The Tigers (11-8, 3-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) led for exactly 24 seconds, but got the final possession of the game when Codi Miller-McIntyre turned it over with the score tied at 57 with 25 seconds to go. Rod Hall missed a tough layup, but Smith got the rebound and made a quick banking shot to win, making up for his 2-of-6 shooting from the foul line.
Smith's game-winner was only his 15th field goal in 19 games this season, and was the only made basket in the final five minutes of an ugly game between two teams toward the bottom of the ACC standings.
Miller-McIntyre also missed two short shots with the game tied at 56 with about a minute to go. Wake Forest (9-11, 1-6) didn't make a basket in the final five minutes of the game.
The Demon Deacons have now lost 37 of their last 39 ACC road games.
Donte Grantham led Clemson with 13 points and seven rebounds. Jordan Roper added 12 points.
Devin Thomas led everyone with 17 points and 12 rebounds, but shot just 5-of-10 on free throws. Miller-McIntyre scored 14 points, but was just 5-of-15 from the field.
Wake Forest jumped on Clemson early, leading 11-2 less than four minutes in. But the Demon Deacons couldn't put the Tigers away. Clemson cut the deficit to two before the half ended, and trailed 33-27 at the break.
The Demon Deacons went on another run to lead 40-28 less than four minutes into the second half. But Clemson slowly climbed back in it again, finally tying the game with 7:05 left for the first time since the tip on Jaron Blossomgame's dunk.
Wake Forest would score on its next three possessions to take a 55-51 lead with five minutes to go. The Demon Deacons wouldn't score again, missing all five of their shots, turning the ball over twice and making just two of four free throws.
Clemson didn't fare much better, missing five shots before Smith's game-winner. But the Tigers made four of six free throws to make up the difference.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons were less than a minute away from a milestone. A win over Clemson would have been their 100th over the Tigers. North Carolina State is the only other team Wake Forest has beaten at least 100 times.
Clemson: Clemson football set an ACC record scoring 82 points on Wake Forest in 1981. The basketball Tigers have not scored 82 points against the Demon Deacons in 20 games since a 118-115 double-overtime win in February 2002. Senior Rod Hall had five assists, moving him up to 10th all-time at Clemson with 355.
Wake Forest stays on the road and heads to Florida State on Wednesday.
Clemson hits the road and plays at North Carolina State on Wednesday.