Wake Forest Beats Virginia Tech 83-77
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Normally, the drive between Blacksburg, Va., and Winston-Salem, N.C., is roughly two hours, but Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said the ride may last a little longer after his team’s win over Virginia Tech.
“I was thinking about telling the bus driver to go to Wilmington and then to Charlotte and then just drive around so we can enjoy it before we get back home,” Bzdelik said.
Behind Travis McKie’s 24 points, Wake Forest snapped a 17-game losing streak on the road in ACC play by knocking off Virginia Tech 83-77 on Wednesday.
Codi Miller-McIntyre added 20 for the Demon Deacons (13-6, 3-3 ACC), who had won just one ACC road game in head coach Jeff Bzdelik’s four seasons. Their last ACC road win came almost two years ago to the day, as Wake Forest beat Boston College 71-56 on Jan. 21, 2012, in Chestnut Hill, Mass.
“We’ve played at some pretty tough places, and I thought we learned through those experiences,” Bzdelik said, citing Wake Forest’s road games at Xavier, Virginia, Pittsburgh and Clemson this season. “I thought we got better. You could see the signs happening with a younger team. I thought we competed well at Clemson.
“We got a big lift (against Virginia Tech) when we started making shots, and of course, Travis, who had been struggling with confidence, gained a lot of confidence. He played flawlessly – 33 minutes and no turnovers. He played really well.”
McKie had made just 3 of 19 in the Demon Deacons’ previous four games – of which three were losses. But nothing gets McKie going better than a game against Virginia Tech.
In five previous games against the Hokies, he averaged 15.4 points and 9.2 rebounds. This time around was no different, as the Richmond, Va., native hit 7 of 10 from the floor, including 5 of 6 from beyond the 3-point arc. The senior had scored just two points in Wake Forest’s loss Saturday at Clemson.
“I was just feeling it,” McKie said of his game against the Hokies. “I just got in the flow and kept shooting it. I was able to make shots (Wednesday night). I was struggling a little bit last week, and I think it was my time to make some shots.”
“We had a conversation Sunday about feeling good about yourself and going on to the next play,” Bzdelik said. “No matter who you are, you could have had great, great years and you could suffer a lack of confidence. A great quarterback could throw a couple of interceptions, and it shakes you up a bit. No one is immune from that. He just needed to see a couple go down.”
Behind McKie, Wake Forest, losers of two straight games and three of its past four, got off to a sizzling start, shooting 54.8 percent from the floor in the first half (17 of 31) and making 7 of its 10 3-point attempts. The Demon Deacons made eight straight baskets at one stretch, and they took their biggest lead of the game at 40-19 on a 3-pointer by Miles Overton with 4:15 left in the half. McKie scored 15 first-half points, and Wake Forest led 42-27 at halftime.
Virginia Tech (8-10, 1-5 ACC), which has lost five straight games and six of seven, never led. The Hokies tried to make a game of it as point guard Devin Wilson scored 17 of his career-high 26 points in the final 5:35. He scored the Hokies’ final 10 points of the game.
But Wilson missed two free throws with 3:37 left, and Miller-McIntyre scored with 3:15 to go to give the Demon Deacons a 71-60 lead. The Hokies’ Jarell Eddie then cut the lead to 71-63 on a 3-pointer with 2:55 remaining.
Miller-McIntyre answered again. He hit the first of two free throws and grabbed the rebound after missing the second one. He then scored with 2:10 remaining to give Wake Forest a 74-63 lead, and Virginia Tech got no closer than the final margin.
“We made some mistakes, especially in the first half,” Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said. “We made some defensive mistakes. We’re not built to come back from a 20-point deficit. We’re not built to do that. We’re not deep. We’re not shooting the ball well. We’re just not built to do that.
“So we’ve got to learn from that. This team still has fight, or else they wouldn’t play the way they did in the second half the past two games (Wake Forest and Notre Dame). But we can’t wait until the second half. We’ve got to find a way to come out ready to play.”
Miller-McIntyre hit 8 of 16 from the floor and 4 of 6 from the free-throw line for the Demon Deacons. He also dished out 10 assists, becoming the first Wake Forest player to score 20 points and dish out 10 assists in a game since current NBA star Chris Paul did it as a freshman in 2004.
Wake Forest came into the game shooting 44.3 percent from the floor and 31.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. But the Demon Deacons tied a season high with nine 3-pointers and shot 53.6 percent (30 of 56) from the floor for the game.
“We battled through the adversity of the road,” Bzdelik said. “We led wire to wire. We responded well when Virginia Tech made some runs, and we knew they would. Our team showed maturity and composure. We played well from start to finish and stayed consistent. This was a very good win for us.”
The Hokies missed their first 11 shots from the floor and shot just 33.8 percent (22 of 65) for the game. Eddie finished with 20 points for the Hokies.
Ben Emelogu (ankle) and Adam Smith (calf) missed the game for the Hokies because of injuries. Both are averaging in double figures.
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