Deacons shock Wolfpack, 86-84
Wake Forest, the whipping boy of N.C. State for three of their meetings and much of the ACC the past two seasons, finally struck back Tuesday night.
Down 16 late in the first half, the Demon Deacons took advantage of State foul trouble to build as much as a 10-point lead in the second half and held on for an 86-84 upset over the 18th-ranked Wolfpack.
“I challenged them to play harder at halftime and they responded,” Wake coach Jeff Bzdelik said.
Devin Thomas, a freshman who got the better of State center Richard Howell, keyed the comeback, scoring a career-high 25 points, grabbing 14 rebounds, blocking four shots, dishing four assists and grabbing three steals. Thomas was 10 of 13 from the field.
“He was hot and imposed his will and got a lot of rebounds and played with emotion too,” Wake forward Travis McKie said. “It was great effort for him, I’m so proud.”
McKie had 16 points, eight rebounds and held outside sharpshooter Scott Wood to seven points. Codi Miller-McIntyre added 15 and C.J. Harris had 10 as Wake improved to 10-8 and 3-3 in the ACC.
Rodney Purvis led State with 18. Lorenzo Brown, Richard Howell and C.J, Leslie had 13 each as State fell to 15-4 and 4-2 in the league.
Wake burned the State defense to shoot 59.4 percent in the second half.
“We just didn’t defend well enough,” State coach Mark Gottfried said. Gottfried thought the Wolfpack may have played tentatively trying to avoid fouls after they piled up to the point that he was forced to play Jordan Vandeberg for 12 minutes in the first half.
Wake as if it might cruise home after going up 82-72 with 4:05 left, just after Harris went to the bench after getting hit in the face. But State rallied and pulled within one when Leslie hit one of two free throws to make it 83-82 with 1:01 left. Leslie missed a chance to put State ahead when he missed two free throws with 29.9 second to go.
Harris hit one of two to put Wake up 84-82 with 22.7 to play, seconds after reentering the game. The free throws came after Harris reentered the game.
State failed to tie when C.J. Leslie and Rodney Purvis missed with under 10 seconds to go.
“We had our chances and we didn’t convert,” Gottfried said.
McKie hit two free throws to make it 86-84 with 3.4 seconds to play.
Leslie dunked to bring the Wolfpack within two with just over a second left.
Wake then inbounded long and couldn’t secure it. T.J. Warren scooped up the ball and launched a shot from midcourt that clanged off the backboard as time ran out, allowing the Wake students to storm the court.