ACC Roundtable Roundup #2

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Welcome to the roundup of this week’s ACC Roundtable. Our esteemed panelists for this week are Myself, BC Interruption, Block C, College Game Balls, From Old Virginia, Gobbler Country, and The Legacy x4.

Okay, first things first: could someone please explain what the hell just happened this past Saturday?

The general consensus here is that the events of Saturday are less unexpected than at first glance. Sure, Wake, UNC, and Virginia Tech may have all been ahead in the standings. But, as From Old Virginia points out, those were all conference road games, which are never, ever easy.

BC Interruption sees the reason for the ACC’s “fluctuation” has less to do with the teams themselves and more to do with that the media “is easily distracted by shiny things” and constantly re-assesses the state of the conference from week to week.

College Game Balls, however, may have the best answer of anyone:

Heather Dinich used her Greek Goddess abilities to flip the league on top of its head, again.

Dinich bathes in the schadenfreude emanating from the ACC. Of course, CGB’s statement requires the suspension of disbelief that Ms. Dinich has abilities, is Greek, or is anything close to Godliness.

I happen to be of the belief that what happened last Saturday was less a product of superstition and more a product of the three offenses scoring nineteen combined points in regulation. An extra fourteen, of course, came courtesy of Chris Crane throwing to Hokies.

Block C takes his answer in another direction, answering what happened to Clemson against Georgia Tech. The saga of their beloved Tigers’ season is enough to fill a book. Hopefully, it has a happy ending with a new, smashingly successful coach. Wait, did I just use the word smashing?

Good Maryland, Bad Maryland, we’ve seen a fair share of both in 2008. Good Maryland may be the best team in the ACC, while Bad Maryland could probably lose by 20 to anyone left on their schedule. Which Maryland do we see for the rest of the season and where do you expect the Terps to finish?

No one on the panel is particularly optimistic about the Terps for the rest of the season. Currently at 5-2, No one except me expects them to do any better than 8-4, and everyone expects the Bad Terps to show up at least once. Most panelists, like From Old Virginia and The Legacy x4, point out their now-backloaded schedule will keep them from winning more than 3 games. Both Virginia Tech panelists mentioned that the Bad Terps usually show up on the road, while the Good Terps come out of the shell at home. (Hooray for more bad puns!) Most interestingly, Gobbler country discusses Maryland big weakness:

The key for the Terps this year has been their rush defense. If you can run on Maryland, you can beat them handily. But if they stop you from running the ball, things aren’t going to go well for you.

Whatever the case may be, the Roundtable is unanimously bursting Maryland’s Atlantic bubble.

Injuries are a part of college football, but they seem to have ravaged ACC offenses this year. Wake Forest has been without Sam Swank, Clemson is without C.J. Spiller, UNC is without T.J. Yates and Brandon Tate, Virginia Tech is without Kenny Lewis Jr., and NC State is without just about everybody. Which team misses their fallen star(s) most and why?

There seem to be two distinct camps here. Both BC Interruption and College Game Balls say that the conference’s most costly offensive injury is the one to Wake’s Sam Swank, the closest thing to an automatic kicker in college football and a big difference in close games. Which makes sense, until you consider that is reasonable to expect the Wake Forest offense, with all its talent, to score more than one TD in three conference game. Then there’s the factor that Wake’s defense usually keeps them in every game and–

You get the idea.

From old Virginia goes a different direction and points to the gradual loss of staff in Virginia Tech’s offense that has led, in part, to their 110th ranked offense. (And UNC gave up a 14 point lead to it? Yeesh.)  On defense, FoV references the injury to BC linebacker Brian Toal.

With four votes, however, the player whom the panel thinks is missed the most is UNC quarterback T.J. Yates. This completely florred me, not because it isn’t a good answer but because I never expected my conference brethren to have any sympathy toward the injuries of my beloved Tar Heels. Then again, I probably probably shouldn’t confuse sympathy with acknowledgement.

The primary reason seems to be, despite the admirable job that Cam Sexton has done in his stead, that the Heels just plain don’t lose that game of Virginia Tech if Yates had remained healthy. And that’s probably true. But that throws into question all of the other games that followed. Of course, if we have the same 5-2 record but with losses to Miami and Notre Dame instead of those teams from the Commonwealth, we’re probably in much better shape in the conference race.

Last one: the pretty much unanimous division champs were Virginia Tech and Wake Forest last week. Given all the craziness that just happened, give us your updated ACC Championship scenario.

But enough about my team. With two losses to teams ahead of them in the division, it would take a miracle for UNC to win the Costal at this point.

Many panelists (CGB, Gobbler Country, BC Interruption, and The Legacy x4) are opting for homerism and picking their own teams to go to Tampa. Fortunately for them Virginia Tech, Boston College and Georgia Tech are three of the teams in better position to win. Both BC and GT have daunting schedules, though, and the Jackets would lose any tiebreakers with the Hokies. Despite the Terps’ lights-out performance this past Saturday, no one has the guts to put Maryland in the Championship game as of yet (see Question 2). Of all the CG predictions, my own FSU-Miami pick was probably the most ambitious, and while I had reason to defense the pick, it ultimately boiled down to “this conference is crazy”.

In the final tallies, though, it’s 2.5 votes for Georgia Tech, 3.5 vote for Virginia Tech, 1 vote for Miami, 3 votes for Boston College, 2 votes for Florida State, and 2 votes for Wake Forest.

No team won a majority, but the plurality points to a rematch of last year’s championship game between Virginia Tech and Boston College.

You can almost feel the cynicism oozing out of your screen right now.

If you are an enterprising ACC blogger and are interested in joining the roundtable, just send an email with a link to your site. The more panelists, the merrier.

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UNC vs. Boston College Live Blog

The next person to mention UNC’s struggles on Saturdays at 3:30 pm on ABC is getting their pet goldfish castrated.

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Be afraid. Be very afraid.

13-2, BC. I am slightly concerned with UNC’s early turnovers, their poor defense, and Tyrese Rice.

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UNCLEAN!!!

3:55 pm: 18-5, BC. Senor Tyler finally gets on the board with Carolina’s first field goal. So far: Tyrese Rice, 14; UNC, 5.

3:58 pm: 18-7, BC. Hansbrough loses a contact lens. Again.

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4:00 pm: 24-10, BC. Finally…the moment we’ve all been waiting for…the return of Ty Lawson!
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Tryese Rice then proceeds to welcome him warmly.
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4:02 pm: 27-12 BC. Tyrese Rice has 23 points in the first seven minutes. At this point, we need to either quadruple team him or just crown his ass right now.
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Commercial break. Time for some aquatic population control.
4:11 pm: 31-20, BC. Hansbrough’s effectiveness in the paint and said quadruple teaming of Rice is allowing Carolina to stay within striking distance.
4:18 pm: 34-20, BC. Uh-oh. Quentin Thomas picks up his second foul.
4:20 pm: 37-20, BC. We cannot afford to have Ellington go cold again today. Also, WordPress isn’t allowing double space right now.
4:22 pm: 37-24, BC. I’m pretty sure Rakim Sanders got away with goaltending. Regardless, Tyler gets two from the line.
40-24, BC. Rice is left open for three. You pretty much guess what happens next. Ironically, Rice gets his first three pointer in nine minutes from a defensive mistake by…gasp…Ty Lawson.
42-27, BC. Will Graves hits a three, but what on earth is happening to the Tar Heels in this game?
4:31 pm: 46-36, BC. 29 points for Rice. This is getting ridiculous. Equally ridiculous is the kind of shots that Tyler is making on the other end.
4;34 pm: 50-36, BC. No. This is simply not possible. After Danny Green turns it over, Rice is left open again, and…swish. He now has 32 points in the first half.
4:36 pm: 52-36, BC. Rice has officially passed his career high in points…in the first half.
4:38 pm: And we’re at halftime. Shockingly, Boston College leads, 54-40 after the first half. Whatever gameplan Roy had for this game, he needs to throw it away and focus on stopping Rice at all costs. I think everyone knew that if BC had any chance in this game, Tyrese Rice had to have a good game. No one could have expected him to go absolutely ballistic against the team that people expected to be the #1 team in the nation on Monday.
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If for no other reason, you need to watch the second half for Tyrese Rice.
4:55 pm: The second half starts with a UNC turnover and two BC baskets. Guess who.
4:56 pm: For the love of God, Tyler, pass it!
4:57 pm: 58-44, BC. Ellington finally puts UNC on the board in the second half. Hansbrough gets a basket on the next possession. He now has 19.
4:59 pm: 61-47, BC. Carolina has a completely new set of five players on the court.
Regardless of Rice’s performance today, there is absolutely no reason for Carolina to be on pace for giving up 100 points on defense.
5:06 pm: 61-52, BC. huge news: Green hits his second three this half to bring the game to single digits for the first time in, like, ever.
5:08 pm: 61-55, BC. Ellington hits another three, and HOLY F–KING S–T WE’RE BACK IN THIS GAME!!!
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61-60, BC. Green and Ellington are taking over this game, and they’ve scored the game’s last 16 points to bring it within one.
Rice hit his knee on the last play. Rice + injury = doom for BC.
62-61, UNC. MAAAARRRRRRRRRCUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSS!!!
And we have our first lead!
65-64, BC. Rice gets his 40th point to bring the lead back to the Eagles.
66-65, UNC. WAYNE’S WORLD WAYNE’S WORLD PARTY TIME EXCELLENT WHOOOOOOOOOO!!!
5:20 pm: Tyler Hansbrough commits the most un-Hansbrough play ever. He misses both free throws, gets his own rebound, and misses the point-blank basket.
68-67, UNC. I’m so used to the Eagles with the lead that I keep typing BC instead of UNC. Meanwhile, Ellington continues to set the arena on fire in the second half. 71-67, UNC.
73-69, UNC. And we have our first Deon Thompson sighting.
76-69, UNC. Green and Ellington simply cannot be stopped right now.
An amazing stat: In the second half, Carolina has made as many field goals as Boston College has attempted. That’s why they’re on a 32-8 run. It bears reading again: a 32-8 run since BC was up 61-44 with about 17 minutes left.
78-70, UNC. Hansbrough gets an easy basket inside. UNC’s run is now 34-9.
80-70, UNC. I don’t care how faithful you are in this team. If you say you believed this game would go from a 17 point deficit to a double-digit lead in 12 minutes of playing time, you’re lying.
82-72, UNC. Ellington dunks it on the other end. I don’t think that I’ve seen such a dominant 13 minutes of basketball on the road out of this team…ever. Certainly not this season.
82-74, UNC. Tyrese Rice just broke the school record for points in a game; he now has 44.
86-78, UNC. Rice and Shamari Spears are keeping the game near single digits, but time is running out.
88-78, UNC. We’re going to survive…
The game is over, and Carolina wins 90-80. What an unbelievable game. Tyrese Rice had the game of his life with 46 points, and it looked like his team was going to dominate. But the Heels outscored the Eagles 46-19 in the final sixteen and a half minutes, and they may well have cemented their place at #1 in the nation with their second half performance.

 

 

 

UNC vs. NC State Live Blog: Second Half

Carolina finished on a 9-0 run to end the First. Will they continue their momentum in the second half, rather than play the way they played for the first 15 minutes? The end of the lunar eclipse could point to yes. Yes, that’s irrational, but since when is college basketball fandom supposed to be rational?

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8:02 pm: 36-31, UNC. Hansbrough opens the second half with the turnaround baseline jumper.

8:03 pm: 38-33, UNC. Hansbrough gets an easy one inside, but Thompson does a not-so-great job on the defensive end.

8:04 pm: 40-33, UNC. Qiuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu…

8:04 pm: 40-36, UNC. Another three-pointer for the Pack. This time it’s Costner.

8:07 pm: 42-36, UNC. Ellington draws a foul and hits two free throws.

At this point, the Pack seem to be letting Hansbrough catch the ball in the lane at will.

8:08 pm: 46-38, UNC. Hickson finally gets a nice shot inside, but Hansbrough hits another easy basket in the lane.

8:09 pm: 48-38, UNC. Q hits an outside shot. Believe me, that’s a big deal. Carolina has the game’s first double-digit lead.

8:15 pm: 52-38, UNC. Ellington gets a layup in transition. The Pack are starting to let this game get away from them. In part, that’s because our defense is finally clamping down.

8:17 pm: 56-38, UNC. Uh-oh. This could get ugly. Ginyard gets a dunk inside, and Hansbourgh gets the steal and dunk on the ensuing possession.

8:17 pm: 56-40, UNC. The Pack finally stop the bleeding.

8:19 pm: Ellington is called for the offensive foul.

8:23 pm: 56-41, UNC. Just for the hell of it:

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8:26 pm: 59-42, UNC. Ellington hits another three. He has 16 for the game.

8:27 pm: 59-44, UNC. You know you’re in the country when the big sign below the scorers table reads: “Enjoy North Carolina Peanuts”.

8:28 pm: 63-46, UNC. Carolina’s transition is revving up in the second half. meanwhile, Deon Thompson’s defense is still iffy (perhaps his knee is still not 100%).

8:30 pm: 66-49, UNC. Ellington’s on fire tonight!

8:31 pm: 68-52, UNC. The Wolfpack finally hit a three. If they have anything left in the tank, Sidney Lowe’s team needs to use it now.

8:34 pm: 70-52, UNC. Hansbrough (28 points) finally takes a breather.

8:36 pm: 72-53, UNC. QIUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!

8:38 pm: 72-58, UNC. Looking for something nice to say…well, Sidney Lowe really knows how to whistle.

8:39 pm: 75-58, UNC. J.J. Hickson has not been a factor in this game.

8:40 pm: 78-58, UNC. It’s one thing to be up against a better team, but it looks like the Wolfpack have just given up. They just let Ginyard drive and dunk from the top of the key. It was awesome, but it shows that Carolina is putting a lot more effort into this game than their opponent.

8:44 pm: 80-60, UNC. Green with the reverse layup.

8:45 pm: 80-62, UNC. Oh, sure. NOW Hickson makes his presence felt in the paint.

8:47 pm: 82-64, UNC. After that nice little shot that hung on the back iron before falling in, it just occured to me: Carolina has completely shut down Gavin Grant in the second half, after he was the leading scorer for the Pack in the first half.

8:50 pm: 82-67, UNC. Oh God, no. Plese tell me Mike Patrick did not just do that, Tell me he did not just compare Hansbrough to Wojo. I know what you’re trying to say, Mike, but that’s the last comparison we need.

8:52 pm: The game goes final: UNC wins, 84-70. An impressive victory for the Heels, who dominated the second half. Hansbrough delivers another spectacular performance, with 32 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 steals. Ellington has 21 points, and Thomas has 10. Carolina is now 25-2, and will next face Dino Gaudio’s red-hot Wake Forest team in Chapel Hill.

 

UNC vs. Clemson Live Blog

Tonight, the Tar Heels open their ACC play in Littlejohn Coliseum against the #19 Clemson Tigers.

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In addition to being the first conference game of the year, this is one of the first games in which Carolina stands a good chance of losing. Clemson has traditionally been a tough road game to play, and this year’s Tigers team looks to be one of the best in years. To make matters worse, the Heels could be without three of their most important bench players. Bobby Frasor is out for the season with a torn ACl, Alex Stepheson is unavailable tonight due to a family illness, and Quentin Thomas may see little or no playing time due to a sprained ankle. Tonight, one of our greatest strengths could be our weakness. For us to win, Danny Green, Mike Copeland, and Will Graves need to have good performances. in addition, the starting five cannot get into foul trouble.

7:37pm: Duke almost lost to Cornell this afternoon. I would say that such a performance is embarrassing, but I have little moral authority.

7:44 pm: 4-0, Clemson. James Mays strikes first blood, and K.C. Rivers follows with an easy basket inside.

7:46 pm: 4-2, Clemson. After a fast start, both teams seem to be forcing a few shots right now.

7:47 pm: 8-6, UNC. Three baskets in 8 seconds. Oliver Purnell intends to run with the Tar Heels. Given our lack of depth tonight, this might be the time to do it. Hansbrough and Lawson get on the board.

7:49 pm: 10-8, UNC. Ginyard gets an easy basket inside to take the lead, but I’m too distracted by Purnell’s dark orange suit. At least he had the presence of mind not to wear purple.

7:50 pm: 13-10, Clemson. The Tigers take back the lead thanks to a three from K.C. Rivers. Or “K.C. without the Sunshine Band”, as the FSN announcers called it. Blech.

7:55 pm: 15-14, Clemson. Will Graves and Danny Green are in for Carolina.

Aside from the shot clock violation, the Tigers have yet to turn the ball over.

7:58 pm: 16-15, UNC. Hansbrough hits the jump hook to give UNC the lead. Carolina has played good defense since the first TV timeout, not allowing a field goal in 4 minutes.

8:00 pm: Quentin Thomas is in for Lawson, which is a good sign. Carolina turns the ball over on Q’s second possession, which is a bad sign.

8:03 pm: 16-16. Marcus Ginyard, how do you miss that shot?!?

8:05 pm: Clemson seems to be playing with a higher energy than North Carolina. Luckily for us, the Tigers are missing their free throws.

8:06 pm: 19-18, Clemson. The Tigers hits another three for the lead. Carolina escapes the full court pressure on the ensuing possession, and Deon Thompson hits a shot from the right side.

8:11 pm: 27-22, UNC. Thanks to a few bad possessions from Clemson, Carolina gets some quick baskets in transition to take momentum. The last basket was an Ellington layup.

8:15 pm: 29-23, UNC. Clemson is shooting only 29% from the field, but Carolina’s shots don’t look pretty either.

8:16 pm: 29-29. K.C. Rivers basket, steal, Rivers basket, steal, Cliff Hammonds basket. Within 15 seconds, Clemson has the momentum back. Quentin Thomas is clearly not at full speed yet.

8:21 pm: 31-31. The Heels are playing sloppy right now. In particular, they’re settling for bad shots in transition.

8:24 pm: 36-34, UNC. Ellington hits Carolina’s first three-pointer of the game. Keep in mind, as we near halftime, that only four combined shots have been made from behind the arc thus far.

8;27 pm: 39-38, Clemson. Thompson and Hansbrough have no excuse for allowing Clemson three chances inside. They have to box out and get the rebound.

8:29 pm: 41-38, Clemson. K.C. Rivers hits a shot inside with less than 10 seconds left, and Clemson has just finished a 18-9 run to end the first half. Ty Lawson has played well so far, but Carolina has not gotten the performances they need from Hansbrough or the bench. To win this game, the Heels need to force the ball inside on offense, and seal off the paint on defense.

8:47 pm: 43-42, Clemson. After a dunk by Trevor Booker to start the second half, the Heels get two straight baskets inside from their guards, Marcus Ginyard and Wayne Ellington.

8:49 pm: 48-44, Clemson. Cliff Hammonds cannot be left that open outside. Hammonds makes the Heels pay with a three.

8:50 pm: 52-49, Clemson. Ellington hits Carolina’s only second three pointer of the game, but Booker immediately responds on the other side of the floor, as Carolina continues to play out of sync.

8:54 pm: 54-51, Clemson. Lawson takes advantage of a poor Clemson shot, getting the breakaway layup.

8:56 pm: 56-54, Clemson. Ellington hits another shot from boynd the arc. He’s heating up as the game goes on.

8:57 pm: 58-56, Clemson. Whichever Carolina player’s mom sits behind Roy Williams is wearing wayyyyyyy too much gold jewelry.

8:59 pm: 60-56, Clemson. A nice outside shot by Booker, but it should have never happened. Stitt clearly traveled when he jumped without letting go of the ball.

Hansbrough has yet to play like his usual self tonight.

9:05 pm: 64-58, Clemson. Just as Carolina finally creates an easy basket, the Tigers respond with a three. What is going on with UNC’s defense right now?

9:08 pm: 65-63, Clemson. Ellington gets three from the free throw line.

9:09 pm: 67-63, Clemson. An unbelievable shot by Stitt, and he draws the foul on Lawson. However, he misses the free throw.

9:10 pm: 67-65, Clemson. Oglesby misses the three, and the Heels get an all-too-easy layup on the other end. I would ask for more three point attempts on Clemson’s part, but Rivers just hit another one to make it 70-65, Clemson.

9:15 pm: 72-69, Clemson. Carolina continues to keep it close on offense, but their defense is letting too many inside baskets through.

9:16 pm: Just what we need: a turnover during a favorable transition situation.

9:18 pm: Hansbrough is currently being neutralized, and no one other than Ellington is hitting outside shots. For the Tar Heels, this could be a nightmare scenario.

9:20 pm: 74-69, Clemson. Potter hits a shot from 15 feet, as no one challenges the jumper. Tyler Hansbrough still has yet to score a point in this half.

9:22 pm: 74-70, Clemson. Hansbrough finally gets on the board, making one of two free throws. With Four minutes left in this game and no sign of Tyler, Carolina is in serious trouble, as Clemson is beating the Tar heels at their own transition game.

9:27 pm: 77-70, Clemson, 3:32 left. Time to officially begin freaking out.

9:28 pm: 79-74, Clemson, 2:45 left. Don’t let the current rebound stats fool you. Clemson has dominated the boards when it has mattered most. If not for Clemson’s poor free throw shooting, this game would already be over.

9:31 pm: 81-77, Clemson, 2:20 left. Ellington keep us within reach, but Carolina has to take a stand in the paint on both sides of the court.

9:34 pm: 81-80, Clemson, 1:37 left. OOHHHHHHH!!! What a shot by Danny Green! He makes them pay for the missed free throw on the other end, and this game is not over yet.

9:35 pm: :59.2 left. Good job by Hansbrough to get the rebound on defense when it matters most, and he draws the foul, with the chance to take the lead for UNC at the line.

9:37 pm: 81-81, :47.8 left. Hansbrough hits one of two to tie, and then he draws the offensive foul.

9:40 pm: :24.1 left. Clemson confuses lawson with the zone defense, and Roy is forced to take a timeout.

9:41 pm: :13.7 left. Good defense by Clemson, but WAYNE ELLINGTON, WHAT THE HELL KIND OF A SHOT WAS THAT?!? Now we have to hope for a defensive stop.

9:42 pm: Clemson gets three chances, but they can’t make it! Good defense by UNC, who didn’t allow an easy shot, and we’re going to overtime.

9:45 pm: 81-81 (OT). A huge loss for the Tigers, as Trevor Booker fouls out. Unfortunately, Carolina can’t take immediate advantage, as Hansbrough misses both free throws.

9:48 pm: 83-82, UNC. Ellington hits two free throws to…finally…give Carolina its firs lead in a long time. Ellington has a whopping 31 points in this game.

9:50 pm: 84-83, Clemson, 2:31 left. Hansbrough missteps in the paint, and James Mays gets the dunk inside to give Clemson the lead. What’s even more frustrating is that David Potter is single-handedly destroying us on the glass.

9:56 pm: 86-85, Clemson, :49.4 left. If UNC loses this game, it will be because they were outscored 25-6 in points off turnovers.

9:57 pm: 87-86, UNC, :30 left. Lawson hits two free throws to take back the lead.

9:58 pm: :13.9 left. Danny Green commits a cheap foul, his 5th, on Stitt, who is Clemson’s best free throw shooter.

9:59 pm: 88-87, Clemson, :13.9 left. Stitt his the free throws, and Clemson has the lead again.

10:03 pm, :00.4 left. OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD!!! What a shot by Wayne Ellington! That is the clutch shot to end all clutch shots, as the raucous Littlejohn Coliseum falls silent.

10:05 pm: Clemson throws the inbound pass out of bounds, Carolina lets the time expire, and they hold on to win 90-88 on Ellington’s huge buzzer-beating shot. A clutch shot by Ellington, who had 36 points in the game, but many of Carolina’s true weaknesses were revealed in this game. Still, Wayne has truly established himself as a go-to player in the perimeter.