A woeful defensive performance in the first half proved to be too much for Wake Forest to overcome in an 83-75 loss to visiting Virginia Tech on Wednesday night at Joel Coliseum.
The Deacons let Virginia Tech (13-4, 2-2 ACC) shoot 63 percent in the first half, allowing the Hokies to build a 15-point lead by halftime. The last five points of that advantage came on a 3-pointer — one of the Hokies’ 12 for the game — with 19 seconds left, and then a fast-break layup after Keyshawn Woods missed an ill-advised 3.
Wake Forest (8-8, 1-3) cut the Hokies’ lead to four twice in the game’s last 5:06, but was unable to pull closer. With less than five minutes left, one Wake Forest possession saw Bryant Crawford and Mitchell Wilbekin miss 3s that would’ve brought the Deacons within one.
Virginia Tech shot 17-for-27 in the first half and had 20 assists on 29 total field goals.
Woods, Wake Forest’s second-leading scorer, was a game-time decision because of a knee injury. He played 22 minutes and had 12 points, but didn’t play for the last 3:10. He missed nearly all of last week’s win over Syracuse and didn’t play against Boston College on Saturday.
Brandon Childress led Wake Forest with 17 points, all of which came in the last 11½ minutes. His free throws cut it to a four-point game with 5:06 left, and then his 3-pointer with 2:43 left was the second time the Deacons were within four points.
That time, Wake Forest got the defensive stop it needed, but Crawford was picked off in transition while trying to force the ball to Childress.
Wake Forest center Doral Moore scored in double figures for the first time since Dec. 18, with 12 points and 12 rebounds. He didn’t score in the game’s last 17 minutes.
Recent lightning-rod of controversy Ted Valentine was the lead official for the game. It was his second ACC assignment in as many nights, after calling the Syracuse-Virginia game Tuesday night. Valentine told The Athletic’s Seth Davis over the weekend that he was considering retirement after social media reactions to him turning his back on North Carolina’s Joel Berry in a game last week.