"We live in the moment, and this is a great moment." - Wake Forest Head Coach Jeff Bzdelik
Devin Thomas picked a good night to record his first career double-double, scoring 25 points and grabbing 14 rebounds to lead the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to an 86-84 upset win over 18th-ranked North Carolina State on Tuesday in Winston-Salem. Travis McKie added 16 points and 8 rebounds, while Codi Miller-McIntyre added 15 points of his own as the Deacs shot a blistering 59 percent from the floor during a furious second half rally.
Wake Forest (10-8, 3-3 ACC) was down by as many as 16 points in the first half, thanks to the contributions of T.J. Warren and Rodney Purvis, who had 12 and 11 points, respectively. The Pack shot 56 percent from the field in the first half en route to a 12-point halftime lead. The Deacons stepped up the defense in the second, holding the Pack to 41 percent shooting while scoring 15 points off turnovers.
North Carolina State (15-4, 4-2 ACC) was led by forward Rodney Purvis' 18 points and 6 rebounds. Wolfpack star C.J. Leslie was held to 13 points, largely because he was saddled with foul trouble for most of the game. The Deacons scored 20 points off turnovers, and converted 16 offensive rebounds into 24 second chance points.
"I'm not a guy who makes excuses and blames anybody, but the fact that we were all somewhat saddled with fouls probably made our team cautious." - North Carolina State Head Coach Mark Gottfried
In a highly-charged sequence that brought the home crowd to its feet, Wake Forest tied the game at 64 on a McKie dunk with 10:12 remaining. Seventeen seconds later, Thomas stole the ball from Scott Wood and gave the Demon Deacons the lead with a thunderous slam of his own. After trading baskets and the lead, Wake Forest eventually went on a 12-0 run to grab a 10-point lead with 4:11 remaining.
The Wolfpack wasn't finished, however, responding with a run of their own to cut the 83-82. Alas, they would get no closer as the Tie-Dye Nation stormed the court for the first time in recent memory.
Wake Forest next plays at Georgia Tech on Saturday, while North Carolina State looks to rebound at home against North Carolina.