Danny Manning earned his first of what is hopefully many ACC wins on Saturday afternoon when the Wake Forest Demon Deacons defeated the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 76-69. With the win the Deacs improve to 9-8 on the season, while the Jackets drop to 9-6. This was a critical win for the Demon Deacons, who were coming off close home losses to #5 Louisville and #2 Duke and have to travel to Syracuse on Tuesday.
The Demon Deacons were led by Devin Thomas, who has been an all-ACC player the past three games. Thomas finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds, while attempting just 9 field goals. It took him all of 8 seconds to score, as the Deacs won the tip and then Codi Miller-McIntyre threw a beautiful lob to Devin Thomas for the alley-oop.
Rebounding was going to be critical in determining the winner of this game, and the Deacs dominated the Jackets on the boards 41-29.
Codi Miller-McIntyre did not continue his streak of stat-stuffing numbers due to foul problems, but the other guards stepped up. Mitchell Wilbekin went 3-6 from downtown and finished with 14 points. Cornelius Hudson provided an offensive spark of the bench and finished with 11 points, while Madison Jones chipped in 9. Darius Leonard matched his season-high with 13 points, including going 2-4 from beyond the arc.
Wake Forest was up just 65-62 with under 3 minutes remaining, but then the Deacs exerted their will and extended their lead with rebounds and free throws. In the final 3 minutes Wake Forest grabbed 8 rebounds and scored all 11 of their points from the foul line. The final score looks less lopsided due to a Georgia Tech 3-pointer by Quinton Stephens with 4 seconds remaining.
The Deacs did end their run of limiting turnovers, as they finished with 17. Devin Thomas had 7 by himself, and was my only complaint about his game today.
Georgia Tech will host Notre Dame on Wednesday, while the Deacs will play at Syracuse on Tuesday. For more coverage on this game and the upcoming Syracuse game stay tuned to Blogger So Dear.
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