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January 22, 2014

Wake Fends Off VT 83-77

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It was a hot streak unlike any Virginia Tech had seen in some time. Unfortunately, that streak belonged to visiting Wake Forest.

Despite dropping three of their previous four games, the Demon Deacons scorched the nets early and took a commanding lead. Though they trailed by double digits for much of the game, the Hokies drew within single digits late. But Wake Forest made the shots and plays it needed and fended off Virginia Tech for an 83-77 win.

Freshman guard Devin Wilson had 26 points while playing all 40 minutes of the loss. Senior forward Jarell Eddie added 20 points, though he shot 5-16 from the field, while freshman forward Trevor Thompson had 10 points and 12 rebounds.

"We dug ourselves too deep of a hole to come out of," coach James Johnson said. "I thought we did a good job fighting in the second half, but it was just too much for us."

The Hokies didn't do themselves any favors to start, missing their first 10 field goals of the game and scoring only on a pair of free throws by Eddie. Demon Deacons senior forward Travis McKie, meanwhile, was on fire, hitting his first four three-pointers of the game.

As a team, though, Wake Forest was on a roll, shooting at over 60 percent from the floor for much of the first half. Eddie provided some relief for the Hokies, with 10 first half points, but he made just 2-7 shots to get there.

"It's a little troubling (that VT came out flat), but it's something that can always be fixed," Wilson said. "We've gotta come out the next game with energy and we've gotta play two halves with energy, not just one half, which is what we seem to be doing. We've gotta get out of that funk."

Meanwhile, the Demon Deacons didn't look like a team that was just 1-27 in ACC road games under coach Jeff Bzdelik. Wake Forest blistered the nets, shooting 54.8 percent from the floor in the first half, including 7-10 three-pointers. Virginia Tech connected on just 7-31 shots from the field, good for 22.6 percent and trailed 43-27 at halftime The only saving grace for the Hokies were four three-pointers and 9-13 free throw shooting.

Virginia Tech got a bit of life to start the second half, as a three-pointer by Eddie cut the deficit to 44-34 with 18:03 still to play. Using a 9-3 run, the Hokies trailed 46-36.

The Demon Deacons calmly responded though, with an 11-2 run of their own to get the lead back to 57-38 with 14:20 left. After drawing within 13 on three occasions, Virginia Tech got to within 68-58 after a three-pointer and pair of free throws by Wilson with 5:12 left

A three-pointer by Eddie drew the Hokies to within 71-63 with 2:56 to go, but missed free throws a few turnovers and defensive misses wouldn't let them get much closer. A pair of desperation three-pointer by Wilson in the final seconds made the final score look closer than the game was.

McKie finished with 24 points, after cooling a bit in the second half. His teammate, Codi Miller-McIntyre, had 20 points and 10 rebounds, the first Wake Forest player to do so since Chris Paul in 2004.

"We're still working, we're still getting better," Eddie said. "We're still gonna play every game like it's the next game. We're not giving up, we're not saying our season is gonna be over. We've just gotta keep working in practice, get better and learn from our mistakes in these games."

Virginia Tech has now lost seven of its past eight games to fall to 1-5 in the ACC, 8-10 overall. The Hokies travel to Virginia for a 3 p.m. tip-off Saturday.

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