Wake Forest hit an 80-foot three-pointer right before the half to take a 7-point lead, but it wasn’t enough stop the Hokies from defeating the Demon Deacons 99-90 in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Wednesday night. Greg McClinton’s shot was the first three-pointer he had made all season, but it was enough to give Wake a 44-37 halftime lead. Fortunately, it didn’t matter in the end.
Tech improved to 22-9 with the win, which was their fifth Top 50 win of the season. They are a lock for the NCAA Tournament. Wake Forest dropped to 19-13 overall, and though their computer numbers are strong, they await their NCAA Tournament fate.
Wake beat Virginia Tech 89-84 in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon, but despite senior forward Zach LeDay being a mismatch against projected first round pick John Collins, the Hokies were able to pull away with the win in the second half by scoring a whopping 62 points over the final 20 minutes.
LeDay had 24 points and 10 rebounds against Collins on Saturday, but he came up with an even bigger game on Wednesday night. Going head to head with the projected first round pick, LeDay finished with a career-high 31 points. He also tied a career-high with 15 rebounds. He pulled down seven offensive rebounds, and was an impressive 14-of-18 from the free throw line. Collins had 15 points and 10 rebounds in 33 minutes before fouling out.
Virginia Tech trailed for the majority of the first half, and they were down 41-37 with under two seconds in the first half. At that point Buzz Williams called a timeout to get a last second shot, but it was Wake Forest backup forward Greg McClinton who came up with the loose ball and tossed in an 80-foot three-pointer to give the Demon Deacons the 44-37 lead at halftime. It was McClinton’s first made three-pointer of his career, and his first three-point attempt of the season.
Despite the bad luck the end the first half, Virginia Tech was able to outpace Wake Forest over the final 20 minutes. Let’s take a look at the shooting percentages for both teams over the course of the game. First, we’ll start with Virginia Tech…
First half FG: 44.1%
First half 3-Pt.: 27.3%
Second half FG: 61.5%
Second half 3-Pt.: 53.8%
Overall FG: 51.7%
Overall 3-Pt.: 41.7%
And now Wake Forest…
First half FG: 51.7%
First half 3-Pt.: 66.7%
Second half FG: 44.4%
Second half 3-Pt.: 26.7%
Overall FG: 47.7%
Overall 3-Pt.: 41.7%
As you can see, it was a tale of two halves, with Virginia Tech’s second half overcoming Wake Forest’s first half. Despite the miracle shot by the Deacs at the end of the first half, which came on a steal off a Virginia Tech inbounds pass with 1.6 seconds left, the Hokies were able to take control of the game in the second half. Tech led by as many as many as 12 points in the second half, and though Wake cut the lead to four points in the final seconds, Tech was never seriously threatened late in the game.
Besides LeDay’s monster performance, four other Hokies scored in double figures…
Seth Allen: 18 points
Justin Bibbs: 15 points (1 of 9 shooting in the first half, but 4 of 4 in the second half)
Ty Outlaw: 14 points (all points in the second half)
Ahmed Hill: 12 points
Justin Robinson injured his ankle early in the game, and he was noticeably limping in the second half. He finished with just five points, but he dished out seven assists. The Hokies had 15 assists on 31 made field goals, and they committed just eight turnovers over 40 minutes of basketball. When you only commit eight turnovers and you shoot 51.7% from the field, you are going to have a very efficient night offensively.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Thursday night when they take on #2 seed Florida State. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will be televised by ESPN and The ACC Network.