GREENSBORO, N.C. – Wake Forest (16-14, 10-6) used a quick start and a dominating board game to down Clemson (4-26, 0-16) 73-58 in the first round of play in the 2016 ACC Tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on Wednesday afternoon.
The Demon Deacons led 19-8 after the first quarter and built their advantage to as many as 24 in the first half, exiting at intermission up 40-22.
Clemson, which scored the opening basket of the game, never led from that point on while the Deacons outrebounded the Tigers 54-30, and produced a 36-28 edge in points in the paint.
Eleventh-seeded Virginia Tech became the first upset victim of the tournament due to an icy 22-percent shooting effort, and a dominating Boston College performance on the glass that resulted in a 49-37 loss to an Eagles team it had trounced 58-33 during the regular season.
The Hokies (17-13, 5-11) forced 23 Eagles turnovers while committing just 11, but couldn’t overcome a dismal 13-for-59 shooting performance.
Boston College (15-15, 2-14) took 20 fewer shots (39) but made one more (14), and owned an 8-of-9 edge at the foul line in beating Virgnia Tech for the third time in four ACC Tournament first-round meetings.
#15 Clemson 58, #10 Wake Forest 73
Wake Forest: Milan Quinn, 20 pts. (9-14) 3 asst.; Ariel Stephenson, 15 pts. (7-10), 3 steals; Amber Campbell, 15 pts. (6-13), 3 steals
Clemson: – Nelly Perry, 23 pts. (9-25), 3 asst.; Victoria Cardaci 11 pts. (3-12), 2 steals; Alexis Carter, 10 pts. (4-10), 3 asst.
Wake Forest – Milan Quinn (15-game high); Elisa Penna (8)
What they said
Wake Forest head coach Jen Hoover: “We came out on a mission today, and we’re excited to get back on the right kind of streak (WF lost its last 3 regular-season games). I thought we were really focused in, and we brought a lot of energy and intensity and were really able to jump out early . . . it built a lot of confidence in our team and in each other.”
Wake Forest’s Ariel Stephenson (on whether her performance could be built on for the rest of the tournament): “Most definitely. This helps me go into the next game with a little more confidence – but you an’t get over-confident. You still need to shoot the ball and just have fun.”
Wake Forest vs. #7 Georgia Tech, 6 p.m. Thurs.
Clemson – season ended
#14 Boston College 49, #11 Virginia Tech 37
BC – Kelly Hughes, 12 pts. (3-11), 1 asst., 1 steal; Ella Awobajo, 12 pts. (3-7), 13 reb., 2 asst., 2 steals; Nicole Boudreau, 10 pts. (2-7, 5-5 ft), 5 reb.
Virginia Tech – Chanette Hicks (11 pts. (4-10), 5 steals; Sidney Cook, 7 pts., 6 reb., Hannah Young, 6 pts., 1 asst. 1 steal.
BC – Awobajo (13-game high); Katie Quandt (7); Mariella Fasoula (6)
BC led 36-30 with one second left in third quarter when Hicks fouled Boudrau on a 3-point shot with two seconds left.
Boudreau sank all three free throws to hike the gap to 39-30 entering the fourth quarter, and the closest Virginia Tech came in the final period was seven (44-37), with 2:28 left.
BC hit 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch while the Hokies missed their last seven shots.
What they said
BC head coach Erik Johnson: “We really believe we’re better than our record. We had some great wins non-conference, and we just couldn’t get over the hump (in ACC play). And I said ‘This is what March is all about. You want to change the perception of our team, you want to make our season remembered for doing good instead of being right there, go win in March.’ “
BC’s Nicole Boudreau: “I think we were really not happy with the way we played there (in the 58-33 loss in Blacksburg on Jan. 3). As coach said, it was our first ACC Game and the kind of punched us in the mouth. Their defense really got us uncomfortable. We knew we could do better, and I think we showed that especially on the defensive end. Keeping them to 37 points is really big, and we had a lot of rebounds. I think Ella had an absolutely amazing game.”
Virginia Tech head coach Dennis Wolff: “It was a hard-fought game. They had a good game plan. Certainly, they made us struggle on offense. I think with every missed shot we started to press a little more and got everybody little bit tighter….I’m proud of the effort, but you’re not going to win man games when you’re shooting the way we just shot the ball in that game.”
Virginia Tech’s Chanette Hicks (on picking up a technical foul in the first quarter, and the foul at the end of the third on Boudreau’s three-point attempt): “I really didn’t mean to do the tech – I was just frustrated that I traveled. And then the foul on the here, I was just trying to close out and I ended up fouling, which kind of put them up by nine when we were down by six. But coach and the team just kept saying ‘let’s keep our head together and just keep our composure.”
BC – vs. # 6 seed N.C. State 8 p.m. Thurs.
Virginia Tech – possible WNIT bid.