Men’s basketball loses final game of season

Wake Forest falls to Georgia Tech 75-63, ending regular season play on a low note


Christian Odjakjian, Staff Writer

Entering Friday night’s game against Georgia Tech, Wake Forest had lost their last five games by an average of 22.8 points. The teams couldn’t have been crossing paths from more opposite standpoints, as the Yellow Jackets were coming off of five straight wins, injecting life into their NCAA Tournament hopes.

After a tightly contested first half, Georgia Tech took control in the second and pulled away to secure a 75-63 victory over Wake Forest. It was the first and only game at the Joel all season that students were allowed to attend.

“I’m very proud of the effort of my team tonight,” Head Coach Steve Forbes said. “We were really good defensively. We took them out of their stuff. They really just beat us one-on-one.”

“Wake Forest is good, they have gotten better,” said Georgia Tech Head Coach Josh Pastner. “Coach Forbes and his staff deserve so much credit. They have gotten better. They have improved. That’s a good basketball team we beat.”

Stout defense had the Demon Deacons squarely in it early, as the score was tied at 23 with less than four minutes to go in the opening half. Georgia Tech finished the half on an 8-2 run to take a 31-25 lead into the break. The lead stretched to 11 within the first two minutes of the second half, and Wake Forest couldn’t trim it to fewer than five for the rest of the game.

Michael Devoe played an excellent game for the Yellow Jackets, scoring 20 points on 8-10 shooting. Devoe has dominated against Wake Forest this season, as he scored 17 back in the Jan. 3 ACC opener.

ACC Player of the Year Moses Wright scored 17 points, while Jordan Usher and star guard Jose Alvarado joined him in double figures with 14 and 11, respectively.

Ian Dubose and Davien Williamson continued to carry the load offensively in this game. Dubose scored an efficient 18 on 7-9 shooting and also made an impact defensively with four steals. Williamson put up 15 in his 13th double-digit scoring game of the season.

A bright spot for the Deacs was the play of freshman guard Quadry Adams. Adams wasn’t able to crack the rotation until March, but has done a great job with his limited opportunity. His defensive intensity made things difficult for Georgia Tech’s Alvorado, and he also threw down an impressive putback dunk in the first half.

“[Adams] has worked hard ever since he’s gotten here,” Dubose said. “He continues to push himself to become a better player. He’s a really talented player, a really great defender, a great finisher at the rim.”

Unless the Deacs pull off a historically shocking run in the ACC Tournament, the Steve Forbes inaugural season will be wrapping up this week. Even with a disappointing slide to close the regular season, Forbes seems optimistic with the direction of the program.

“The great thing tonight is that everything I’ve seen in practice from day one carried over to the court,” Forbes said. “We haven’t always carried it over, but tonight we did. That shows you the character that these kids have. That they keep fighting. They’ve represented our school in the right way … I wish we could’ve pulled out the win for them and for the fans, but I’m encouraged by the fight and effort that we had.”

The Deacs made Georgia Tech earn this significant win, and Coach Pastner was confident that the victory solidified Tech’s spot in the NCAA Tournament. Pastner was filled with joy talking to the media after the game, as this late-season push should send his team dancing for the first time in his five years at the helm of the Yellow Jackets.

Dubose, Jonah Antonio, Jalen Johnson, Blake Buchanan and Sunday Okeke were all honored in the Senior Night ceremony before the game. The NCAA is providing all student-athletes with a free year of eligibility because of the pandemic, so some of these players may still be on the team next year.

As the No. 14 seed in the ACC tournament, Wake Forest will face a hot Notre Dame team in the opening round.