January 14, 2016
Bibbs' career night carries Tech past Wake Forest
Hokies off to best league start since 2008-09 season
Wake Forest (10-6, 1-3) 385391
Virginia Tech (11-6, 3-1) 454893
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 4,985
  • High Points: 32 - Justin Bibbs
  • High Rebounds: 4 - Justin Robinson, Satchel Pierce

BLACKSBURG – Justin Bibbs scored a career-high 32 points to lift Virginia Tech to a 93-91 victory over Wake Forest in an ACC game played Wednesday night at Virginia Tech Carilion Court.

With the win, the Hokies – whose 93 points were a season high – moved to 11-6 overall, 3-1 in ACC play. Tech, which won just two ACC games all of last season, is now off to its best start in conference play since opening the 2008-09 season with a 4-1 league mark.

“It feels good for us to get a win against anybody, especially in the ACC,” Bibbs said. “Everybody is tough. We learned a big lesson from Duke, and we came back and defended Cassell [Coliseum].

“It feels good, but we have to keep it going.”

Bibbs connected on 12 of 18 from the floor, including three 3-pointers. He made all five of his free-throw attempts. His 12 field goals also were a career high.

The Hokies led 89-84 after Zach LeDay made the second of two free throws with 40.7 seconds remaining and seemed to have the game in hand. But in the final 20 seconds, Wake Forest got 3-pointers from Mitchell Wilbekin and Codi Miller-McIntyre on consecutive possessions, the final of which cut the Hokies' lead to 91-90 with 9 seconds left.

Wake Forest (10-6, 1-3) then fouled the Hokies' Kerry Blackshear, Jr., with 6.3 seconds to go, and Blackshear – a 66.7 percent free-throw shooter coming in – made both free throws to give the Hokies a 93-90 lead.

Miller-McIntyre pushed the ball up the court and attempted a 3-pointer. He was fouled by Bibbs and went to the free-throw line, needing to make all three attempts to tie the game. He missed the first one, and made the second one. He missed the third one intentionally, with the ball going out of bounds.

“I was just praying and hoping he’d miss it,” Bibbs said. “That’s what he did. After he missed the first one, I was like, ‘Thank God.’”

The Hokies then threw the ball inbounds and ran out the clock.

Wake Forest shot 58.9 percent from the floor (33 of 56), but the Hokies held off the Demon Deacons by making 29 of 35 from the free-throw line (82.9 percent). That free-throw percentage was a season high for Tech.

“We’re fortunate to win – and that’s not coach-speak,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “We could not guard them in the second half. I think, at the first timeout, they had scored every single possession. They just kept us in rotation. We couldn’t guard the ball. Six guys in double figures … it’s hard to beat a team that shoots it as well as they did.

“You would think that if you shot 50 percent from the field and 45 percent from the 3 and 83 percent from the free-throw line, 29 free-throw makes and six turnovers … you would not think that it would have been a one-possession game. So we’re thankful that we won. I get all that. But I don’t want our guys to be deceived. If we try to turn it into a scoring contest, we’ll lose.”

Bibbs scored 18 of his points in the final six minutes of first half to give the Hokies a 45-38 halftime lead. LeDay finished with 20 points for Virginia Tech, hitting 6 of 10 from the floor, including four 3-pointers, and Justin Robinson added a career-high 17.

The Hokies shot 50 percent (28 of 56) for just the third time this season.

Miller-McIntyre led Wake Forest with 22 points. Devin Thomas added 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Virginia Tech continues conference play this Saturday with a game at Georgia Tech. Tipoff is slated for noon.

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