Photo courtesy of Florida State University Athletics.
By David Cordova
The quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament, which were played yesterday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, were off to a great start with North Carolina easily beating Miami, 79-53, and Duke beating Louisville in a close game, 81-77, in the day session. But in the evening session, the last two games would be just as good.
Florida State (25-7, 12-6 in ACC play) would meet up against Virginia Tech (22-10, 10-8 in ACC play) and would battle each other out in the first half, but the second half, the Seminoles would take full control of the game, even though the Hokies threatened a few times.
In the final game of the day, Virginia (22-10, 11-7 in ACC play) would run into a tough team in Notre Dame (24-8, 12-6 in ACC play) as the Fighting Irish would stick to their game plan and stop the Cavaliers from shooting at a high percentage, which would prove to be key in them moving on to the ACC semifinals.
The Seminoles and the Fighting Irish will matchup against each other tonight at 9:30 PM following the highly-anticipated rivalry game between Duke and North Carolina. The winners of both games will meet up for the main task at hand, the ACC championship.
Here’s the storyline behind last night’s games:
Florida State 74, Virginia Tech 68
From the start of the game, Virginia Tech came out aggressive, as they would run off to a 10-4 lead, with 15:41 to go in the half. But layups by Michael Ojo and Phil Cofer would bring to them to within two, 10-8, with 13:05 to go. But then the Hokies would counter with two straight three-pointers from Seth Allen to bring the lead back up to eight, 16-8, with 11:50 to go.
Another thing in favor of the Hokies, was their ability to draw fouls in the paint, as the Seminoles were called for six team fouls early in the half. But then they would cut the deficit to four, 21-17, with 6:29 left after a layup by Jonathan Isaac.
Moments later, after a blocked shot by Chris Koumadje, teammate Xavier Rathan-Mayes would score on a layup off the break to bring the lead to 24-23, with 4:32 to go. They would then tie the score at 33-33, with 1:43 left in the half on two free-throws by Isaac. The shooting of Allen would help give the Hokies a two-point lead at halftime, 35-33.
The second half started out with the Hokies taking a five-point lead, 38-33, with 19:32 to go after a three-point play by Ahmed Hill. But then two layups by Rathan-Mayes and six consecutive points by Dwayne Bacon, put the Seminoles out in front, 43-38, with 17:11 left. Although trailing by a couple of points, Virginia Tech would keep the game close and attack the boards.
The lead would go back and forth a couple of times before Terrence Mann hit a three-pointer and Bacon would make a layup to bring the Seminoles up by five, 57-52, with 8:09 left in the half. Florida State would then utilize their pressure defense by building their lead up to nine, 62-51, with 6:37 to go, after a layup by Mann.
Virginia Tech would falter as the game went on, but would cut the deficit to eight, 68-60, after a three-point play by Seth LeDay, with 2:35 to go. Justin Robinson then hit a three-pointer with 53 seconds to go to cut the deficit to five, 68-63. But Florida State would hold on for the victory and advance to the semifinal game.
Bacon led Florida State with 17 points and seven rebounds, Isaac added 11 points and 12 rebounds and Mann would add 11 points and nine rebounds of his own. For Virginia Tech, LeDay led with 22 points and nine rebounds, Allen added 17 points and five assists and Robinson added 14 points and six assists in the loss.
Notre Dame 71, Virginia 58
Notre Dame came out in attack mode as baskets by Rex Plfleugger and Bonzie Colson helped bring the Fighting Irish to an early 10-2 lead. Their ball movement and their ability to crash on the boards helped stymie the Cavaliers early in the game. They would stop them from scoring more than two minutes until Darrius Thompson made a layup with 12:16 to go to cut the deficit in half to 14-7.
What aided the Fighting Irish was their tough defense as they forced Virginia into turning the ball over and forcing them into 38% shooting for most of the half. They continued their attack, as Matt Farrell drained a three-pointer with 5:23 to go to bring them ahead by eight, 26-18.
The Cavaliers would fight back with eight consecutive points to cut the deficit to 30-26 with 1:37 to go after a layup by Jarred Reuter. But Notre Dame would hold down the lead at halftime, 32-26. The Fighting Irish shot 52% from the field, while the Cavaliers shot 38%.
Notre Dame picked up where they left off in the early stages of the second half, in which they ran off to a twelve-point lead, 36-28, with 17:26 to go, after two free throws by Colson. Virginia seemed out of focus in the half as they started out 0-for-7 in the first six minute, and their counterparts would raise their lead to seventeen, 43-26, on a jumper by Temple Gibbs with 15:03 to go.
The Cavaliers would get to as close as ten, 68-58, with 1:09 to go after a layup by Thompson. But the Fighting Irish would hold down the lead until the very end and advance to the semifinals.
Colson led Notre Dame with 21 points and 10 rebounds, Farrell added 14 points and V.J. Beachem and Steve Vasturia both contributed 12 points. For Virginia, Hall and Thompson both led with 12 points and Ty Jerome and Mariol Shayok both added 10 points in the loss.