Georgia Tech 74, Wake Forest 39
By Paul Newberry
ATLANTA — Glen Rice Jr. scored 21 points, Iman Shumpert had 20 and Georgia Tech cruised to its biggest win ever in the Atlantic Coast Conference, beating woeful Wake Forest 74-39 Wednesday night.
The Yellow Jackets (9-8, 2-2) didn’t have a letdown coming off a 78-58 win over North Carolina. They led by as many as 42 and eclipsed their previous mark for largest conference win, a 31-point blowout of Florida State in 2002.
Of course, it helped to be playing Wake Forest (7-12, 0-4), which lost for the eighth time in nine games and hasn’t come close in ACC play, losing by an average of 26 points.
Wake Forest made 14 of 54 shots (26 percent) from the field, 9 of 26 (35 percent) at the foul line and had no one in double figures. It was the school’s lowest-scoring game since a 44-34 loss to North Carolina on Jan. 8, 1959.
Georgia Tech hardly tried to run it up, clearing the bench and scoring its final points with 5:27 remaining.
Wake Forest settled for its last lead, 7-6, on Travis McKie’s layup with just under 17 minutes left in the first half. The Demon Deacons then went more than 4 minutes without scoring, missing eight shots from the field and a couple of free throws, in addition to turning it over three times.
It would only get worse.
Georgia Tech pushed the margin into double figures for the first time when Shumpert converted a three-point play for a 22-12 lead just past the midway point of the opening half.
The Yellow Jackets took total command when Shumpert and Rice hit back-to-back 3s, Daniel Miller stripped the ball away and fed Maurice Miller for a layup that led to another three-point play, then Rice slammed back Daniel Miller’s missed jumper with one hand to make it 37-16 late in the first half.
The Yellow Jackets led 44-26 at the break, and the Demon Deacons went the first 121/2 minutes of the second half before finally making their first basket, C.J. Harris’ 3-pointer.
Georgia Tech stretched it out to 59-29 with more than 12 minutes to go, and Maurice Miller’s two free throws provided the home team’s final points and biggest lead, 74-32.
The Yellow Jackets have an embarrassing loss on their record, a 17-point setback at Kennessaw State in the opening week of the season, but Georgia Tech looked like a championship-caliber team against the Demon Deacons.
Rebuilding under first-year coach Jeff Bzdelik, Wake Forest knew it was in trouble even before ACC play began, losing at home to Stetson and Winthrop and on the road to UNC Wilmington — all by double-figure margins.
The Deacons have been downright dreadful in ACC play and took their worst loss yet, which is saying something. They were coming off a 29-point defeat at Virginia Tech.
Ari Stewart led Wake Forest with just nine points.