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Wake Pulls a Wake, Falls 59-57 to Clemson

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Despite leading for 99% of the game, Wake was unable to finish down the stretch and fell to a Clemson squad 59-57 in LittleJohn.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Wake got off to a hot start on the road against the Clemson Tigers behind an aggressive 13-2 start fueled by a stagnant Clemson offense. Devin Thomas worked hard on the glass throughout the half and was a key figure in limiting Clemson to one shot and out, ultimately ending the period with 8 points and 8 rebounds. Despite playing relatively poorly for the remaining twelve minutes of the first half, the Demon Deacons were able to maintain the lead throughout and even after a sloppy two possessions to end the half Wake held a 33-27 lead as Codi Miller-McIntyre provided a couple of critical and-ones in transition and contributed eight points.

After a slow first minute to the second half, Wake got a running banker from freshman Greg McClinton and a wide open three from sharpshooter Mitchell Wilbekin off a CMM pass to extend the lead back out to double digits at 38-28 causing an irate Brad Brownell to employ a #BzdelikMachineGunTimeout just over two minutes into the frame. After Devin stretched the lead out to twelve with a sweet left hand from inside, Clemson responded with a fast 7-0 run to get the lead back to 40-35. Wake was unable to quiet the run with an open Darius Leonard three and Thomas committed his third foul 30 feet from the basket with 14:32 remaining.

Out of the first TV timeout of the half, both teams traded jabs but were unable to draw blood before Dinos Mitiglou finally ended the quick Clemson sprint with a trigger three to put Wake back up by eight. Rod Hall responded with a fancy bucket plus the foul (missing the free throw) to keep Clemson within touch. The teams continued trading baskets inside and Wake maintained a 48-43 lead at the nine minute mark. Wake lost a little depth inside shortly before the under 8 tv timeout when Darius Leonard picked up his fourth foul while Thomas still had three himself. A three from the top of the key from Austin Ajukwa, only his second field goal of the ACC season, cut the Wake lead to 48-47 and Coach Manning called his second timeout to calm the Deacs down.

Following another bad hedge and switch at the top of the key, Clemson tied the game up at 49 with a massive slam but CMM quickly responded with a layup to put the Deacs back on top with 6:30 remaining and after another feed down low to Thomas, Wake was back up by four 53-49. Wake continued to feed Devin inside and he was able to get the lead to 56-51 at the final tv timeout following a 1-2 effort at the charity stripe. Following two free throws, Wake was unable to draw the fifth foul on Nnoko inside as he blocked a Thomas shot from the paint. After a couple of offensive rebounds, Clemson found themselves back at the line with a chance to cut the lead to one but continued their struggles at the stripe going 1-2 to make it 56-54 with just over 2:30 left.

Hudson missed a contested three to take a five point lead and on the ensuing three on three break, Madison Jones reached in on a shot attempt and after two made free throws from Jordan Roper the game was knotted at 56. Wake couldn't get the ball in the basket after two missed CMM shots and Clemson took their first lead of the game with 58.6 seconds as Clemson knocked down one of two free throws to take a 57-56 lead.

Wake got the ball inside to Thomas yet again and with 35 seconds left Devin fouled Landry Nnoko out who finished with seven points, six boards, and four blocked shots. Devin made one of two free throws and got his own rebound but CMM had his pocket picked with 25 seconds left and Clemson took their second to final court in the halfcourt set with 23 seconds remaining. Clemson missed a shot in the waning seconds but managed a putback with .5 seconds left and Wake missed a three quarter heave to fall 59-57 despite only trailing for 30 total seconds. Wake fell to 9-11 (1-6 ACC)