WINSTON-SALEM — Georgia Tech kicked the underpinnings from coach Jeff Bzdelik’s rebuilding efforts at Wake Forest with Saturday’s 79-70 victory at Joel Coliseum.
“It’s a bad loss for us,” Bzdelik said. “We will just have to get back to the practice floor (Sunday) and regroup and keep fighting through this.”
Though just a sophomore, Wake Forest center Devin Thomas felt the full impact of a setback to a Georgia Tech team that had lost six of its previous eight to fall to 12th in the ACC standings.
“It was real damaging,” Thomas said, his eyes glistening from the emotion. “We’re supposed to win the game.”
The Yellow Jackets won partly by replacing their irreplaceable player better than Wake Forest. Both teams lost their leading scorers, Georgia Tech when Trae Golden was sidelined midway through the first half with a pulled groin and the Deacons when Codi Miller-McIntyre sprained his ankle just before halftime.
Bzdelik described Miller-McIntyre’s status as “day-to-day,’’ but Miller-McIntyre vowed to be ready for the Deacons’ next game at Duke on Tuesday.
“I’m going to play at Duke,” he said while signing an autograph outside the locker room.
Travis McKie, a senior forward who kept Wake Forest in the game with a career-best 26 points, said the Deacons could have overcome Miller-McIntyre’s loss with a better effort. Instead the Deacons got off to sluggish starts in both halves, gave up 23 points to Marcus Georges-Hunt, were thumped on the backboards 33-24 and missed 12 of their 15 3-point attempts.
Coron Williams, who entered the game shooting 38 percent from 3-point range, missed all six tries – though one that bounced in was waved off when Tyler Cavanaugh was called for yanking on the net. The bad break was one of many that killed the Deacons’ momentum throughout a long frustrating game.
Wake Forest fell to 14-8 and 4-5 at the halfway point of the ACC schedule. Georgia Tech, which also got 16 points, 14 rebounds, three blocks and three assists from Daniel Miller, improved to 12-10 and 3-6.
Both Bzdelik and Thomas said the Deacons asked for trouble with their sluggish play early in the game. Wake Forest managed to score on just three of its first nine possessions, as Georgia Tech bolted to a 12-6 lead.
Thomas noticed the downtrodden Yellow Jackets gaining confidence play by play.
“Too much confidence,” Thomas said. “Way too much.
“(They were) way too comfortable. I mean they were stepping into threes. They made six in the first half and 11 off second-chance points. We beat ourselves again. We can’t keep doing this. It’s getting old now.”
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