Feb. 18, 2009
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP)–James Johnson had 24 points and 11 rebounds and No. 8 Wake Forest avenged its worst loss of the season by holding off Georgia Tech, 87-69, on Wednesday night.
Less than three weeks after the Yellow Jackets stunned the Demon Deacons for their only Atlantic Coast Conference win of the season, Wake Forest saw a 23-point lead cut to five before pulling away behind Johnson’s dominance inside.
The sophomore hit 10 of 12 shots and was two points shy of his career high, helping Wake shoot 57 percent from the field.
Jeff Teague added 15 points for Wake Forest (20-4, 7-4), freshman Al-Farouq Aminu scored 14 and got the better of his older brother, Georgia Tech senior Alade Aminu, who was held to nine points.
That only victory was Jan. 31, when Shumpert’s jumper with 1 second left gave Georgia Tech a 76-74 win. It was part of a puzzling trend for Wake Forest, which has beaten good teams (North Carolina, Duke and Clemson) and lost to teams beneath them in the ACC standings (Georgia Tech, Miami and North Carolina State).
Early on, the Demon Deacons were nearly flawless and took advantage of a horrible start by the Yellow Jackets, who were coming off a 21-point loss to N.C. State on Saturday.
Walk-on and defensive specialist Nick Foreman got the start at guard ahead of the struggling Maurice Miller and was assigned to Teague. But it was the Georgia Tech front line and its anemic offense that caused its early hole.
The Yellow Jackets, which had beaten Wake three straight times, missed their first six shots and committed seven turnovers, with many of the mistakes unforced. It included Miller dribbling the ball off his foot in the backcourt, leading to Johnson’s dunk. Wake Forest raced to leads of 25-5 and 48-25 when Johnson buried a 3-pointer with 4:15 left.
But leads have evaporated quickly in the ACC this season, and Georgia Tech closed the half by hitting four 3s in a 14-2 run to get within 50-39 at halftime.
With Wake Forest suddenly taking bad shots, The Yellow Jackets closed the gap to 61-56 with 13:28 left when Alade Aminu hit a half-hook over his brother.
But Johnson soon went to work inside. He hit three shots in the paint in a 14-4 run that put it out of reach. Ishmael Smith added 11 points and eight assists, with several of his feeds helping Al-Farouq Aminu earn a season split with is older brother.
It’s the first time brothers have faced each other in the ACC since Wake Forest’s Jerry Montgomery played Roger and Maryland in 1969.