No. 20 Virginia Tech out to handle business at Wake Forest
No. 20 Virginia Tech seems well on the way to establishing itself as one of the top Atlantic Coast Conference teams this season.
Wake Forest hasn't set much of a foundation across a brutal stretch of conference games.
The teams meet Sunday night when the Hokies travel to Winston-Salem, N.C.
Virginia Tech (10-2, 4-1 ACC) was the first team in the league to reach the 10-win mark.
"I think we've got a chance to be really good," Hokies coach Mike Young said.
Wake Forest (3-4, 0-4) has been competitive in its past three games, but there have been too many second-half glitches to produce victories. The Sunday contest will be the fourth consecutive outing for the Demon Deacons against a nationally ranked team.
"We've got our work cut out for us," Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes said. "These kids will keep plugging."
Virginia Tech, which lost 73-71 at Louisville on Jan. 6, is set to play only its second true road game of the season.
The Hokies should be fully confident after securing a 74-67 victory against No. 19 Duke on Tuesday night. They showed several signs that they might be able to sustain their success in addition to defeating a few nationally ranked teams.
"I was pleased with their patience, their poise, and togetherness," Young said. "They continued to share, and I do think that is the mark of a team that's been there and done it and knows what it takes."
The next four games for Virginia Tech come against teams with a combined record 2-16 record in ACC play entering the weekend, so the possibility looms large for more short-term rewards.
"We just have to stay humble," Hokies guard Tyrece Radford said.
Virginia Tech gets significant contributions from multiple sources. Among the ACC's top 20 scorers, only Keve Aluma at 15.6 points per game represents the Hokies. Aluma is also tops on the team in field-goal percentage at 51.6 percent.
Guard Jalen Cone has made a big impact for the Hokies. In his nine games, he is 30-for-73 (41.1 percent) on 3-point attempts, with his 3.33 made treys per game the leading mark in the ACC.
Cone will be playing Sunday night's game just a few miles from his hometown of Walkertown, N.C.
For Wake Forest junior reserve Isaiah Wilkins, the game a chance to compete against his former team. He played in 66 games across two seasons for Virginia Tech, making five starts last season.
Daivien Williamson has been Wake Forest's leading or co-leading scorer for two straight games with 17 and 19 points vs. Duke and Louisville, respectively.
On the plus side for Wake Forest, it committed a season-low 11 turnovers Wednesday night against the Cardinals despite playing without guard Carter Whitt, who injured an ankle earlier in the day during an on-court workout.
Shooting 7-for-29 (24.1 percent) from 3-point range, as the Demon Deacons did against Louisville, won't get it done.
"We can't shoot 20 percent from 3 and win games at our place," Forbes said. "I'm pretty sure we got a lot of wide-open looks, and we've got to make those."
Virginia Tech has committed more than 11 turnovers in only four of 12 games this season.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 16, 2021