Wake Forest has won an ACC Tournament game. I repeat: Wake Forest has won an ACC Tournament game. The Deacs took down the Syracuse Orange in the first game of the second round 77-74 after Daivien Williamson hit a 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds remaining on the clock to take the lead. It will be Wake’s first trip to the quarterfinals since 2009, when the Deacs had a bye and lost to 7 seed Maryland in their first game.
This game was another roller coaster for the Deacs. Wake fell behind early 8-16 and it looked like it was going to be the same old 1 and done trip at the ACC Tournament. Bobi Klintman had other plans—the freshman helped Wake battle back with a first half double-double 10 points and 10 rebounds to help the Deacs cut the deficit to 2 points at the half.
The second half was Wake’s turn to build—and subsequently blow—a lead. The Deacs used a 14-1 run early in the half and led by as many as 13 points before the Syracuse comeback started. The Orange went to a full court press, and some inopportune turnovers allowed them to cut Wake’s 13 point lead down to 1 in a span of about 3 minutes.
It was back and forth from there, and Syracuse ended up with the ball in a tie game with 45 seconds remaining on the clock. The Deacs played great defense, forcing Joe Girard III into taking a really tough step back jumper, which he missed. Williamson grabbed the rebound for Wake and the Deacs raced down the court. Williamson eventually got the ball back from Tyree Appleby with 2 seconds left, and the Winston Salem native knocked down one of the biggest shots of his career to send Wake into the quarterfinals.
Williamson and Klintman led the way for Wake Forest with 17 points. Hildreth added 15 and played really solid defense on Girard all day, forcing him to take 21 shots to get his 18 points. Appleby finished with 15 points and an astonishing 12 assists, adding another to his 15 point and 5 assist game total for the season.
The biggest difference in this game and the regular season finale to me was Forbes’s decision to double team Jesse Edwards in the post whenever he got the ball. Edwards looked really uncomfortable trying to pass out of the double team and it really messed up the Orange’s offensive flow. After dominating Wake with 27 points and 20 rebounds just 4 days ago, Edwards finished with just 12 points and 10 rebounds today.
The Deacs will now move on and play the #1 seeded Miami Hurricanes tomorrow.
Hopefully this win officially breaks Wake’s ACC Tournament curse and the Deacs can make a run.