No. 8 Wake Forest Rolls Past Georgia Tech, 87-69
Feb. 18, 2009
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - The No. 8-ranked Wake Forest men's basketball team never trailed in the 87-69 victory over Georgia Tech at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum on Wednesday night.
Wake Forest (20-4, 7-4 ACC) is now tied for second in the conference behind North Carolina following the Demon Deacons' 1,400th all-time win.
Georgia Tech (10-15, 1-11 ACC) drops its fifth straight game and falls to 2-8 overall and 0-6 in conference play on the road.
With the victory, the Demon Deacons now lead the series with the Yellow Jackets 35-32.
Wake Forest started the game with a 7-0 run for the second consecutive time. The Deacons went into the locker room up, 50-39, and led by as many as 23 points in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets brought the margin back to within five with 13:28 and 11:36 left in the game but the Deacons answered by going on a 14-2 run. Smith capped the run with a layup at 9:07 remaining to put Wake Forest ahead, 77-60.
The Deacons shot 57 percent (31-of-54) from the floor in the game and held Georgia Tech to 41 percent shooting (26-of-64).
Junior guard Ishmael Smith became the seventh member of the 400 assists club in the Deacons' victory. Only needing four to join the prestigious list that includes Muggsy Bogues (1984-87), Skip Brown (1974-77) and Randolph Childress (1991-95), Smith recorded his 400th career assist with 4:47 left in the first half on a pass to freshman forward Al-Farouq Aminu. Smith totaled eight helpers in the contest, bringing his career total to 404.
Smith also added 11 points and four rebounds.
Sophomore forward James Johnson led the Deacons in scoring with 24, one shy of his season-high mark and two below his career-high total. He grabbed 11 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season and 15th of his career.
When asked about Johnson's performance tonight, head coach Dino Gaudio responded, "It started off with the tip. He was really energized... [Johnson] really stepped up and got us off to a good start, as he did against Florida State. He's really grown into a leader for us, and he comes out to play."
At the half, Johnson was a perfect 6-of-6 from the floor with one three-pointer. He had eight rebounds and 16 points at the break.
Sophomore guard Jeff Teague finished with 15 points, recording his 28th straight game in double figures.
Coming off the bench, sophomore guard Gary Clark had a strong night. He had a season-high nine points and tied his career-high three three-pointers.
Georgia Tech's senior guard Lewis Clinch led the Yellow Jackets in scoring with 24.
With the victory tonight, Wake Forest records its first 20-win season since 2004-05.
Wake Forest travels to intrastate rival Duke on Sunday for a re-match with the Blue Devils at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on Fox Sports.
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