College Basketball: Wake Forest 85, Georgia Tech 75
WINSTON-SALEM– Wake Forest’s players were getting a little tired of trying to explain why they were losing games, so they decided to do something about it.
“We just made up our minds that we were gonna stop making silly mistakes and win a game,” said L.D. Williams, one of three freshman starters for Wake Forest.
Kyle Visser scored 26 points and the Demon Deacons got key points off free throws down the stretch for an 85-75 victory over Georgia Tech on Tuesday night.
Harvey Hale added 19 points and freshman Ishmael Smith had 10 points for the Demon Deacons (10-11, 2-7 ACC), who snapped a six-game losing streak.
“It’s been a tough stretch,” said Visser, one of two seniors on the Wake Forest roster. “It’s so nice to get this one. … We’re excited about this win, but we can’t throw a parade — we’ve got another tough game on Saturday (at home against Maryland) that we want to win.”
Jeremis Smith and Ra’Sean Dickey scored 14 points each for the Yellow Jackets (13-8,
2-6), who suffered their 17th consecutive road loss and fourth straight overall.
Thaddeus Young and Anthony Morrow added 13 points each for Georgia Tech, which whittled down an
11-point halftime deficit to make it a game late in the second half.
The Yellow Jackets cut Wake Forest’s lead to three points three times in the second half, and trailed by four points after a Dickey free throw pulled Georgia Tech within 70-66 with 4:39 left.
“We knew they were going to make a run in the second half,” Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. “It’s gratifying that when they cut it to three (points) a couple times, we showed the wherewithal to show patience on offense. We took some good shots and hit our foul shots.”
But Visser, who spent most of the second half on the bench after picking up his fourth foul, scored the Demon Deacons’ next seven points — hitting a hook shot, then making 5 of 6 from the line — to push Wake Forest’s lead back to 77-68 with 2:05 remaining.
The Demon Deacons, who entered the game shooting just 61 percent from the line, scored their final 13 points off free throws. For the game, Wake Forest went 31-of-41 from the line, 21-of-29 in the second half.
During the first half, Visser scored 15 points, including eight in a 1:25 span late in the half that helped put Wake Forest in the lead.
He hit a hook shot with 7:31 remaining to tie the score at 22-22 and went 4-of-4 from the free-throw line to keep the Demon Deacons close after Georgia Tech moved back ahead.
Visser then dropped in a reverse layup off a feed from Ishmael Smith with 6:06 left in the first half to put Wake Forest ahead for the first time.
Williams then jammed in an alley-oop dunk to ignite a 13-3 run to close out the half. David Weaver’s dunk with 1:07 left capped the run and put the Demon Deacons ahead 41-30 at the break.
“We started off pretty well, which is something we haven’t done much of this season,” Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. “We fought back and put out a great effort. But we couldn’t overcome that poor stretch in the first half — we took some bad shots, turned it over and didn’t guard.”