Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

The Digital Nativity Story

Friday ACC Basketball Scoreboard

SMITH (Eugene Tanner/AP Photo)
CLEMSON 83, Southern Illinois (Salukis, 15,137 students, Carbondale, IL) 75 -- Tanner Smith scored a career-high 26 points and freshman Rod Hall converted a three-point play with 3.8 seconds left in the second half to send Friday's second-round game in the Diamond Head Classic into overtime, where the Tigers eventually claimed a over Southern Illinois. The win improved Clemson to 7-5 on the season, and dropped the Salukis to 3-7 overall.

In the overtime period, the Tigers made only three shots, but converted 15-of-17 at the charity stripe for a 21-point outburst. It was Clemson's second overtime win under Brad Brownell, and the second straight year the Tigers triumphed in extra time in a regular season tournament. In November of 2010, Clemson beat Seton Hall in the final round of the Paradise Jam in the Virgin Islands.

Smith scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half or overtime. The senior from Alpharetta, GA was 8-for-16 from the field, including 2-of-5 from three and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. His 26-point effort was an individual scoring high by a Tiger under second-year Head Coach Brad Brownell. 

Hall added a career-high 18 points on 5-of-10 shooting and 7-of-9 free throws. Devin Booker matched his career and season-best with 16, as he hit 7-of-9 from the floor and 2-of-3 at the line. A fourth hero in the game was recent graduate Bryan Narcisse, who scored seven points but delivered a career-best 12 rebounds in 31 minutes of action.
PANKEY (Patrick Semansky/AP Photo)
MARYLAND 65, Radford (Highlanders, 8,878 students, Radford, VA) 60 -- Ashton Pankey scored a career-high 17 points to lead three players in double figures as Maryland held off upset-minded Radford Friday night.
Pankey made 6 of 8 from the field, including a free throw followed by back-to-back dunks as Maryland broke a 45-all tie to take the lead for good with just over 10 minutes to play.
With a 13-6 run, Maryland took a 58-51 with 3:24 left.

Terrell Stoglin, the leading scorer in the ACC, made just 5 of 18 from the floor and failed to score over the game's first 18 minutes.

He finished with 16 points, however, and his three free throws in the final 32 seconds helped ice the game.

James Padgett added 10 points and a team-high nine rebounds for Maryland (7-3) which posted a season-low seven turnovers.

Lets Go Bowling

#8 Boise State 56, Arizona State 24
Quarterback Kellen Moore #11 of the Boise State Broncos holds up the trophy after defeating the Arizona State Sun Devils 56-24 in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium December 22, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Arizona State Sun Devils recovers the ball after it was fumbled on the snap as Tyrone Crawford #40 of the Boise State Broncos defends during the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium December 22, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty

ACC Football Links

Virginia Tech's kicker has been suspended indefinitely for the Allstate Sugar Bowl after he was charged with a felony for armed breaking and entering.

Playing in the ACC as opposed to the Big East does matter to some recruits.

Maryland has hired its offensive coordinator, but is defensive coordinator Todd Bradford the next man out?

Mike Locksley's ability to recruit might be more valuable than his ability to run the offense.

Did BC finally find some stability at its coordinator position?

Player development has been critical to Clemson's success this year.

The Independence Bowl will be an audition for the Tar Heels and for their new coach, Larry Fedora.

What can FSU gain from a bowl win over Notre Dame? Coley Harvey has the answers.

Georgia Tech is hoping to change its label with a bowl win.

What were the top five individual moments of the season?

Jumping in "the moat" means one thing: Practices are over this year at Clemson.

David Glenn talked to Everett Withers recently about his time at North Carolina and what appealed to him about the Ohio State position.

Georgia Tech coach Paul Johnson answered several questions recently about this season.

Maryland is getting closer to hiring Mike Locksley as offensive coordinator, according to The Baltimore Sun.

If Virginia can't run the ball on Auburn, it doesn't deserve to win, writes Aaron McFarling.

High school running back Randy "Duke" Johnson thinks he can carry Miami back on his back.

Wake Forest safety Josh Bush has helped the Deacs' D make measurable improvement this year.

Virginia receiver Kris Burd takes pride in his blocking, and it shows.

Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas has one game to go, and he's already had one of the best rookie seasons in school history.

We may or may not see FSU receiver Bert Reed in the bowl game.

Pictures Of The Day

New York Ranger fan Glen Jacobson of Holbrook, NY rides the Long Island Railroad dressed as the main man prior to the game between the Rangers and the Philadelphia Flyers at MSG.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Which begs the question, why fire your head coach BEFORE the bowl game?  Head coach Dennis Erickson of the Arizona State Sun Devils walks on the field before playing the Boise State Broncos in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium December 22, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Fans of the Boise State Broncos react as the team takes on the Arizona StateBroncos in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas at Sam Boyd Stadium December 22, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Boise State won 56-24. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Justin Cobbs #1 of the California Golden Bears passes around Karam Mashour #20 of the UNLV Rebels during their game at the Thomas & Mack Center December 23, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. UNLV won 85-68. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Kyle Kuric #14 of the Louisville Cardinals shoots the ball while defended by Kahlil McDonald #3 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers during the game at KFC YUM! Center on December 23, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky. Louisville won 70-60. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Thursday ACC Basketball Scoreboard

C.J. LESLIE IN TRAFFIC.  (Photo by Ethan Hyman/News & Observer)

Mercer 65, GEORGIA TECH 59

VIRGINIA TECH 71, Eastern Michigan 50

N.C. STATE 88, Northeastern 59

Florida 82, FLORIDA STATE 64

For game recaps, click here

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

ACC Wednesday Night Basketball

BARNES (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
#5 NORTH CAROLINA 82, Texas (Longhorns, 38,463 students, Austin, TX) 63 -- Harrison Barnes hadn’t cracked double figures for two straight games while North Carolina’s performances ranged from flat to disinterested against overmatched opponents.

On Wednesday night, against a team that had beaten them the past two years, the fifth-ranked Tar Heels displayed the talented, fast-paced and—most importantly—focused form that everyone expected this season.

Barnes scored a season-high 26 points to help North Carolina beat Texas  for its fifth straight win. The Tar Heels (11-2) avenged last season’s last-second loss to the Longhorns in their last major non-conference game before opening ACC play against Boston College on Jan. 7.

WAKE FOREST 87, UNC Wilmington (Seahawks, 11,743 students, Wilmington, NC) 78 -- C.J. Harris scored 23 points and six Wake Forest players reached double figures in a victory against UNC Wilmington on Wednesday night.

Tony Chennault added 15 points for the Demon Deacons (8-4). They let an 11-point lead slip away in the second half before holding UNC Wilmington without a field goal for nearly 5 minutes as part of their 21-6 run.

Freshman Adam Smith had season highs of 32 points and seven 3-pointers, and Keith Rendleman added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Seahawks (3-7).

BOSTON COLLEGE 83, Sacred Heart (Pioneers, 4,192 students, Fairfield, CT) 73 -- Junior Matt Humphrey scored a career-high 18 points to lead Boston College past Sacred Heart Wednesday night in front of 2,263 fans at Conte Forum.

SCOTT (Joe Nicholson/AP Photo)
Humphrey went 5-for-10 from the field and 5-for-7 from the foul line. Freshman Dennis Clifford also scored a career high with 16 points and had six rebounds and three blocks. He was 6-for-7 from the floor. Freshman Ryan Anderson had 13 points and seven boards, and classmate Lonnie Jackson scored 12 points, all in the second half.

VIRGINIA 83, Seattle (Redhawks, 7,900 students, Seattle, WA) 77 -- Senior forward Mike Scott scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead the No. 24 Virginia men's basketball team to an 83-77 victory over Seattle University Wednesday night (Dec. 21).

It was the second game of a two-game road trip to the Pacific Northwest for the Cavaliers. UVa opened the trip with a 67-54 win at Oregon on Sunday (Dec. 18).  

The victory was the eighth in a row for the Cavaliers and improved their record to 10-1 on the season. It was the sixth consecutive loss for the Redhawks who now have a record of 2-8. The game marked the first time this season a UVa opponent scored more than 58 points.

The double-double was the second in a row for Scott, his fifth of the season and the 29th of his career, tying him for third on Virginia's career list with Scott McCandlish (1970-72). Scott was 12-14 from the field and 9-11 from the free-throw line in the game. He had 19 points and seven rebounds in the first half.

Things That Make You Go...

(Photo by Charles Slate)

Coastal Carolina, a Div. 1-AA (FCS) school that announced Tuesday the hiring Joe Moglia as its new head coach.  

Football-wise, Moglia is probably best known as either the executive adviser to the Nebraska football program in 2009-10 or as the former head coach/current president of the United Football League’s Omaha Nighthawks.

Financial-wise, the 61-year-old Moglia is known as a billionaire businessman who was the CEO of TD Ameritrade from 2001 until becoming the chairman of the board of the same company in 2008, a title he will still hold even as he continues on as the president of a professional football league team and head coach of a college football team.  This job at Coastal Carolina will actually be a continuation of Moglia’s coaching career; Moglia coached at programs such as Lafayette and Dartmouth before embarking on a second career in the financial sector in 1983.

What will turn out to be nearly three decades later, however, Moglia will be back at the collegiate level in 2012.

“Having a hand in helping 18-22 year-olds become men through football has always been important to me, and I couldn’t be more excited to do that at Coastal Carolina,” Moglia said. “Being part of our Nighthawks team has been an honor for me.”

Going back to his time with the Cornhuskers, Moglia was effusive in his praise for athletic director Tom Osborne and head coach Bo Pelini.  In fact, Moglia said if it weren’t for the time he spent in Lincoln, he wouldn’t be where he’s at in his life right now, which is apparently a very rich man with a really, really cool third job.

“Had it not been for the opportunity I had with the University of Nebraska, none of this would have become a reality,” said the new coach. “I will be forever appreciative to Bo and Tom for allowing me to do that. I’m continuing as Chairman of TD Ameritrade and Omaha has become my home and will always have a place in my heart.”

News Flash: The Suits In Indiana (Formerly Kansas) May Have Gotten The Ohio State Punishment Right

(Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Look, we don’t want to get to far out on a holiday limb concerning our friends at the NCAA, but the punishment for Jim Tressell’s Tattoo-gate seems reasonable from our perch over here in T.A.H. Worldwide Media’s glass, headquarters.

The NCAA hit Ohio State with a one-year bowl ban and additional penalties Tuesday for violations that started with eight players taking a total of $14,000 in cash and tattoos in exchange for jerseys, rings and other Buckeyes memorabilia.

The question is were the penalties fair and reasonable considering the nature of the infraction and the current environment of craziness in which they are now framed?

First off, the disaster at Penn State puts Tatoo-gate into perspective.  Seriously, how wound up can you get about kids selling some stuff in exchange for services render.  A far cry from Jerry Sandusky in the shower with a ten-year-old...

That said, we always find the punishment phase to be tricky.  If you come down hard on Ohio State and ban them from multiple bowl games, ultimately you punish a bunch of college kids (student athletes) that didn’t do anything wrong.  That situation is true at Penn State as well.  The current Nittany Lions didn’t abuse any kids.

If you penalize the institution by allowing them to play in a bowl, but require them to re-allocate their payday (as did Penn State which is contributing their bowl revenue to victim’s rights organizations) that seems altruistic and a reasonable solution until you consider the negative impact on the kids that play non-revenue sports.  That bowl pay day is funding for wrestling, cross country, golf and field hockey to name a few.

So it always seemed logical in our view that the offending coach should bear part, if not most, of the burden.   It seems absurd that the institution and the student athletes are punished while the CEO of Football University takes his millions and strolls off to his next job.  Of course, the Pete Carols of the world can run USC aground and then head off to the NFL, but kudos to the NCAA for directing part of the penalty at the offending coach. 

Tressell, who doesn’t seem like a bad guy, and, quite frankly, we don’t expect every coach to run to their compliance officer and the NCAA every time they get wind of college kids breaking some rule.  Seriously, who needs the aggravation and all the red tape when in most cases a simple “knock it off” will suffice.

(Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
We also presume even without consulting our poorly-paid stable of highly-esteemed attorneys, that the NCAA can’t legally ban anybody from coaching at a member institution.  However, they can have rules that make it much more difficult.

To that end, the NCAA hit Tressel with a “show-cause order” and that seems to make sense. Under a show-cause order, any school that hires Tressel would have to present its case for why it needed to employ him, and would risk severe penalties if he were to commit any further infractions after that.
As a result, Tressell, who like Carol, has found refuge in the pros, is unlikely to coach again at the D1 NCAA level, and almost most certainly he will be out of commission for five years.

Not a perfect solution in an imperfect world, but a pretty good attempt.  Of course, North Carolina, Miami, Oregon and Penn State among others, are waiting to see where the other shoes drops.

Let’s Go Bowling

By the way, according to a television advertisement seen just last night during the UNC v. Texas broadcast on ESPN2, Dos XXs' Most Interesting Man In The World bowls overhand...

Nice, Dos XXs, NICE!

#16 TCU 3, Louisiana Tech 24
Louisiana Tech Bulldog wide receiver Jacarri Jackson can’t make the catch while being defended by TCU’s Devin Johnson.  (Photo by David Hood/Cal Sport Media)

It’s Official: Withers To Ohio State

(AP Photo)
Penalties, schmenalties...

North Carolina interim coach Everett Withers is heading to Ohio State to become Urban Meyer’s co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach.
Withers had acknowledged he was a candidate to join the Meyer’s new staff last week and confirmed it was a done deal Wednesday.

“We’ve known each other for a couple years,” Withers said of Meyer. “A few years ago we talked when the Florida defensive coordinator job came open. So we’ve got a little bit of a past and I’m looking forward to the future with coach Meyer.”

Withers will coach the Tar Heels through their Independence Bowl against Missouri on Dec. 26, and soon after head to Columbus to start his new job. 

North Carolina hired Larry Fedora away from Southern Mississippi to be the Heels coach after the Golden Eagles play in the Hawaii Bowl against Nevada on Dec. 24.

FSU Running Back Ineligible For Champs Sports Bowl

(Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Dude, you gotta go to class!

Florida State senior running back Jermaine Thomas has been declared academically ineligible for the Champs Sports Bowl and will not play in his final college game. 

The Seminoles finished the regular season with the nation's No. 99 rushing offense, and Thomas is FSU’s second-leading rusher.    

Freshman Devonta Freeman has 531 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, and freshman James Wilder Jr. (150 rushing yards) will likely get Thomas’ carries. 

ACC Football Links

HILL #5 (Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
By Heather Dinich/ESPN

Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill and guard Omoregie Uzzi have both submitted paperworkto the NFL draft advisory board.

Will Utah be without its offensive coordinator in the Sun Bowl?

Maryland hasn't made a habit out of recruiting junior college players, but the Terps might have gotten some help on defense with this cornerback.

Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris has already had his contract upgraded, but coach Dabo Swinney is still waiting.

Will incoming UNC coach Larry Fedora bring most of his old staff with him?

It's good to be FSU punter Shawn Powell.

There was some controversy about the Sugar Bowl's invites this year.

Georgia Tech is trying to avoid its seventh straight bowl loss.

Virginia isn't expecting any dramatic changes to Auburn's defense.

UNC’s Jones Reinstated

(Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
North Carolina senior receiver Dwight Jones has been reinstated by the NCAA and will play in the Independence Bowl, according to a school spokesman.

Jones was declared ineligible by the university after it learned that he allowed his name and picture to be used on a flier promoting a party.

Jones caught 79 passes for 1,119 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. His reinstatement means that the Tar Heels don’t have to depend on true freshman kick returner T.J. Thorpe.

Best Unis Of The Day

Ben Laughlin of the Hurricanes dives to field a drive from Dwayne Bravo of the Sixers during the T20 Big Bash League match between the Hobart Hurricanes and the Sydney Sixers at Bellerive Oval on December 21, 2011 in Hobart, Australia.  (Photo by Hamish Blair/Getty Images AsiaPac)

Idiotic Quote Of The Day

(Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
“If he was hurt so bad I don't know why they let him back in ... two plays later. Something should be done to them, I would think. I don't know. I got a game, what should they get?”

-- Serial helmet-to-helmet hitter LB James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers on the Cleveland Browns being punished for his illegal hit on QB Colt McCoy.

Dude, stop talking.

What next? Jerry Sandusky’s attorney saying grown men should take showers with under privileged kids to teach them how to clean their bodies...

No, wait...that already happened...

Pictures Of The Day

The general view of the Texas Longhorns versus the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at the Dean Smith Center on December 21, 2011 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Darin Young of USA walks in before his match against Colin Lloyd of England during day six of the 2012 World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace on December 20, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images Europe)
Drew Miller #20 of the Detroit Red Wings dives to try and poke the puck away from Alexander Sulzer #52 of the Vancouver Canucks during the third period in NHL action on December 21, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
In their never-ending quest to recruit large and unusual twins, Duke has offered basketball scholarships to the Giant Pandas Oiqi and Znizhi seen her at the Chengdu Research Base in Sichuan, China.  (Photo by China Daily/Reuters)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Everywhere you go...

That said, this Fed Ex delivery guy is probably unemployed this morning and looking at a huge lump of coal.

 Evidently, the homeowners were home and Mr. Delivery Man didn’t see the security camera...

ACC Tuesday Night Scoreboard

(Max Schulte/AP Photo)
N.C. STATE 67, St. Bonaventure 65 -- C.J. Leslie scored with 0.6 seconds remaining off a full-court pass from C.J. Williams, giving North Carolina State a 67-65 win over St. Bonaventure on Tuesday night.

Eric Mosley tied the game for St. Bonaventure at 65-all with 3.1 seconds left. But Williams, a former high school quarterback, hurled his pass to Leslie, whose off-balance jumper hit the rim and fell through.

"We've tried it in practice, and it's only worked twice," Wolfpack coach Mark Gottfried said. "The odds were definitely against us."

The Bonnies' desperation inbounds pass was blocked as time expired, sealing N.C. State's win.

Scott Wood led the Wolfpack (7-4) with 20 points and Leslie scored 12.

Demetrius Conger and Andrew Nicholson each scored 16 for the Bonnies (5-5), and Mosley added 15.

Waning Football Links

JONES (Dr. Saturday)
By Heather Dinich/ESPN

North Carolina and the NCAA Part XXXVII begins: The Dwight Jones chapter

And there wasn't one arrest this past weekend at FSU, there were two.

The good news at FSU is that Mark Stoops isn't going anywhere.

For now, Virginia's coaching staff remains unchanged.

Clemson safety Rashard Hall is looking a lot more like his old self lately, but injuries have been a problem.

Virginia Tech defensive backs coach Torrian Gray says Jayron Hosley probably would have decided to leave early for the NFL regardless of what kind of season he had.

The Hokies added FCS opponent Austin Peay, which finished 3-8 this past year, to its 2012 schedule.

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas II

Everywhere you go.

One-and-Done former Duke Blue Devil Luol Deng dresses up like Santa...


Pittsburgh State won the DII Championship. (Photo by Marvin Gentry/US Presswire)
 Pittsburgh State. (Photo by Marvin Gentry/US Preswire
Pittsburgh State. (Photo by Dave Martin/AP Photo)
Wisconsin Whitewater won their thirds straight DIII title. (Photo by Don Petersen/AP Photo)

Let’s Go Bowling

Nothing says it’s almost Christmas like the Beef ‘O’ Brady St. Petersburg Bowl.

Underdog Marshall defeated Florida International 20-10.  

Merry Christmas Thundering Herd.
Wide receiver Aaron Dobson #3 of the Marshall Thundering grabs a 31-yard pass for a second quarter touchdown against the Florida International University Panthers. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Coach Doc Holliday of the Marshall Thundering Herd holds the championship trophy after the Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Pictures Of The Day

Just a bit outside...David Hussey of the Stars bats during the T20 Big Bash League match between the Brisbane Heat and the Melborne Stars at The Gabba on December 20, 2011 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images AsiaPac)
Jeremy Cota of USA during the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup Dual Moguls on December 20, 2011 in Meribel, France.  (Photo by Alain Grosclaude/Agence Zoom/Getty Images Europe)
The “recall man” waits in the middle of the track as the stalls open at Kempton racecourse on December 20, 2011 in Sunbury, England. (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images Europe)
Welcome to L.A.  Chris Paul newly of the Los Angeles Clippers shoots a free throw in front of Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers during a 114-95 Clipper win at Staples Center on December 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images North America)
Eloy Vargas #30 of the Kentucky Wildcats grabs a rebound during the game against the Samford Bulldogs at Rupp Arena on December 20, 2011 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America)
Joakim Noah and former Duke Blue Devil and current tattoo connoisseur Carlos Boozer of the Chicago Bulls reach for a rebound during their preseason game against the Indiana Pacers.  (Photo by Gary Dineeen/NBAE/Getty Images)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday Night ACC Scoreboard

JOHN HENSON (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
#5 NORTH CAROLINA 99, Nicholls State (Colonels, 7,093 students, Thibodaux. LA) 49 -- The Tar Heels got 72 (not a misprint, that’s 72A) rebounds and did nothing else right in a game that left Ol ‘Roy aggravated with everybody including himself.

“We weren’t focused, we weren’t ready to play and it’s my fault to make sure the guys don’t do that,” Williams said.

Freshman James Michael McAdoo added a season-high 14 points off the bench for the Tar Heels (10-2) as did Dexter Strickland, who still dominated the undersized and overmatched Colonels from the start. North Carolina finished with a 72-35 rebounding advantage, including 31 on the offensive glass that led to 36 second-chance points.

The 31 offensive boards were second-most in program history. The Tar Heels had 39 rebounds by halftime to match or exceed their total for six games this season, and their 72 for the game were tied for second in school history and the program’s most since 1956.

Most everything else against Nicholls State (4-8) was forgettable.

The folks working for Getty Images did get some great, at least they’ve got that goin’ for them.

(Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer)
#7 DUKE 90, UNC Greensboro (Spartans, 14,664 students, Greensboro, NC) 63 -- Freshman Quinn Cook scored all of his season-high 14 points in the second half, and No. 7 Duke routed UNC Greensboro.

Mason Plumlee had 15 points and 13 rebounds and Austin Rivers added 14 points for the Blue Devils (10-1). They shot 54 percent from the field, shook off a sluggish start and overcame 18 turnovers to win their third straight since the one-sided loss at No. 2 Ohio State.

Playing its first game since beating Washington on Dec. 10 in New York, Duke needed an 18-4 run late in the first half to take the lead for good. The Blue Devils then pulled away by opening the second half with a 29-8 burst that pushed the lead into the 30s.

GEORGIA TECH 65, Alabama A&M (Bulldogs, 4,380 students, Normal, AL) 54 -- Glen Rice Jr. scored 21 points and Mfon Udofia added all 16 of his in the second half to help Georgia Tech overcome a sluggish offensive start in a win over Alabama A&M on Monday night.

The Yellow Jackets (7-4) won their third straight despite turning the ball over on four of their first six possessions and 21 times overall. Georgia Tech trailed 10-5 eight minutes in despite the poor start, Georgia Tech rebounded behind its defense.

MARQUIS RANKIN (L) (Matt Gentry/
The Yellow Jackets who held their previous three opponents to 35-percent shooting or worse, held the Bulldogs (2-5) to 20-for-57 shooting (35.1 percent.) Georgia Tech took advantage of the misses, outrebounding Alabama A&M 47-22.

VIRGINIA TECH 84, North Florida (Ospreys, 16,719 students, Jacksonville, FL) 55 -- Dorenzo Hudson scored 16 points to help Virginia Tech win its fourth straight game.

With the win, the Hokies moved to 9-3 on the season. North Florida fell to 5-7 overall.

The Hokies broke open a close contest with an 8-0 run to close the first half. Jarell Eddie's 3-pointer with 3 seconds left - his only points of the half - gave Tech a 40-31 halftime lead.

CLEMSON 70, Alabama State (Hornets, 5,600 students, Montgomery, AL) 45 -- Devin Booker scored 13 points and Milton Jennings added 12 in leading the Tiger over Alabama State on Monday night at Littlejohn Coliseum.

BOOKER (Mark Crammer/Anderson Independent-Mail/AP)
It was Clemson's (6-4) second consecutive win heading into the Christmas holiday, which the team will spend in Honolulu, HI at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

The Tigers used offensive balance and defensive pressure to pick up the victory, much as they did in Saturday's 60-40 win over Winthrop. Booker was 3-of-7 from the floor, but he nailed seven of his eight free throw attempts and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Tigers in both categories. Jennings made all four of his field goal attempts and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the foul line. Clemson shot exactly fifty percent (24-48) for the game.

The two forwards led a solid effort for the Tigers inside. They outrebounded the Hornets 40-27 and brought down 12 offensive boards. 

Virginia Joins AP Top 25

Future ACC member Syracuse is on top of The Associated Press’ college basketball poll for a second week and UNLV, who defeated then #1 UNC earlier this season, and Virginia are newcomers to the Top 25.

The Orange (11-0) received 53 first-place votes Monday from the 64-member national media panel. The next six places remained the same from last week: Ohio State, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Baylor and Duke

Virginia, which was last in the rankings for one week early in 2007-08, moved into the #24 spot.

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