Va Tech 71, Wake Forest 52
TAMPA, Fla. (AP)—Wake Forest showed all the symptoms of being a tired team.
The Demon Deacons came up short on jumpers, committed silly turnovers and failed to get back on defense. Virginia Tech made them pay.
A.D. Vassallo scored 22 points, Deron Washington added 13—all in the second half—and the Hokies pulled away for a 71-52 victory over worn-out Wake Forest in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament Friday night.
The third-seeded Hokies used a fast-paced tempo to take advantage of Wake’s short turnaround following a double-overtime victory against Georgia Tech that ended well past midnight.
“To leave at one o’clock in the morning and play 20 hours later is a monumental task,” Hokies coach Seth Greenberg said.
The 11th-seeded Demon Deacons (15-16) looked fine to start the second-round game, but seemed to tire as it wore on.
Vassallo and Washington benefited most.
Vassallo had 11 points in each half, and Washington was the catalyst for a second-half run that turned a close game into a rout. Washington scored nine points in a 19-5 spurt that put the Hokies (21-10) ahead by double digits for good. He followed two steals with easy baskets, had two layups and added a free throw—points that helped put Virginia Tech ahead 59-42 with 9:54 to play.
The Hokies cruised from there, and the most intriguing part of the final 10 minutes was watching the Tech cheerleaders perform the Hokey-Pokey while the defeated Wake players trudged through their dance line.
Wake’s season ended with the loss, while Tech won for the first time in three ACC tournaments and advanced to face 10th-seeded North Carolina State in the semifinals Saturday.
“It gives us another milestone,” Greenberg said.
Kyle Visser had 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead Wake, which trailed 36-34 at the break before falling apart in the final 20 minutes. The Demon Deacons shot 28 percent (5-of-18) in the second half, committed 11 turnovers and forced none. They also allowed seven offensive rebounds.
“You have to look at one stat: points off turnovers,” said Wake coach Skip Prosser, pointing to Tech’s 25-3 advantage. “In all candor, I think we made it a little easier for them. They just did things better. Fatigue was not a factor.”
Zabian Dowdell had 13 points for Tech, and teammate Jamon Gordon finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, seven steals and five assists.
“We’ve got something to prove, but I think that winning this game gets us over the hump,” Gordon said.