 14 from the floor.

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McDaniels' 24 shoot down No. 16 Duke 72-59 

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Jaron Blossomgame feels he's finally ready to make an impact for Clemson. Beating No. 16 Duke was a great way to start.

Blossomgame had career highs of 14 points and 14 rebounds, plus hit two critical 3-pointers to move the Tigers in front for a 72-59 winSaturday, sending the Blue Devils to their first 1-2 Atlantic Coast Conference start in seven years.

Blossomgame was one of the Tigers' most highly regarded recruits two years ago, but missed his freshman season after breaking a leg. He had a second surgery on that this summer and the 6-foot-7 freshman has taken his time this season finding his way.

"This is big day for me, my breakout game," Blossomgame said. "I've had a rough start, but I'm trying to get back into the flow of things."

His big shots helped turn Duke's 10-point first-half lead into a Clemson runaway.

Blossomgame's 3-pointer with 9:27 left put the Tigers (11-4, 2-1 ACC) out front, 52-50, for the first time since the game's early moments. With the game tied at 54-all moments later, Blossomgame struck from left corner to give Clemson the lead for good.

Quinn Cook's three with 6:20 to go cut Clemson's lead to 59-57, but the Blue Devils (12-4, 1-2) managed only two foul shots the rest of the way to end a five-game win streak over the Tigers.

K.J. McDaniels had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Clemson. Landry Nnoko also had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Nnoko had four of the team's seven blocks while McDaniels had the rest.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Blossomgame's shooting "definitely turned the tide in their favor."

Rodney Hood led the Blue Devils with 20 points. Jabari Parker, who had Blossomgame guarding him much of the game, scored 15 points, only five after halftime.

"We're not some powerhouse," Krzyzewski said. "We need to get a lot better.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell was angry with his team at halftime because they didn't attack the basket the way he'd hoped. "He kind of got at me and made more aggressive than I had been," said Rod Hall, who had 11 points in the second half for Clemson.

Hall pushed the pace right after halftime, scoring on three driving layups to as Clemson cut into what had been a 10-point Duke lead.

Duke also lost its shooting touch. The Blue Devils made just eight of 32 shots in the second half and could not keep up with Clemson's defense.

"The longer the game went on I think we convinced ourself that we could win the game," Brownell said.

Blossomgame bettered his career marks of nine points set against Massachusetts and nine rebounds set against Davidson, both games coming last month at the Charleston Classic.

Duke entered the week with its lowest ranking in six years and rebounded with a 79-57 victory at home over Georgia Tech on Tuesday night. But the Blue Devils were back on the road where prized freshman Parker struggled in 79-77 loss at Notre Dame last Saturday. He had just seven points, the first time he'd failed to break double digits this season.

Parker took care of that issue early, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and collecting 10 points in the first six minutes as the Blue Devils moved in front 15-11. Parker missed the only two other shots he took as Clemson's best-in-the-nation defense clamped down on Duke.

Still, the Blue Devils methodical style gradually pushed the lead to 36-26 when Clemson went without a field goal for nearly six minutes late in the period.

That's when McDaniels hit a 3-pointer and Harrison followed with a jam to cut the lead in half. Amile Jefferson made one of two foul shots to send Duke to the locker room with a 37-31.

When Parker's production slowed down, Hood picked it up with 11 points down the stretch.

While it the Tigers were down, the offensive showing was a big improvement from two nights earlier when they were held to 30 percent shooting in a 56-41 home loss to Florida State. Clemson made 42 percent of its shots and had just seven turnovers against Duke's pressure.

The sold-out crowd at Littlejohn Coliseum got a treat at halftime when the football team came out and posed with its Orange Bowl trophy. The football Tigers finished with their second straight 11-win season and finished ranked eighth in the final AP poll.

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Golden, Miller lead Georgia Tech past Irish 74-69 

ATLANTA (AP) - Daniel Miller has to face Garrick Sherman again, so the Georgia Tech center doesn't want to say exactly what worked against his Notre Dame counterpart.

"We did a lot of drills guarding him, watched a lot of film with his moves, so that was really important for us to just kind of shut him out," Miller said. "They need him to be successful."

Trae Golden scored 20 points, Miller added 10 points and 13 rebounds and Georgia Tech beat Notre Dame 74-69 on Saturday.

Despite blowing a 15-point lead they held midway through the second half, the Yellow Jackets (10-6, 1-2 ACC) went ahead for good when Golden's 3-pointer from the left wing made it 70-68 in the final minute.

Golden gave Georgia Tech its biggest lead at 15, but the Irish went on a 16-3 run to tie the game at 57 on Atkins' three-point play.

Notre Dame (10-6, 1-2), playing its first ACC road game after spending the last 18 seasons in the Big East Conference, was led by Eric Atkins' 20 points and Garrick Sherman's 13.

Sherman missed his first nine field goal attempts, but hit six of his last nine shots, including a reverse layup to give the Irish a 68-67 lead with1:15 remaining.

The rough start frustrated Sherman, who began the day as the Irish's scoring leader but didn't hit a field goal until the 13:14 mark of the second half.

"They weren't awful shots," Sherman said. "It was a couple of forced ones, but shots I usually make weren't going in. I just had to flush the first half and come back and play the second half."

Georgia Tech began the game with a 10-26 ACC record under third-year coach Brian Gregory, but the Jackets led by as much as 13 in the first half on Marcus Georges-Hunt's 3 from the left key.

Notre Dame came within two in the first on Demetrius Jackson's layup at the 8:01 mark and on Steve Vasturia's with 1:17 remaining, but Golden hit a pair of free throws to make it a four-point lead at intermission.

The Irish, playing just their second away game of the season on an opponent's home court, trailed by 15 midway through the second half on Golden's runner from the baseline at the 13:59 mark.

Chris Bolden hit a 3 from the left side on the ensuing possession, and Quinton Stephens' jumper from the top of the key made it 62-57 at the5:40 mark.

Notre Dame, which began its ACC era with a win over then-No. 7 Duke last week, was coming off a seven-point loss to North Carolina State.

The Irish didn't take their first lead of the game until Pat Connaughton's jumper made it 64-62 with 3:56 remaining.

Notre Dame coach Mike Brey thought his team played hard, but was undone by poor starts in both halves.

"When you're digging out of those holes," Brey said, "it's exhausting and sometimes you almost don't deserve to win the game because how of you started the game and how you started the half."

Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory was pleased with how well Miller defended Sherman. The Jackets will need a similar performance to improve their chances of winning at Notre Dame late next month.

"Garrick is a little more offensively aggressive and I think Daniel might have an overall better feel on the defensive side of the ball," Gregory said. "Those are two fifth-year guys that have made themselves into great players. That was a good battle."

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Pittsburgh beats Wake Forest 80-65 

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The last time Pittsburgh started its conference schedule with three consecutive wins was its 2010-11 season as a member of the Big East. The Panthers did it again by beating Wake Forest Saturday 80-65, but this time it was in Pitt's first season as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The 2010-11 year saw the Panthers attain a No. 1 ranking and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament where they were upset by Butler in the Round of 32. Butler advanced to the National Championship game that season.

Three years later, Pitt (15-1, 3-0 ACC) is yet to crack the Top 25 but has started its season nearly perfect behind the leadership of seniors Lamar Patterson and Talib Zanna.

"I think we aren't getting the respect we should," Zanna said. "We've just got to keep playing hard and keep winning."

Zanna recorded his fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The center from Kaduna, Nigeria shot 5 of 8 from the field and blocked four shots while defending the bruising Devin Thomas.

"I think we, me and Lamar, need to step it up from now on," Zanna said. "This is conference play, this is really important to us, it's our last year."

Patterson, who has drawn rave reviews from multiple opposing coaches, left a similar impression on Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik.

"I'm not saying he's the elite player in the league but he certainly is one of the elite players in the league," Bzdelik said. "I think he's very under-the-radar in terms of how good he is."

"They have a great leader who can score in a variety of ways. He's tough and gritty and experienced."

Patterson's game Saturday was quite above the proverbial radar as he led all scorers with 27 points, his sixth 20-point game of the season. Patterson made 10 of 17 field goals and also recorded six assists and five rebounds.

Behind Patterson and Zanna, the Panthers are playing what Patterson calls "Pitt basketball." Or, unselfish, hard-nosed basketball.

"A lot of the leadership comes from Lamar and Talib," sophomore point guard James Robinson said. "They are our senior leaders. While both are scoring a lot, they are two of the most unselfish players."

"Both of them are passers and that creates more open shots. The other teams know that they are capable passers."

Patterson leads the team in assists at 4.5 per game, while head coach Jamie Dixon says Zanna has made an adjustment to his game that's created more space for Pitt's offense to work effectively this season.

"It seems that teams are digging down whenever we go in the post to him," Dixon said. "He needs to pass out of it first, and once they start staying tighter to their man, he can look to go attack the rim."

Behind the example set by Zanna defending ball screens, Dixon said the Panthers were able to hold Wake Forest's scoring threats on the perimeter to below-average games.

"Talib and the big guys especially did a good job of that," Dixon said. "That really set the tone for us in the game."

Just as the seniors set the tone, they have also done so for this entire season where the Panthers feature five returning players but also six new ones.

"We are just playing Pitt basketball right now," Patterson said. "We want to grind teams out and see if they can last throughout the whole 40 minutes with us. So far we are going well but we have a lot of games left."

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No. 2 Syracuse beats North Carolina 57-45 

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - When James Michael McAdoo gave North Carolina an early boost against No. 2 Syracuse, the Tar Heels seemed ready to escape from their recent funk. The Orange defense had other ideas.

Deflecting passes and diving for loose balls all over the court, Syracuse beat North Carolina 57-45 on Saturday in an Atlantic Coast Conference marquee matchup as forwards C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant combined for 32 points and 20 rebounds.

Remarkably, the Orange shot a season-low 35 percent and won handily, leading by as many as 19 late in the second half.

"This was a defensive-effort game," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We got loose balls. We made a lot of really good hustle plays. We got on the floor. That was the difference."

Syracuse (16-0, 3-0 ACC) evened its all-time record against the North Carolina (10-6, 0-3) to 4-4. UNC started 0-2 in ACC play three times in the past five years and five times overall, and the loss to Syracuse equaled the worst conference start in school history in 1996-97, Dean Smith's final year as head coach.

The last time North Carolina scored fewer than 45 points was in a 56-44 loss to eventual national champion Villanova in the Southeast Regional final of the 1985 NCAA tournament. The Tar Heels also beat North Carolina State 45-44 in February 1997.

UNC shot 2 of 12 from behind the arc against the Syracuse zone and 20 of 51 (39.2 percent) overall and was outrebounded 41-35, 17-10 on the offensive glass, netting just two second-chance points.

"They got by and won a game shooting 35 percent," said UNC coach Roy Williams, who dropped to 1-4 against Syracuse in his Hall of Fame career. "The first six or eight or 10 minutes, I thought we were aggressive. We were involved. I thought after that point they were just so much more aggressive than we were. It ends up a 12-point game, but it really was more than a 12-point game.

"They had so much more intensity than we did."

North Carolina was coming off a 63-57 home loss to Miami in which the Tar Heels shot just 31 percent (20 for 65) and finished with a season-low scoring output against Miami's zone.

This game, which featured teams with a combined 3,990 wins (UNC is third with 2,100 and Syracuse fifth with 1,890) was decided by a dominant first half by the Orange.

Tyler Ennis finished with 10 points and seven assists to go with a season-high four turnovers, and Trevor Cooney had five steals and 10 points on 4-of-17 shooting. Rakeem Christmas contributed eight rebounds and had four of the Orange's nine blocks.

Marcus Paige led North Carolina with 17 points and McAdoo had 15 points and nine rebounds.

Center Joel James, who returned to the North Carolina lineup Wednesday night against Miami after missing four straight games and most of a loss to Texas on Dec. 18 with a right-knee injury, played only 10 minutes and did not score. J.P Tokoto finished with three points on 1-of-6 shooting.

Syracuse led by 12 at halftime and extended the lead to 42-24 on Fair's three-point play with 16:18 to go.

Paige answered with a 3, McAdoo converted a wide-open layup and Brice Johnson followed with an open slam dunk to keep the Tar Heels in the game.

Any chance at a comeback seemed to disappear when Ennis fed Cooney for a 3 from the left wing at the shot clock buzzer to boost the Syracuse lead to 47-31 midway through the half.

"They are a great team," McAdoo said. "They're physical. A lot of times the ball just went their way, and that's the sign of a great team. There were times when the ball was on the ground and the better team is going to come up with it."

North Carolina was 0 for 8 from beyond the arc in the opening half and pounded on the boards 34-22, failing to get any second-chance points, as Grant pulled down eight of his career-high 12 rebounds.

"We defended the paint, and did not give easy points for them," said Fair, who had 20 points. "We were quick on our feet. We basically controlled the game."

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 UVA STAYS PERFECT IN ACC BY ROUTING NC STATE 76-45

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Virginia stayed perfect in the Atlantic Coast Conference by polishing off a day for the Tobacco Road schools that was decidedly imperfect.

Joe Harris scored 16 points to help the Cavaliers rout North Carolina State 76-45 on Saturday night.

Mike Tobey also had 16 points and Malcolm Brogdon added 13 for Virginia (12-4, 3-0).

The Cavaliers kept pace with No. 2 Syracuse and Pittsburgh as the league's only teams unbeaten in league play while also polishing off an epically bad day for North Carolina's four ACC schools.

Virginia never trailed, opened the game with a 21-4 run and wasn't tested in cruising to its third straight win.

"They were off, and that helped," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "They couldn't buy a bucket. (Coach Mark Gottfried) has done a good job with this team. He really has. They just had one of those games and we had one of those games, and I think you saw it."

Desmond Lee and Ralston Turner each had 10 points for the Wolfpack (11-5, 1-2).

They didn't get closer than 22 in the second half and finished with a season-low-by-far point total in their worst loss at PNC Arena, which opened in 1999.

"The first half, I don't know that they could play better, and I don't think that we could play any worse," Gottfried said. "Perfect storm. We were pitiful in the first half and, offensively, basically the whole game.

"They just clicked on every cylinder, and we played very, very poorly," he added. "Tough day."

For everyone else on Tobacco Road, too.

Each of the state's four ACC schools lost Saturday - and by double figures, no less.

According to STATS, the four haven't lost on the same day since at least before the 1996-97 season - the oldest records available to the statistics company.

N.C. State joined Wake Forest and No. 16 Duke in an eight-way tie for next-to-last in the ACC at 1-2, ahead of only North Carolina (0-3).

T.J. Warren, the ACC's leading scorer who averages 23 points, finished with four on 1-of-9 shooting. His only field goal came nearly 15 minutes into the game - when N.C. State was already down by 20.

The Wolfpack's previous scoring low was 57 points two months ago at Cincinnati. They had a season-high-tying 16 turnovers and shot a season-worst 28.9 percent against one of the nation's best defenses.

"It was very frustrating, to the point where everybody was just looking at each other like, 'What's going on? What's happening?'" Lee said. "It was real frustrating to me because you didn't know what to do. Everything we tried, it just wasn't working."

Virginia entered ranked third nationally in scoring defense, giving up an average of 55.9 points, and ninth in Division I in field goal percentage defense (37.4 percent).

"It was collectively being in gaps, being sound, being in the right spots, having good ball pressure and being physical," Harris said. "We wanted to force them to take some tough shots, and some of their best players had off nights."

In each of the past two years, this wound up being a pivotal game for settling the seeds for the ACC tournament and sorting out the first-round byes.

N.C. State and Virginia tied for fourth in the final standings in both 2012 and '13, and the Cavaliers claimed the tiebreakers both times by winning the head-to-head matchup - although the Wolfpack did win both meetings in the tournament.

This one was all Virginia.

The Cavaliers dominated from the tip, opening with that huge run that included a burst of 15 straight points. They scored on 15 of their first 17 possessions and shot 60 percent in the half - their best half of the season.

Virginia went up by double figures to stay on Tobey's tip-in fewer than 5 minutes in, pushed its lead into the 20s on his free throw with 9:02left and led 48-23 on Akil Mitchell's steal and dipsy-doo dunk in the open court with about 1:15 left before the break.

"At halftime, I challenged them," Bennett said. "I said, 'Hey, is this a flash in the pan or is this the real deal? So let's see what we're about.' And I thought they did a good job."

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Coach K: "We're not a good team right now."

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) - Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski sounded like the only person at Littlejohn Coliseum not surprised at Clemson's upset victory.

The 16th-ranked Blue Devils entered the week with their lowest ranking since November 2007. Expect another new low next week after Duke's 72-59 loss to the Tigers on Saturday.

Krzyzewski says his young team is far from the juggernaut expected because of his NCAA championship reputation and the addition of prized freshman Jabari Parker. The Blue Devils had their first 1-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference in seven seasons.

"We're a very young team and we get predicted to do something based on me being old," said Krzyzewski, a Hall of Famer who's won four NCAA titles since starting at Duke.

"That's the way it is. And we have to measure up to something we probably weren't good enough to do to begin with."

The Blue Devils certainly weren't at Clemson. They had season lows in field goal shooting (33.8 percent), baskets (20), points in a game and in a half (22).

When it came time to make critical plays, it was Clemson's K.J. McDaniels, Jaron Blossomgame and Landry Nnoko who did it instead of Blue Devils stars in Rodney Hood and Parker.

It was Duke's second road loss in a week after falling 79-77 at Notre Dame to open league play last Saturday.

"We're not a good team right now," Krzyzewski said. "We're a small team and we need to make up for it in other ways. We're not some powerhouse."

Blossomgame had career highs of 14 points and 14 rebounds, plus hit two critical 3-pointers for the Tigers.

Blossomgame was one of the Tigers' most highly regarded recruits two years ago, but missed his freshman season after breaking a leg. He had a second surgery this summer and the 6-foot-7 freshman has taken his time this season finding his way.

"This is a big day for me, my breakout game," Blossomgame said. "I've had a rough start, but I'm trying to get back into the flow of things."

His big shots helped turn Duke's 10-point first-half lead into a Clemson runaway.

Blossomgame's 3-pointer with 9:27 left put the Tigers (11-4, 2-1 ACC) out front 52-50 for the first time since the game's early moments. With the game tied at 54-all moments later, Blossomgame struck from the left corner to give Clemson the lead for good.

Quinn Cook's three with 6:20 to go cut Clemson's lead to 59-57, but the Blue Devils (12-4, 1-2) managed only two foul shots the rest of the way to end a five-game win streak over the Tigers.

K.J. McDaniels had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Clemson. Landry Nnoko also had a double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds. Nnoko had four of the team's seven blocks while McDaniels had the rest.

Krzyzewski said Blossomgame's shooting "definitely turned the tide in their favor."

Hood led the Blue Devils with 20 points. Parker, who had Blossomgame guarding him much of the game, scored 15 points, only five after halftime.

Clemson coach Brad Brownell was angry with his team at halftime because they didn't attack the basket the way he'd hoped.

"He kind of got at me and made more aggressive than I had been," said Rod Hall, who had 11 points in the second half for Clemson.

Hall pushed the pace right after halftime, scoring on three driving layups as Clemson cut into what had been a 10-point Duke lead.

Duke also lost its shooting touch. The Blue Devils made just eight of 32 shots in the second half and could not keep up with Clemson's defense.

"The longer the game went on I think we convinced ourselves that we could win the game," Brownell said.

Blossomgame bettered his career marks of nine points set against Massachusetts and nine rebounds set against Davidson, both games coming last month at the Charleston Classic.

Parker appeared ready for a big game, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and collecting 10 points in the first six minutes as the Blue Devils moved in front 15-11.

The Blue Devils' methodical style gradually pushed the lead to 36-26 when Clemson went without a field goal for nearly six minutes late in the period. Duke was up 37-31 at the break before the Tigers took control in the second half.

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North Carolina loses 57-45 to No. 2 Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - North Carolina has beaten Michigan State, Kentucky and reigning national champion Louisville in this up-and-down season, but the Tar Heels were no match for No. 2 Syracuse.

A strong start keyed by James Michael McAdoo vanished amid the Orange's flailing arms and diving bodies, and Syracuse beat UNC 57-45on Saturday in an Atlantic Coast Conference marquee matchup.

Forwards C.J. Fair and Jerami Grant combined for 32 points and 20 rebounds to pace the Orange, who shot a season-low 35 percent (21 of 60) and still won handily, leading by as many as 19 late in the second half.

"They got by and won a game shooting 35 percent," said UNC coach Roy Williams, who dropped to 1-4 against Syracuse in his Hall of Fame career. "The first six or eight or 10 minutes, I thought we were aggressive. We were involved. I thought after that point they were just so much more aggressive than we were. It ends up a 12-point game, but it really was more than a 12-point game.

"They had so much more intensity than we did."

Not at the start.

North Carolina attacked the middle of the Syracuse zone with great success at the outset, with McAdoo hitting a pair of jumpers and J.P. Tokoto another from the foul line as the Tar Heels gained an 8-4 lead in the first 4 minutes.

"We started slow, let McAdoo get in the lane," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "Once we got back in front, our defense was good the whole game."

The Orange regrouped after a timeout and went on a 17-5 run keyed by Fair and Grant, who did all the scoring. Fair, who had three early turnovers and was struggling at the start, hit a 3 from the wing and converted three free throws to give Syracuse a 19-15 lead, and two free throws by Grant completed a 10-0 spurt that put the Orange on top to stay, 21-15 at 8:53.

The Tar Heels cooled off in a big way after the solid start, unable to penetrate inside. After Paige converted a three-point play with 13:04 left, UNC got only a fast-break slam dunk by McAdoo, a layup by Nate Britt and a jumper in the lane by Leslie McDonald in the ensuing 11 minutes and went into the locker room at halftime trailing 34-22.

"For us, not being able to get looks - we were successful early in the game. That's really on us, McAdoo said. "And also them being really good."

Syracuse (16-0, 3-0 ACC) evened its all-time record against the North Carolina (10-6, 0-3) to 4-4. UNC started 0-2 in ACC play three times in the past five years and five times overall, and the loss to Syracuse equaled the worst conference start in school history in 1996-97, Dean Smith's final year as head coach.

The last time North Carolina scored fewer than 45 points was in a 56-44 loss to eventual national champion Villanova in the Southeast Regional final of the 1985 NCAA tournament. The Tar Heels also beat North Carolina State 45-44 in February 1997.

UNC shot 2 of 12 from behind the arc against the Syracuse zone and 20 of 51 (39.2 percent) overall and was outrebounded 41-35, 17-10 on the offensive glass, netting just two second-chance points.

"They were just playing harder," said Tokoto, who finished with three points on 1-of-6 shooting. "That's pretty much what it was. We couldn't knock down the shots we needed to make and go on our run."

The Tar Heels don't play again for a week, when they host Boston College.

"Can't go backwards," Tokoto said. "It's on to the next game. Just got to look at the film, look at what we did wrong as a team, and where we can improve on."

North Carolina was coming off a 63-57 home loss to Miami in which the Tar Heels shot just 31 percent (20 for 65) and finished with a season-low scoring output against Miami's zone.

This game, which featured teams with a combined 3,990 wins (UNC is third with 2,100 and Syracuse fifth with 1,890) was decided by a dominant first half by the Orange.

Tyler Ennis finished with 10 points and seven assists to go with a season-high four turnovers, and Trevor Cooney had five steals and 10 points on 4-of-17 shooting. Rakeem Christmas contributed eight rebounds and had four of the Orange's nine blocks.

Marcus Paige led North Carolina with 17 points and McAdoo had 15 points and nine rebounds.

Desmond Hubert suffered a concussion in practice Friday and did not play against Syracuse.