Coming into tonight's game at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, the Demon Deacons had an 0-4 road record this season and was 1-27 away from home under coach Jeff Bzdelik. But it should come to nobody's surprise that their road woes ended Wednesday night with an 83-77 victory over the Virginia Tech Hokies. Virginia Tech was once again undermanned with key injuries to Adam Smith (strained calf, stress fracture) and Ben Emelogu (ankle) who both sat due to injuries. Their absence was definitely felt by the young Hokies squad who only shot 34% from the floor. With limited options on the perimeter Tech was forced to pound the ball down low. They had success with this earlier in the week versus Notre Dame. Unfortunately they received lackluster performances from Cardarian Raines and Joey Van Zegeren who couldn't find any rhythm in the paint. Credit Wake Forest who played typically excellent defense. While Tech shot themselves in the foot plenty of times during the game (incredibly, missing five dunks) Wake's toughness forced the Hokies into bad shots for all 40 minutes.
Though the Hokies trailed from the beginning, the final turning point of the game came with 3:37 left in the 2nd half. Virginia Tech had cut the lead to nine and the student section was roaring. Devin Wilson drove the lane and got fouled with a chance to cut the deficit to just seven points with plenty of time left. In what has been a recurring theme all season Wilson missed both free throws and all momentum was lost. Don't let the box score fool you, Tech hit two late three pointers when the game was out of reach to decrease the final margin to six.
A few bright spots for the Hokies were Devin Wilson who despite missing the late free throws, again topped his career high (set Sunday vs Notre Dame) with a 26-point performance while hitting 11-14 from the stripe and playing all 40 minutes. Freshman Trevor Thompson made the most of his minutes with a 10 point, 12 rebound game. His development will be key to the Hokies in upcoming seasons, watch for him to get more playing time as the season progresses. Jarrell Eddie scored 20 points on 16 shots, and was still largely searching for his game on the offensive end. He had scored just 21 points in the previous four ACC losses.
Wake Forest still has March Madness ambitions, and it's resume includes wins over UNC and NC State and all of their losses coming versus quality opponents. They have an incredibly talented young roster highlighted by Sophomore guard Codi Miller-McIntyre who recorded his first double-double of the season today with a 20 point and 10 assist performance. Their bid to the big dance could be won or lost in their next 4 games when they host Notre Dame, #2 Syracuse, and Georgia Tech before going on the road to face #18 Duke.
Virginia Tech will look to end their 5 game losing streak when they go on the road Saturday to face the Virginia Cavaliers in a rivalry game. The buzz around town is not looking good for this Virginia Tech basketball team with chatter of replacing James Johnson when the new Athletic Director comes to town and an overall negative attitude from the students who quite frankly feel they deserve a better team. But the players and coaches don't have time to focus on that, they must regroup and find a way to come away with some ACC wins soon.