Another Tech game went down to the wire. This time the Hokies fell to Wake Forest 73-70 in Winston-Salem, dropping them to 9-12 overall and 1-7 in the ACC. The Demon Deacons are now 10-12, with a 2-7 mark in league play.
The Hokies led early 10-4, but Wake Forest took control and pushed their lead out to as many as seven points before the intermission. Tech got back into it in the final seconds when Devin Wilson nailed a deep three-pointer to make the game 32-28 at halftime.
However, Wake Forest started fast in the second half, pushing their lead out to nine points in the opening minute. The Hokies kept battling, going on several mini-runs, but the Demon Deacons always managed to keep them at arms length. At the 12:45 mark of the second half, Wake led 49-39, and that was their largest lead of the game.
Tech kept plugging away, however, cutting the Wake Forest lead to just one point on six occasions. It seemed like every time the Hokies got within one point, the Deacons would respond by making a big shot. Finally Tech broke through with 1:52 remaining when Devin Wilson found and open Christian Beyer under the basket for an open layup to put the Hokies up 65-64.
The lead was short-lived however, as Wake Forest freshman Mitchell Wilbekin responded with a three-pointer to give his team a two-point lead. Justin Bibbs, in his first game back from a concussion, tied it up with two free throws however, and the game went down to the wire. With Wake up 73-70, a three-point attempt by Bibbs was just off. The ball went out of bounds to the Hokies with 0.4 seconds left, but they were unable to get a shot off in time and the Demon Deacons held on to win.
It was a game of “what-ifs” for the Hokies. Bibbs had an open look that would have tied the game, Adam Smith went just 2-of-8 from outside the arc despite numerous open looks, Ahmed Hill missed a layup in traffic on a breakaway, and they couldn’t rebound a late free-throw miss by Wilbekin. Wilbekin missed both of his attempts with 34 seconds left, and there was a scramble for the rebound, with the ball going off the Hokies. Wake inbounded, Wilbekin was fouled again, and he promptly made both free throws to make it a 71-67 game.
Adam Smith led Tech with 12 points, but it was an off night shooting for him. Devin Wilson added 11 points and six assists, while Ahmed Hill had 11 points and five rebounds. Malik Mueller finished wiht 10 points, five rebounds and two steals, while Christian Beyer added 10 points and six rebounds.
The Hokies shot 17-of-20 (85%) from the free throw line, wasting one of their best free throw shooting efforts of the season. Wake outrebounded Tech 36-32. In terms of scoring opportunities, the game went like this…
Offensive rebounds: Wake 15, VT 10 – five more scoring opportunities for Wake
Turnovers: Wake 9, VT 11 – two more scoring opportunities for Wake
The Demon Deacons attempted four more field goals than Tech, and shot seven more free throws. They outscored Tech 14-4 in second chance points.
This was Tech’s eighth one possession game of the season, and they are 2-6 in such games. It was their third one possession game in a row.
The Hokies return to action on Tuesday night when they battle Syracuse on the road. Tipoff is scheduled for 9pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.