Wake Forest got off to a hot start and survived an early second half rally to top the Yellow Jackets 87 to 69 Wednesday night in Winston-Salem...
James Johnson was able to get the Deacs off to a great start, taking the tip and slamming it home to make an early statement. He finished with a very efficient and team high 24 points (10-12 shooting) and 11 rebounds. Wake doubled up Georgia Tech at one point in the first half 40-20, but the hot outside shooting of Lewis Clinch and Iman Shumpert brought the Rambling Wreck back to within 11 by halftime.
Tech continued to cut into the lead after the half, getting to within five before Ishmael Smith came off the bench to give Wake a huge lift. Smith's penetration and dishes to Johnson on consecutive plays got the Deacons rolling again and allowed them to create a comfortable margin by the seven minute mark. After the game, we were able to catch up with starting guard LD Williams regarding the play of Ish Smith.
"For Ish to be able to come off the bench and give the spark like that, he was obviously the difference maker in the game," Williams said. "He hit a big three in the second half and had a lot of assists today. He really opened up the floor for us tonight and allowed us to execute the offense. He can really push the ball with the best of them, that's what he does." Smith finished the game with 11 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals for the Demon Deacons.
An additional factor that allowed Wake to get out to an early lead was the play of another bench player, Gary Clark. Clark nailed three three-pointers in the first half to trigger Wake's offensive onslaught. He finished with nine points on three of five shooting in 15 minutes of action.
Georgia Tech got a solid performance from Lewis Clinch, who finished with 24 points on 9 of 22 shooting, including 6 of 13 from behind the arc. However, their early difficulties on the offensive end were just too much to overcome despite showing plenty of heart during their big comeback. It would have been easy for a 1-10 team in conference to fold after being down big on the road, but they were able to battle back and make it interesting in the second half.
Other notable performances include Jeff Teague and Al-Farouq Aminu, who finished with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Gani Lawal and Iman Shumpert added 13 and 14 for the Jackets.
Next, the Deacons look forward to yet another Sunday night showdown, as they travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on the Duke Blue Devils. Georgia Tech also returns to action Sunday and will be hosting the nationally-ranked Clemson Tigers.