Virginia Tech defeated Wake Forest 93-91 in a thriller in Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night to improve to 11-6 overall and 3-1 in the ACC. The Demon Deacons dropped to 10-6 overall and 1-3 in league play.
Tech also suffered through some foul trouble on the interior. Zach LeDay played just 27 minutes because of fouls, and Kerry Blackshear was on the court for only 13 minutes. Overall, that’s not exactly how you would draw up a victory over a team as talented as Wake Forest.
Fortunately Wake’s defense was just as poor as Tech’s. The Hokies shot exactly 50% from the field, but they did their most damage from the free throw line. Tech was 29-of-35 (82.9%) from the charity stripe, and they also committed just six turnovers to Wake Forest’s 16. Tech scored 24 points off turnovers to Wake’s seven. That, combined with the free throw shooting, was the difference in the game.
Justin Bibbs scored a career-high 32 points. He was 12-of-18 from the field and 3-of-7 from three-point range. Bibbs, who normally scores most of his points from the three-point line, flashed a much more diverse offense game.
Zach LeDay added 20 points despite the foul trouble, and he was a perfect 4-of-4 from three-point range. Freshman point guard Justin Robinson added 16 points, and was 10-of-12 from the free throw line. It was his best offensive game in a Tech uniform.
Though the Hokies led by as many as 10 points, they had to scratch and claw their way to a win. Leading 91-90, Kerry Blackshear went to the free throw line with six seconds left. Blackshear was 15-of-31 from the free throw line this season up to that point, but he drained both foul shots to give his team a three-point lead.
The drama wasn’t over, however. Cody Miller-McIntyre attempted a last second three-pointer, and he leaned into Justin Bibbs as he took the shot. Bibbs was whistled for the foul, which gave the Demon Deacons three free throws with just a second remaining. Miller-McIntyre missed the first free throw, which meant he had to make the second and then miss the last one intentionally in hopes of an offensive rebound and a tip-in. He made the second, but his intentional miss went out-of-bounds, and the Hokies were able to inbound the ball and run the clock out.
Virginia Tech is now 3-1 in the ACC, which represents their best start since they began league play 4-1 back in 2008-09.
The Hokies return to action this Saturday when they travel to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech. Tip-off is scheduled for noon, and the game will be televised by RSN. Check your local listings.