Wake, Duke pick up victories

Published 10:27 pm Saturday, February 25, 2023

WINSTON-SALEM (AP) — Tyree Appleby scored 21 points with six assists and four steals and Wake Forest pulled away from cold-shooting Notre Dame in the second half to earn a 63-56 win on Saturday night.

The Irish struggled through two prolonged scoring droughts in the second half, scoring just a field goal over a nine-minute stretch, and after Ven-Allen Lubin scored five straight points, went scoreless for another three minutes.

Wake Forest struggled through a drought of its own, going more than four minutes without scoring.

The teams combined to score 75 points in the first half and just 49 in the second.

Appleby hit 5 of 12 from distance, Andrew Carr added 11 points with seven rebounds and Bobi Klintman posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds for Wake Forest (18-11, 10-8 Atlantic Coast).

Notre Dame (10-19, 2-16) was led by Lubin’s 19 points with eight rebounds. Trey Wertz and Cormac Ryan each contributed 12 points. Wertz grabbed six rebounds and had five assists while Ryan had four steals.

Wake Forest’s Damari Monsanto underwent surgery to repair a torn Petella tendon on Saturday after going down with an injury in the waning seconds of Wednesday’s game at North Carolina State.

Wake Forest entertains Boston College on Tuesday in its final home game of the season. Notre Dame plays host to Pitt on Wednesday in Mike Brey’s final home game as coach of the Irish.

Roach has 19 points, 10 assists as Duke beats Virginia Tech 81-65
DURHAM (AP) — Jeremy Roach had 19 points and a career-high 10 assists, Mark Mitchell added 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting and Duke beat Virginia Tech 81-65 Saturday night for its 10th straight home win against the Hokies.

Virginia Tech had won back-to-back games in the series, including an 82-67 victory in the title game of 2022 ACC Tournament, but is 13-52 overall against the Blue Devils.

Seven different Duke players scored in a 17-2 run that culminated when Jacob Grandison hit a 3-pointer that gave the Blue Devils (21-8, 12-6 ACC) a 19-5 lead with 13 minutes left in the first half and Virginia Tech trailed the rest of the way. Mitchell made a layup that gave Duke an 11-point lead at intermission. Roach hit a 3 early in the second half that pushed the lead into double figures for good and Mitchell made two free throw to make it 61-37 with 13:34 remaining.

The Hokies missed five straight field-goal attempts and committed two turnovers during a scoring drought of five-plus minutes as Duke scored 16 consecutive points.

Dereck Lively II made 6 of 6 from the field and finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks for Duke. Kyle Filipowski scored 12 points and Tyrese Proctor added 10 points and five assists.

Grant Basile led Virginia Tech (16-13, 6-12) with 15 points and Sean Pedulla scored 12. Justyn Mutts and Rodney Rice added 11 points apiece.

The Blue Devils shot 56.7% (30 of 53) from the field and outrebounded Virginia Tech 37-26.

Duke has won four in a row following back-to-back road losses at No. 13 Miami and No. 6 Virginia.

Duke wraps up a three-game home stand Tuesday against N.C. State.


No. 1 Houston tops East Carolina to claim outright AAC title


AP Basketball Writer

GREENVILLE  (AP) — Marcus Sasser scored 22 points to help top-ranked Houston beat East Carolina 76-57 on Saturday night and clinch outright possession of the American Athletic Conference regular-season title.

Tramon Mark added 20 points for the Cougars (27-2, 15-1), while J’Wan Roberts had 17 points and 12 rebounds in Houston’s ninth straight victory.

And as with the long-running formula under Kelvin Sampson, the Cougars didn’t need a huge offensive performance to assert control of this one while leaning on defense and rebounding.

By halftime, the Cougars had blocked more shots (five) than the Pirates had even made (three) and led by 17. ECU finished the game shooting 32%, including 52% after halftime while trailing big, and Houston claimed a 48-28 rebounding advantage that included 19 second-chance points.

Sasser got off to a fast start before having to leave after rolling his right ankle, which happened as he bumped into ECU screener Brandon Johnson away from the ball. He had to be helped off the court and taken to the locker room, though he returned minutes later to make it a brief absence for the team’s leading scorer.

East Carolina (14-14, 5-10) had an energetic home crowd for the first-ever visit from a No. 1-ranked team to Minges Coliseum, as well as the program’s first game against a top-ranked opponent in more than 31 years. But the Cougars never trailed and led for all but 56 seconds.

Ezra Ausar scored 15 points to lead the Pirates, which got as close as 50-35 after halftime on Jaden Walker’s 3-pointer at the 11:37 mark. In fact, it was the first of three times that ECU pulled to within 15 — yet Houston answered immediately each time to keep the Pirates from sustaining any true momentum toward a stunning upset.


Houston: The Cougars have been rolling right along toward March with the kind of defensive efficiency that can make offensive possessions an adventure for opponents. And they arrived as the the only team in KenPom’s metrics to rank in the top 10 nationally of adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. Outside of the brief scare when Sasser went down, Houston had a relatively low-drama trip to the state of North Carolina and claimed at least a share of the AAC regular-season crown for the fourth time in five seasons.

ECU: Pirates fans had memories of Houston’s last visit here two years ago, when the Pirates stunned the fifth-ranked Cougars for their lone win against a top-5 opponent and their first win against any AP Top 25 team in nearly two decades. This time, under first-year coach Michael Schwartz, they were getting their fourth shot against the No. 1-ranked team and first since losing at Duke in November 1991. But the Pirates saw any chance to a repeat upset wither amid that 3-for-25 shooting in the first half, including going the last 10:56 without a basket as Houston’s lead grew.