Wake Forest had a week off after falling at home to North Carolina before hosting Miami Wednesday night. The Demon Deacons opened up the game with a 7-0 run and never relinquished the lead on their way to a 96-79 victory over the Hurricanes.
John Collins started the scoring for the Deacons and finished with a career high 27 points. He was a force in the post consistently and avoided foul trouble, which is exceptional considering that there were 51 total fouls called and four players fouled out of the contest.
“We’re one of the best teams in the country at not fouling,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “The officials saw it a certain way and they made their calls and you got to play the game the way it’s being called that night.”
Wake Forest also was the most successful offensive team the Hurricanes had faced this season. The highest point total the Hurricanes surrendered this year was 73 against Iowa State. The average amount they gave up coming into the game was 59.3.
Wake entered the second half with a 48-34 lead, a lead they pushed to 57-34 in just two minutes. However, Miami rallied back with the use of a full court press and with 3:50 left in the game, the Hurricanes trailed by just six points. Wake Forest however made the clutch shots necessary to fight through the adversity and secure a much needed ACC win.
Danny Manning was pleased with his team’s performance.
“I thought our guys did a very good job of facing that adversity throughout the course of the ball game,” he said. “This is definitely a step in the right direction.”
John Collins also was happy with the team’s resolve.
“I feel like as a team today we actually buckled down and got together and said we’re not going to blow this one,” Collins said. “ We going to come together as a team, do what we need to do to get this win.”
After tough losses to Florida State, Clemson and Virginia after holding halftime leads, this one meant a little more. Miami brought everything in their effort to take the lead back and the Deacons were able to prevail.
Wake Forest heads on the road against NC State and Syracuse before returning home against Duke. The ACC slate doesn’t get any easier, but after finally maintaining a lead and holding it for a win, Wake Forest will be more confident as the season heats up.