akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

NEW YORK — The two combatants in the first game of the 2022 ACC Tournament quarterfinals gave a pointed example of a long-held aphorism attributed to, most likely erroneously, to Aristotle: the more you know, the more you know you don’t know.

Considering that the top-seeded Duke Blue Devils had swept No. 9 Syracuse in both games this season — including a 25-point beatdown at the Carrier Dome two weekends ago — and First-Team All-ACC selection Buddy Boeheim was suspended for the game after a punch thrown in yesterday’s win, a close game should have been far from the offing to begin Coach K’s final go-round in the ACC Tournament.

The more we know…

Syracuse did more than just make up the numbers on the court, opening up a lead as much as seven in the second half before a late surge lifted the Blue Devils to an 88-79 victory to advance to the semifinals. In Buddy’s absence, big brother Jimmy turned in a shooting display much like the ones his kid brother is accustomed to, hitting six threes on his way to a game-high 28 points. One of Jimmy’s two-pointers gave Syracuse a 52-45 five minutes into the second half, giving the lively Barclays Center crowd something to cheer for: Duke fans cheering for Blue Devils, the legion of Orange fans cheering for Syracuse, and the neutrals who, more than likely, were also cheering for the underdog.

Though Syracuse held an advantage on the perimeter for a good portion of the game, Duke’s freshman center Mark Williams pounded the Orange inside, scoring 15 points and grabbing eight rebounds in the second half alone. The dominance inside eventually led to Duke putting in the dagger from beyond the arc, with Jeremy Roach going 4-for-5 from three in the second half, and his final three of the quarter gave Duke an 85-79 advantage with 1:07 remaining.

Duke is now one step away from the final, where it will have to get by the Miami Hurricanes tomorrow after they used a buzzer-beating layup from Jordan Miller to down the cinderella story of the tournament, No. 13 Boston College, 71-69 in overtime.

In the first game of the evening session, No. 7 Virginia Tech continued to burnish its bubbly NCAA Tournament résumé, taking out the second-seeded Notre Dame Fighting Irish 87-80. Both teams shot north of 53 percent in the game, but the Hokies were a little sharper in knocking down 57.4 percent of its shots for the game and shooting a whopping 66 percent (16-for-24) in the game’s final 20 minutes.

The nightcap was a stark contrast to the Hokies and Fighting Irish in terms of offensive efficiency, as No. 3 North Carolina stymied Virginia’s offense all game en route to 63-43 victory. Neither team shot over 40 percent from the field, but the Tar Heels’ size proved decisive as it outrebounded the Cavaliers 46-32 and led to Carolina attempting 13 more field goal attempts in the game.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday’s quarterfinal games, with all photos taken by ALOST photographers Robert Cole and Danny Suriel. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are XX pictures in total.

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Tags : Atlantic Coast ConferenceBoston College EaglesDuke Blue DevilsMiami HurricanesNorth Carolina Tar HeelsNotre Dame Fighting IrishSyracuse OrangeVirginia CavaliersVirginia Tech Hokies

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