Yellow Jackets ground Deacons, 57-56
Joel Coliseum possessed no magic for Wake Forest on Saturday.
The Deacons, who have struggled on the road and have been golden at home in ACC play for the most part this season, couldn’t hold the lead down the stretch and fell to Georgia Tech 57-56, just three days after losing in similar fashion to Boston College.
“This had been pretty tough,” Wake senior guard C.J. Harris said. “We’re trying to learn from our mistakes but its tough to come up short two games in a row.”
Robert Carter Jr. hit two free throws for the go-ahead points with 8.7 left, after he was fouled by Aaron Rountree following a shot from Marcus Georges-Hunt which had been blocked by Devin Thomas.
“Coach (Brian Gregory) told me told me not to use the ball screen because we had been using the ball screen the whole game,” Georges-Hunt said. “He told me to wait and that’s what I did. I missed the dunk but Robert was there to clean it up.”
Georges-Hunt had brought the Yellow Jackets within one when he hit a floater over Rountree with 57.7 seconds. Wake had gone ahead 56-53 on Travis McKie’s 3-pointer with 1:18 to go.
“Coach felt that (Rountree) was a smaller defender and felt like I could post him up,” George-Hunt said.
Georges-Hunt, who led Tech with 16 points, also hit a 3 with 3:33 to tie the score at 49.
“I went to him four or five times down the stretch and he kept making big play after big play,” Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory said. “A member of the media asked me if he would be a go-to guy. We’ve gone back and forth on who we’re going to have make big plays and he did a pretty good job of helping me find that answer.
“We executed that last play well enough for him to get to the basket, well enough that he drew a lot of defenders to him and that was the reason we got the offensive rebound.”
After the free throws by Carter, the Deacons had two cracks at going ahead. C.J. Harris wound up with the ball. He drove toward the basket but was forced to veer to his right and wound up trying to throw a pass across the baseline to Chase Fischer. Georges-Hunt intercepted but was out-of-bounds.
“I wanted to take a shot but they did a great job corralling me with the big and the point guard,” Harris said. “I thought I had Chase open but that guy rotated over pretty well.”
The Deacons inbounded with 1.7 seconds left. Devin Thomas wound up with the ball and launched a 16-foot jumper that clanked off the rim after time expired.
“Rountree or McKie were supposed to get it but the pass wasn’t there,” Thomas said. “Codi (Miller-McIntyre) snuck it into me. I knew I couldn’t pass it with the amount of time left so I took a dribble and shot it. I missed it but I’m ACC player so I need to make that.”
McKie and Harris each scored 15 to lead Wake, which dropped to 11-14 and 5-9 in the ACC with a week off before they play Miami. Tech, which rebounded from a close loss to Clemson, improved to 14-10, 4-8.