Wake Forest snaps 3-game skid, beats Georgia Tech 79-62
The teams combined to hit 20 of their first 35 shots from the field, including an 11-of-19 effort by the Demon Deacons, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Wake Forest (10-16, 3-11 Atlantic Coast Conference) was able to string together a 10-0 run that gave it a 36-26 lead following a Mitchell Wilbekin 3-pointer with 3:43 remaining in the first half.
Wilbekin and Brandon Childress each added 11 points for Wake Forest, which committed a season-low five turnovers – more than eight fewer than its 13.2 season average.
”We did a good job of not forcing passes, going to meet passes and making ourselves available as a receiver,” Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said. ”We made a lot of hockey assists out there tonight with our passing – somebody would get a pass and have a shot, but then give it up to somebody else for a better shot. We were very unselfish tonight.”
Crawford, a junior, tied a season-high by dishing out nine assists without committing a turnover.
”Just making that extra pass was the difference,” Crawford said. ”(There was) no point in shooting a contested shot if somebody else is open.”
Josh Okogie had 20 points and Ben Lammers added 14 for Georgia Tech (11-15, 4-9). The Yellow Jackets, who entered Wednesday making a league-worst 4.92 3-pointers a game, connected on only one of its nine attempts from behind the arc.
It was the first game for Georgia Tech since Jose Alvarado suffered a season-ending elbow injury during last week’s loss at Duke. Alvarado, a freshman, had started every game at point guard this season. Okogie, a sophomore, took over the bulk of point guard duties against Wake Forest and finished with one assist and four turnovers.
”Josh is our point guard, two guard and three guard and it’s tough – he didn’t have a real efficient game,” Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. ”One of our Achilles’ heals has been turnovers. And it’s as bad as it’s ever been for me around a team with the injury bug. . But we’ve got to adjust.”
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets have now lost four straight and eight of their last nine games dating back to a 64-48 loss to then-No. 22 Virginia on Jan. 18, a defeat that snapped a run of four consecutive wins.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons had lost 10 of their last 11 games going into Wednesday, yet are now three games ahead of Pittsburgh for last place in the ACC with four regular-season games remaining.
Wake Forest had 11 players log at least four minutes against the Yellow Jackets and Manning emptied his 15-man bench down the stretch. Nine different players scored for the Demon Deacons, their second-highest total this season.
”We tried to throw a lot of different bodies at them, wear them down and push the tempo,” Manning said. ”It worked out well for us.”
WHERE’S THE D?
Pastner scolded his team at halftime for allowing Wake Forest to shot 62 percent and connect on 6 of 8 3-point attempts during the first half. The Demon Deacons’ points total was the fourth time a team scored at least 79 points in Georgia Tech’s last seven games that ended in regulation (all losses).
”I told them `You guys are so nice. We need a little more junkyard dog out of you, man. A little more personal accountability, a little more pride’,” Pastner said.
Georgia Tech plays host on Saturday to Virginia Tech, which lost at No. 12 Duke 74-52 on Wednesday for only its second loss in its last seven games.
Wake Forest, which hasn’t won back-to-back games since beating Coastal Carolina, 84-80, on Dec. 18, plays host to North Carolina State on Saturday.