Saturday , Mar , 04 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

ACC foes collide, as Eagles try to soar past Hokies

(Sports Network) – The 12th-ranked Boston College Eagles will close out their
first regular season in the ACC this afternoon, as they play host to the
Virginia Tech Hokies in conference action from the Conte Forum in Chestnut
Hill. Al Skinner’s Eagles are tied with NC State for third place in the ACC
and have already secured a first-round bye in the upcoming conference
tournament. BC has won two straight games and seven of its last eight overall
to move to 23-6 on the season, including a 10-5 mark in-conference. On
Tuesday, the Eagles recorded a resounding 80-65 win over Wake Forest.

The Hokies have not had similar success this year, sitting at .500 overall
(14-14) and a dismal 4-11 in ACC action. Tech is limping into the postseason
with losses in four of its last five games, including an 86-81 setback to
Clemson on Wednesday. The Eagles hold a 7-2 edge in the all-time series
with the Hokies and are looking for the regular season sweep, after posting
a hard-fought 74-73 decision in Blacksburg on February 4th. In all, BC has
won four in a row against Virginia Tech.

Four Hokies reached double figures this week against Clemson, but it wasn’t
enough to secure the victory at home at the Cassell Coliseum. Zabian Dowdell
led the way with 17 points, on 7-of-9 shooting. Coleman Collins was right
behind, just missing a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Deron
Washington poured in 15 points, followed by Jamon Gordon’s 13. Tech played a
solid offensive game, but got caught by a streaky Clemson team, which hit 13
three-pointers in the game, including 11 in the second half.

Despite averaging just under 70 points per game this year (69.5), Tech is
certainly not void of offensive talent. Four players are averaging double
digits at this time, led by Dowdell’s 15.4 ppg. Collins is right there as well
(15.3 ppg) and paces the team on the boards (7.1 rpg). Gordon is next in line
(11.3 ppg) and leads the team in assists (127), while making his presence
felt on the glass (5.9 rpg) as well. Washington (10.8 ppg) finishes off the
scoring depth and also helps out on the boards (5.1 rpg).

The Eagles have made a smooth transition into the ACC, with stellar defensive
play and enough offense to keep things balanced. The team is shooting a steady
.477 from the floor, leading to 74.3 ppg. At the other end of the floor,
opponents are managing just 65.8 ppg, while being forced into 14 turnovers per
outing. Forwards Craig Smith and Jared Dudley form on of the top frontcourt
tandems in the league. Smith paces the team in both scoring (17.1 ppg) and
rebounding (8.7 rpg) and is shooting a remarkable .571 from the floor. Dudley
isn’t far behind in either category (16.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg). Sean Marshall
provides balanced scoring from the perimeter (12.0 ppg), getting plenty of
help on the outside by freshman Tyrese Rice (9.3 ppg, 53 three-pointers).

In the big win over the Demon Deacons this week, it was once again the Smith
and Dudley show. Smith hit 9-of-15 shots from the floor and finished
with 23 points and eight rebounds. Dudley was just 5-of-11 from the field,
but 10-of-10 from the charity stripe to add 22 points. Point guard Louis
Hinnant had a strong all-around game, with 10 points, six rebounds and five