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Deacons fade after hot start, fall to Florida State 67-60

Wake Forest allowed a 16-point first half lead to evaporate and lost their fifth straight, 67-60 to FSU.

Coach Jeff Bzdelik
Coach Jeff Bzdelik
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Wake Forest started like a house afire, but eventually burned down in a demoralizing 67-60 home loss to Florida State on Saturday night. The Demon Deacons built a 16-point lead midway through the first half, only to see it slip away following an ill-timed technical foul on Devin Thomas with 5:41 remaining in the first half. The Seminoles responded with an 8-0 run and stormed into the halftime locker room only down six points. Coach Leonard Hamilton thought his team's ability to handle the initial Wake volley was key going into the half.

"I was very proud of our guys for maintaining their poise and not allowing themselves to get down on themselves," Hamilton said. "They kept executing and whittling away at the lead and put ourselves within striking distance at halftime."

The Seminoles (15-10, 6-7 ACC) came into the game having lost six of their last eight games, but got career performances from senior Ian Miller (25 points) and sophomore Aaron Thomas (19 points, 14 rebounds). Wake Forest (14-11, 4-8 ACC) was led by Coron Williams' 18 points and 14 apiece from Travis McKie and Tyler Cavanaugh. The 'Noles owned the paint and the boards, out-rebounding the Deacs by 14. Thomas, Wake's best post player, played only 23 minutes and managed just 2 points.

"I think he's a young player who is trying to control his emotions in a way that he's effective on the court," coach Jeff Bzdelik said of Thomas. "He needs to expand his game in a way that he'll be able to have some counter-moves when people take away his strengths."

The loss was the fifth straight for the struggling Deacons, whose postseason hopes are rapidly slipping away. The schedule gets no easier, with the Deacons headed to College Park on Tuesday (7:00 p.m., RSN) and Chapel Hill next Saturday (12:00 p.m., ACC Network). They are likely to be favored in only one of their final six contests (Boston College), and still have one more matchup with Duke remaining.