WINSTON-SALEM - A perfect storm of poor play, bad luck and ill-timed injury left a black cloud hanging over Joel Coliseum as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets upset Wake Forest 79-70 Saturday. Georgia Tech went 6-13 from behind the arc while Wake played the second half without star sophomore Codi Miller-McIntyre, who turned an ankle battling for a loose ball just before halftime.
Georgia Tech (12-10, 3-6) dominated the boards, out-rebounding the Deacs 33-24. Devin Thomas (7 points, 9 rebounds) struggled for the second straight game, as he was matched with Tech's defensive standout Daniel Miller (16 points, 14 rebounds). Miller harassed Thomas into 7 of the Deacs' 16 turnovers, adding to the Deacons' woes.
"We beat a very good team today," Tech head coach Brian Gregory said. "A team that is young and I think it was a little bit of a hangover from the Syracuse game the other night. They played really hard and had a chance down the stretch."
Wake Forest (14-8, 4-5 ACC) was led by Travis McKie's 26 points and 4 steals. Miller-McIntyre tallied 10 points at the time of his injury, having displayed his trademark aggressiveness that was lacking nights earlier against Syracuse.
"He turned his ankle and was unable to go," Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "I'm sure he will be day-to-day."
The Deacons whittled the Tech lead to 5 after a McKie three-pointer with 3:16 remaining, and the teams exchanged misses before noted Wake-killer Marcus Georges-Hunt (23 points, 3 rebounds) pushed the lead to 7 after a layup. Miller finally iced the game for the Jackets after converting a three-point play dunk over Devin Thomas.
"When he got hurt, you know they selected Devin (Thomas) to shoot the free throw and he misses hit and when they come down and hit a three before halftime and that was a big momentum changer," McKie said. "Then we were down 10 and we couldn't get over that hump."
After the grueling loss to Syracuse late Wednesday night, Wake Forest could ill afford to come out lacking intensity- yet that is exactly what happened. Bzdelik noted that Tech seemed too comfortable shooting the ball early, evidenced by the 6 first half three-pointers. By the time Wake Forest gathered themselves to make a run, they were already in a hole and without perhaps their best player.
The Deacs don't have much time to cry over this glass of spilled milk, what with a visit to Duke looming on Tuesday night. Miller-McIntyre said after the game that he would play against the Devils, which will be key if Wake wants to have a chance to win.
"It's a bad loss for us," Bzdelik said. "We will just have to get back to the practice floor tomorrow and regroup and keep fighting through this."