Quarterfinal Thursday is in the books, and, despite some excitement, the top-4 seeds all move on to the semifinals in the 2019 ACC tournament. In the morning session, No. 1-seed Virginia used a hot second half to move past No. 8 NC State. No. 4 Florida State got a large lead on No. 5 Virginia Tech before the Hokies climbed back in to force overtime. The Seminoles would go on to win, thanks to some last-second heroics.
In the evening session, No. 2 North Carolina easily moved past the No. 7 Louisville Cardinals thanks to 46% shooting from the field. No. 3 Duke got a stiff test from No. 6 Syracuse, but Zion Williamson’s return pushed the Blue Devils past the Orange.
Here are the highlights from the ACC tournament quarterfinals:
There are a lot of big time scorers when it comes to this year’s Virginia team. Kyle Guy can fill it up, as can projected lottery pick De’Andre Hunter. Oh, and don’t forget about Ty Jerome, Mamadi Diakite, and Jay Huff.
One guy you probably would never think of? The Hoos’ 6-10 big man from New Zealand, Jack Salt. He came into Thursday’s quarterfinal game with NC State averaging 3.6 points per game, and averaging an abysmal 46% (17-for-37) from the free throw line.
Against the Wolfpack on Thursday? Salt poured in 18 points on 7-for-8 shooting and went 4-for-5 from the free throw line as he ignited the Cavaliers in the second half. Virginia would go on to win 76-56, but not before Salt set a new career-high in points and got a technical from Jamie Luckie for pulling up on the rim. All in a day’s work.
Terance Mann with the dramatic game-winner
With the score tied and time ticking below 10 seconds in overtime, FSU’s Mann hit a fadeaway jumper off of one leg to put the Seminoles up 65-63 with 1.8 seconds left.
Virginia Tech wasn’t able to get a shot off, and Florida State survived to see another day. The Seminoles will face the Cavaliers in the first game of the semifinals.
Zion Williamson was excellent…the rest of Duke was not
Syracuse — without Tyus Battle for the second straight game — gave the Blue Devils all they could handle. Duke was carried by Zion Williamson as the superstar freshman went 13-for-13 from the field for 29 points, 14 rebounds, and six steals in his first game back after a knee injury sidelined him for six games.
Williamson carried Duke in the first half with 21 of Duke’s 34 points while the rest of the team went a really tough 4-for-18 from the field for 13 points. RJ Barrett turned it on in the second half, finishing with 23 points on 8-for-15 shooting.
North Carolina keeps cruising
This one was never really in doubt as the Tar Heels led by 10 at the half and took down the Louisville Cardinals 83-70. Luke Maye and Coby White had 10 points apiece as UNC pushed the pace in a 75 possession game. When White is doing this, there’s not much you can do:
North Carolina hasn’t lost since February 10, when the Virginia Cavaliers got the best of them in Chapel Hill. A No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament is still very much on the table for the Tar Heels, and another meeting with Duke is waiting in the semifinals of the ACC tournament. If the Heels can get a third win over the Blue Devils, they would certainly stay on that top line and potentially keep their rival on the 2-line.
Semifinal action kicks off Friday with Virginia-FSU at 7pm.