WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Virginia Tech’s Erick Green tied a career high with 35 points, but the Hokies struggled defensively and fell 90-79 to Wake Forest on Sunday afternoon at Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the ACC regular-season finale for both teams.
With the loss, Tech fell to 13-18 overall and 4-14 in the ACC. The Hokies will be the No. 12 seed in the ACC Tournament and play Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. Wake Forest moved to 13-17 overall, 6-12 in league play.
“It stings to lose,” Tech coach James Johnson said. “I thought this was a very winnable game, and the way we were playing coming in … I thought we were playing pretty good basketball. I thought we could come down here and continue to play well and finish the season strong. We weren’t able to do that.
“Losing hurts. Whether you’re in first place or last place, losing hurts.”
The Demon Deacons jumped out to a 9-0 lead, and Tech just never recovered. The Hokies turned the ball over on three of their first four possessions and missed three of their first four shots from the floor.
Wake Forest went on to lead by as many as 16 in the first half and by 14 at halftime. A 9-2 run to open the second half saw the Demon Deacons extend a 41-27 halftime bulge to 50-29 following a 3-pointer by C.J. Harris.
“We had no energy,” Green said. “No energy at all. Give Wake Forest all the credit. They punched us in the mouth, and we didn’t respond.
“We’ve got to wake up. I can tell that, Thursday night, it’s 0-0 and a clean slate. Everyone is playing for one thing and that’s a championship. So if you don’t come to play, you’re getting embarrassed.”
Harris, playing in his final home game, hurt the Hokies, tying his career high with 29 points. He hit 8 of 14 from the floor and all six of his 3-pointers. He also connected on 7 of 9 from the free-throw line.
As a team, the Demon Deacons shot 59.2 percent from the floor – the best by a Tech opponent this season – and 56.3 from beyond the 3-point arc.
“I don’t know if it’s been a season-long deal, but it hasn’t been consistent,” Johnson said of Tech’s defense. “It’s been up and down. I thought the last few games we’d gotten better defensively, and that’s one of the things I talked to the team about after the game.
“We scored 79 points, and usually, if we score 79 points, we have a chance to be in the game and have a chance to win the game. Our defensive effort … we just didn’t have it tonight. They did just about what they wanted to on the offensive end of the floor.”
Green connected on 9 of 18 from the floor, including 3 of 5 from beyond the 3-point arc. He also hit 14 of 18 from the free-throw line to lead the Hokies.
He also broke Bimbo Coles’ single-season scoring record of 785 points. Green’s 35 give him 786 points for the season.
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