The 68th annual ACC Tournament kicked off on Tuesday with three games, one of which had a must-see ending.
The strangest thing about Day 1 was the inclusion of Duke in the festivities. The Blue Devils almost always have a double-bye, but their struggles this season placed them on opening day.
So, let’s get to it.
Miami takes down Pittsburgh in the opener
In the opener, No. 12 Pitt faced No. 13 Miami. If this game had been played one month ago, it seems like the result could have been much different. A rash of transfers decimated Jeff Capel’s squad as it stumbled down the stretch.
All-ACC forward Justin Champagnie didn’t have his best game for the Panthers, scoring 11 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. However, he struggled from the field.
The Hurricanes were led by Isaiah Wong, who scored 20 points for Miami. The game was close until late when the ‘Canes went on a 13-7 run to pull away and move on to the next round.
Miami moves on to play No. 5 Clemson tomorrow.
5 Canes finish in double figures for Miami and they move on to the second round to face Clemson after the 79-73 win over Pitt!— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) March 9, 2021
Highlights brought to you by @GEICO #ACCTourney | @CanesHoops pic.twitter.com/TkWnCeAQDk
Duke cruises to an easy win over Boston College
The Blue Devils aren’t your typical No. 10 seed. At the same time, the 2020-21 version of Duke basketball isn’t your typical Duke team. This team has plenty of issues, but has improved in spades since freshman Jalen Johnson left the team.
Duke blew out Boston College, 86-51, in a game that was never close.
A trio of Duke freshman, DJ Steward, Mark Williams and Jeremy Roach combined to score 38 points for the Devils. Sophomore Matthew Hurt had one of his quieter games of the season, scoring just eight points and pulled down seven rebounds. Hurt did battle foul trouble.
Outside of Duke’s stingy defense, its outside shooting was the story of the game. The Blue Devils connected on 15 of 32 attempts from 3-point range. You aren’t going to lose many games shooting the basketball that well.
Duke plays No. 7 Louisville on Wednesday in the most interesting game of the day. Louisville swept the Devils in the regular season, including an overtime win on Feb. 27.
Notre Dame defeats Wake Forest in thrilling fashion
It looked like No. 14 Wake Forest was going to pull off an impressive win on opening night of the ACC Tournament on Tuesday. Unfortunately, a defensive collapse in the game’s final minutes turned a potential victory into extreme heartbreak for head coach Steve Forbes and his Demon Deacons.
Wake Forest led 75-63 with 7:19 remaining after Daivien Williamson connected on a 3-pointer. That would be Wake’s final highlight as the Deacs would score just two points the rest of the game.
Notre Dame finished the game on a 17-2 run as junior guard Trey Wertz sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Fighting Irish an impressive comeback win.
Wertz led the Irish with 16 points and senior forward Juwan Durham also scored 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
Notre Dame faces No. 6 North Carolina on Wednesday. The Tar Heels won the only meeting in the regular season, 66-65.