Despite strong Senior Day performances from Zach LeDay and Seth Allen, the Hokies lose regular season finale against Wake Forest
This is not how the Hokies planned to end their regular season.
Winners of five out of six entering Saturday’s game with Wake Forest, the Hokies were looking to close their regular season with their fourth straight win to continue their hot streak.
On Saturday though, they simply could not slow down the red hot shooting of the Demon Deacons, which ultimately led to their demise in the second half, as the Hokies fell to Wake Forest by a final score of 89-84 in front of a sold-out Cassell Coliseum.
For the Hokies, the two seniors that encompass a majority of the class’ playing time in Zach LeDay and Seth Allen, finished their home careers strong from a performance standpoint. LeDay crossed the 1,000 point mark for his career in the second half, ultimately finishing with 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the floor. Allen was no slouch in his own right, scoring 20 points on 9-of-15 field goals for the game.
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Virginia Tech trailed only once in the first 31 minutes of game action, when the Demon Deacons led 3-2 about 30 seconds into the game. Other than that, the Hokies used timely transition offense to get Wake Forest big man John Collins into foul trouble (he had three in the first half) and to find open three point shooters, leading to five made shots beyond-the-arc in the first frame and a 47-42 halftime lead.
The second half was a much different story. The officials used a heavily whistle against the Hokies to lure them into early foul trouble, which led to 17 made free throws in the second half for Wake Forest. For the game, the Demon Deacons owned a massive advantage from the charity stripe, knocking down 27-of-33 free throws, while the Hokies were 16-of-17 from the line.
Wake Forest did a much better job of finding open shots after halftime as well, as they shot 61% from the floor led by John Collins’ 13 second half points and 26 total points from sophomore guard Bryant Crawford.
With the added offense came defensive confidence for the Demon Deacons, as they held the Hokies to a 3-of-13 mark from deep in the second half as well, taking away the weapon that has helped Buzz Williams’ club mightily over the last few weeks.
As a result, Wake Forest escaped Blacksburg with a much-needed win for the tournament resume, improving to 9-9 in ACC play.
The Hokies are now locked in to a seven seed in the ACC Tournament, which will tip-off on Tuesday in Brooklyn. Ironically enough, the Hokies may get their opportunity at redemption in just four days. As the seven-seed, the Hokies hold a first-round bye and will face the winner of Tuesday’s tilt between Boston College and you guessed it, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.
Until then, the Hokies will wait to see who they play in the conference tournament, as they look to push past this loss and forward into the NCAA Tournament with some positive momentum.