ATLANTA — Virginia Tech hasn’t had a particularly successful season, but the Hokies picked up a nice feel-good win Thursday night by taking out sixth-seeded Clemson 68-63 in the first round of the 59th ACC tournament.
The Hokies used a terrific second-half run to build enough of a cushion to hold off the Tigers, the keys in the stretch being three-pointers by senior Dorenzo Hudson and sophomore Erick Green. With the victory, the Hokies will get another shot at Duke. Tech lost at Cameron Indoor Stadium in overtime two weeks ago.
With the victory, Virginia Tech improved to 16-16 on the year while Clemson dropped to 16-15.
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Here are the grades for both teams’ performances Thursday:
VT offense: Guys made shots, and that bailed the Hokies out of a night in which they did a poor job running their offense, when they actually ran it. Tech converted 41.5 percent of their shot attempts from the field, including 30.4 percent from three-point range (7 for 23). They assisted on 12 of 22 made baskets, but Erick Green and Dorenzo Hudson came up big with late threes that gave them the win. Grade: C
Clemson offense: Andre Young was excellent in the first half, but not so much after halftime. Clemson didn’t get enough from Milton Jennings (5 for 12, 13 points and four rebounds), who had some matchup advantages he simply failed to make the most of. The Tigers made 23 of 50 field goal attempts (46 percent) and 8 of 22 (36.4 percent) from beyond the arc. Grade: C
VT defense: This hasn’t been a vintage Hokies defensive team. Seth Greenburg can coach defense and usually has better units, but this squad really buckled down and did a nice job keeping Clemson from getting good looks inside the arc over the last 10 minutes of the game. Grade: B+
Clemson defense: Usually excellent, it was close for much of the contest, but you have to know when playing Tech to find Hudson on the break and not let him spot up, especially from either corner. The Tigers were slow to get back on defense a couple of times and it really hurt them. But for the most part, Clemson did a nice job. Grade: B
VT intangibles: This team could have wilted a long time ago given the number of close losses that piled up, but credit the seniors and Greenberg for remaining focused and playing with the passion they exhibited Thursday night. Grade: A+
Clemson intangibles: The Tigers did a lot of little things right, but they didn’t handle some late possessions well, notably the flagrant-one foul on Devin Booker late in the game. As usual, Clemson battled and took this to the final seconds, but it wasn’t enough. Grade: B