Dennis Smith Jr.’s best scoring game (31 points) of the season included his best outing at the foul line in ACC play and a new wrinkle.
Smith added a pull-up jumper to his repertoire in Sunday’s 86-76 loss to Georgia Tech.
The shot chart:
Five of his 21 field-goal attempts were pull-ups, or shots where he was going to the basket, stopped and set his feet and got off a good shot. This is different than a step-back where he goes to the basket and then steps back to create space.
Step-backs have been a problem this conference season for Smith (see chart) or least they were before Sunday.
The free-throw line was another problem spot before the visit from the Yellow Jackets. Smith made 7 of his 10 free throws (or 70 percent) against the Jackets. He had been shooting 58.9 percent from the foul line in the first four ACC games.
It was also the first time in ACC play Smith made 50 percent or more of his 3-point attempts (4 of 8). Smith was only 6 of 19 from the arc in the first four ACC games.
It was the second straight game that Smith had to take a breather with an injury concern. At Boston College, he got an elbow to the face and missed a 2-minute stretch in the second half. On Sunday, he turned his right ankle with about 4:50 left in the second half while defending Georgia Tech guard Josh Heath. Smith left the game at 4:15 and went to the locker room for treatment but returned at 3:17.
Joe Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio