College Basketball Nation: Lonnie Jackson

Conference Power Rankings: ACC

January, 11, 2013
Can we just call places 3 through 6 a tie? After the first week of ACC play, it’s harder than ever to judge the middle of the league pack. But here are this week’s ACC Power Rankings, based on myriad factors, including how teams have performed lately and the foes they've faced:

1. Duke. Still undefeated, still No. 1 after victories over Wake Forest and Clemson. But the Blue Devils will be tested Saturday not only by an NC State team that has won nine in a row, but by playing without senior forward Ryan Kelly, who is out indefinitely with an injured right foot.

2. NC State. The Wolfpack was picked to win the ACC during the preseason by both media and coaches, and Saturday’s home game against the Blue Devils will show if it has what it takes to make that push. Lorenzo Brown, with 21 points against Georgia Tech, was the latest to lead his team in scoring. Who’s next?

3. Miami. The Hurricanes have never started 2-0 in the ACC -- until now. Senior forward Kenny Kadji had 18 points to help break his team’s 10-game losing streak to UNC on Thursday night, and sixth-year senior Julian Gamble (14 points against the Tar Heels) has been filling in admirably for the injured Reggie Johnson.

4. Maryland. Dez Wells had a bad shooting night, Alex Len at times got pushed around, and the Terps saw their 13-game winning streak snapped via a 12-point comeback by Florida State. Whether they bounce back at Miami this weekend could be a good indication of whether they’re a top-tier ACC team.

5. Florida State. Junior forward Okaro White has come up big during the Seminoles’ 2-0 ACC start, averaging 17.5 points and 8 rebounds. And so has his team. "We sat down, the juniors and seniors, with the young guys and told them we have to stop talking, and we have to show them how hard you have to play,’’ White told

6. Virginia. Beat North Carolina, only to lose to Wake Forest? It might be that sort of topsy-turvy season for the Cavs, who should get more and more of a boost as senior guard Jontel Evans, who returned from injury last weekend, gets more and more back in sync with the offense.

7. North Carolina. Coach Roy Williams said his team was stressed in the locker room after losing to Miami on Thursday night. And for good reason: This marks only the fourth time UNC has ever started 0-2 in the ACC, and things won’t get any easier at Florida State on Saturday.

8. Boston College. The Eagles have now won six of their past seven games, and gave NC State a scare in their only loss since Dec. 4. Sophomore Lonnie Jackson has posted double digit points for three consecutive games, including a season-high 22 at Virginia Tech.

9. Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets had a six-game winning streak broken by the start of ACC play. Tech is shooting just 35.2 percent during its 0-2 conference start.

10. Wake Forest. Despite shooting just 26 percent after halftime and failing to score a field goal for the final 10 minutes, the Deacs survived Virginia’s comeback attempt. “We stayed with it,” Wake Forest forward Travis McKie told The Times-News. “I think early in the season we would’ve put our head down and had a pity party. But we stayed with it and continued to fight hard.” Wake has now won five of seven games.

11. Clemson. The Tigers scored only 10 points, on just 12 percent shooting, in the first half at Duke on Wednesday. Yikes. Devin Booker has posted two double-doubles in Clemson’s 0-2 ACC start.

12. Virginia Tech. Already-undermanned Tech was down to six scholarship players during its midweek loss to BC, thanks to illness and injury. Erick Green continues to lead the nation in scoring, but the Hokies have now lost four in a row, and are 0-2 in ACC play.

BC's upset bid falls short vs. NC State

January, 5, 2013

NEWTON, Mass. -- When trying to upset a top-25 team on your home floor, there are certain things you just can't do:

  • You can't take bad shots, heaving up deep 3s like you're playing "NBA Jam" and a hot spot just appeared beneath your feet.
  • You can't miss free throws, giving up chances at unhindered points.
  • You can't commit bad fouls, such as running into the ballhandler 60-odd feet from the rim with your team in the penalty.
  • And you can't suddenly go cold from the floor, failing to score for minutes at a time.

History tells us you can't do those things and win. Yet the Boston College Eagles did all those things and still had a chance to upset No. 23 NC State in a nationally televised game late Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles didn't always take smart shots, shot 64.9 percent from the free-throw line, committed bad fouls and went long stretches without scoring, but still found themselves neck-and-neck with the Wolfpack late in the second half.

After Joe Rahon hit the first of two free throws to tie the game at 59, his second shot bounced long and Ryan Anderson tipped it to Patrick Heckmann to give BC another shot. Lonnie Jackson converted, nailing a 3 to put the Eagles up 62-59 with less than six minutes to play.

That was a glimpse of the good things the young Eagles did, and got the crowd fired up. But the next possession was a glimpse of the bad, as Rodney Purvis wound up wide open off an inbounds pass and hit a 3 to tie the game.

BC wouldn't lead again. With time running down late, trailing by three, Rahon had a good look at a game-tying 3 but the shot fell short, clanging off the front iron. NC State got the rebound and held on for a 78-73 victory.

[+] EnlargeJoe Rahon
AP Photo/Michael DwyerBC's Joe Rahon (25) and NC State's Lorenzo Brown (2) battle for a loose ball in Saturday's first half.
"As I told the guys, I thought we did a lot of things really well in terms of things that you're gonna need to do to win the game," BC coach Steve Donahue said. "I thought we were tough and physical and competed and took care of the basketball, fought through adversity with foul trouble.

"But to win a game against as talented a team as that, we gotta do certain things that we typically do. One of them is shoot foul shots. We're a better foul-shooting team than that."

The Eagles came into the game shooting 74 percent from the line. Hitting that average might not have made the difference Saturday, but it would've helped.

"Hopefully it was just one of those fluke things," Anderson said. "We have great shooters on this team throughout the whole roster. Hopefully we just move on to the next game and I think they'll drop in the next one."

"When it comes to game time, we've gotta knock 'em in," Rahon said. "There's no excuse for missing 'em."

The game was entertaining, seesawing back and forth throughout.

BC ripped off a 10-1 run in the first, then NC State answered with a 12-2 run. NC State opened the second with an 8-2 run to take a seven-point lead before BC answered with a 9-2 run of its own to tie it at 39.

The Eagles (8-6, 0-1 ACC), winners of five straight entering the game, weren't surprised to be hanging with the Wolfpack (12-2, 1-0), winners of seven straight coming in and eight straight going out.

"We know we can play with anybody," Rahon said. "So staying close with NC State -- maybe should've beaten NC State -- we expect to be in that situation. … Just being in those kind of situations, in the future down the road it will prove to have helped us.

"But right now we're just disappointed we didn't come through."