Wake Forest couldn’t get the best of Virginia Tech twice in less than a week.
The Demon Deacons built a seven-point halftime lead, thanks in part to Greg McClinton’s 80-foot buzzer beater, then could do little to stop the Hokies after the break in a 99-90 loss in the second round of the ACC tournament at the Barclays Center.
Bryant Crawford had 21 points and John Collins added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the 10th-seeded Demon Deacons (19-13), who will await to hear their postseason fate Sunday.
Zach LeDay had 31 points and 15 rebounds for the rested seventh-seeded Hokies, who had not played since Saturday’s 89-84 loss to the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest played on the opening day of the tournament, defeating last-place Boston College.
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Virginia Tech (22-9) will face second-seeded Florida State (24-7) in Thursday’s quarterfinals at 7 p.m.
Wake Forest was in solid shape to pick up a second victory over the Hokies in a five-day span when it took a 44-37 lead at the break. The Deacons received a boost when McClinton nonchalantly made a baseball-style throw that unexpectedly swished from about 80 feet.
The Hokies took over from there, shredding Wake Forest’s defense relentlessly throughout the second half. Virginia Tech shot 61.1 percent from the floor and 53.8 percent from 3-point range in the final 20 minutes, averaging 1.63 points per possession in that span.
With an inability to string together stops, Wake Forest leaned on its potent offense to keep things close. That worked until the last five minutes. With the Hokies up six, Collins committed an offensive foul while going in for a basket. On the next possession, Virginia Tech’s Ty Outlaw delivered an open 3-pointer to bump the lead to 80-71.
The Hokies maintained a three-possession margin until the final minute, when the Demon Deacons closed within 94-90, but Virginia Tech finished off the triumph at the foul line.
The loss snapped the Demon Deacons’ four-game winning streak, but there still appears to be a good chance they will end an NCAA tournament drought that dates to 2010. However, it’ll be three nervous days before they learn where they will go for the postseason.