WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Wake Forest men’s basketball team cruised to a 79-62 victory over Georgia Tech in a Valentine’s Day matchup on Wednesday at the LJVM Coliseum.
The Demon Deacons now move to 10-16 on the season, including a 3-11 mark in ACC play, while the Yellow Jackets fall to 11-15 on the season with a 4-9 conference ledger.
Doral Moore recorded his 10th double-double of the season with a team-leading 17 points and 12 rebounds. Moore has now recorded double-digit boards in nine straight ACC contests, the longest such streak by a Deacon since Tim Duncan had an 11-game streak in 1996-97.
Bryant Crawford finished with 16 points for his 24th double-digit game of the season. He finished one assist shy of a double-double but matched a season-high with nine dimes. He now sits eighth in program history for career assists with 449.
In his first start since Jan. 23, Mitchell Wilbekin totaled 11 points, with nine of those coming from beyond the arc. Brandon Childress also had 11 points, his 10th double-digit game of the season and ninth such game off the bench.
The Demon Deacons opened Wednesday’s contest hot from the 3-point line, with three of their first five baskets coming from beyond the arc. The Deacs built up an early nine-point lead but the Yellow Jackets used a 7-0 run to cut that margin to just two at 17-15. After Wilbekin snapped the run with a triple, Georgia Tech used a quick five points to tie the game at 20-all. Ben Lammers then hit a jumper to give the Yellow Jackets their first lead of the game at 22-20 with just under 11 minutes to play. From there, the teams traded baskets until Keyshawn Woods extended the Deacs’ lead to 31-26 with his own 5-0 run. Moore extended that run to 7-0 with an alley-oop and Wilbekin made it 10-0 with a triple to give Wake Forest a 36-26 advantage with under four minutes left in the half. The Deacons continued to hold the Yellow Jackets at arm’s length, taking a 44-36 lead into halftime. It was the Deacs’ first halftime lead since Jan. 21 against Virginia (24-22) and largest in ACC play this season.
Wake Forest shot 62 percent from the floor in the opening half, its best field goal percentage in a single ACC half this season. Seven Deacons recorded points, including Wilbekin with nine, Moore with eight and Woods, Crawford and Brown with seven each. Childress and Donovan Mitchell also recorded first half points.
In the second half, the Deacons held a steady lead over the Yellow Jackets before taking a 61-48 edge on a triple from Childress and a pair of free throws from Crawford with 12 minutes to go. Wake Forest extended its run to 10-0 off a 3-pointer from Mitchell and a jumper from Woods, giving the Deacs an 18-point advantage. The Deacons eventually extended their lead to 21 points at 78-57 with three minutes to go before taking the 79-62 victory.
Up next, the Demon Deacons will host NC State on Saturday in the second meeting of the season between the teams. Tip is set for 4 p.m. on ACC Network affiliates. '
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY -Tonight’s win was the first for the Deacons on Valentine’s Day since a 2009 victory over Florida State. -Wake Forest had lost its last two Valentine’s Day games, falling at Clemson last year and to Virginia in 2015.
SERIES HISTORY -With tonight’s victory, the Deacs close the Yellow Jackets’ lead in the series history to just one game at 41-40. -The Deacs are 27-12 at home, including a 20-8 advantage at the LJVM Coliseum, in the all-time series. -The home team has now won the last five meetings in the series.
HOT OFF THE BENCH -Wake Forest entered Wednesday’s contest averaging 24.7 points per game off the bench this season, its highest bench production since 2000-01. -Tonight, the Deacs combined for 26 points off the bench, led by Brandon Childress with 11. -Wake Forest’s bench outscored Georgia Tech’s bench 26-2.
BEYOND THE ARC -The Deacs had nine 3-pointers tonight while holding the Yellow Jackets to just one. -The one triple is the fewest the Deacons have allowed all season, exceeding the five Charlotte made on Dec. 5. -Wake Forest has now made at least eight 3-pointers in 10 of 14 ACC games this season.