Bibbs' 32 lead Virginia Tech over Wake Forest 93-91
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) Last season, Virginia Tech won just two games in ACC play.
The Hokies already have eclipsed that number two weeks into conference play this season.
Justin Bibbs scored a career-high 32 points to lift Virginia Tech to a 93-91 victory over Wake Forest on Wednesday night.
Bibbs connected on 12 of 18 from the floor, including three 3-pointers. He made all five of his free-throw attempts.
Coming off a 24-point loss at Duke on Saturday, Virginia Tech (11-6, 3-1 ACC) 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.''
The Hokies led 89-84 with 40.7 seconds remaining after Zach LeDay made the second of two free throws. But 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 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).
''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.''
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.
''Virginia Tech made some timely shots,'' Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said. ''We couldn't stay in front of them. They shot 35 free throws and got 29 points from the free-throw line. We shot 18. We've got to do a better job of guarding the ball and staying in front.''
Miller-McIntyre led Wake Forest with 22 points. Devin Thomas added 16 points and 11 rebounds.
Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech's 93 points were a season high. ... The Hokies' 82.9 percent shooting from the free-throw line was their best this season. ... Virginia Tech was averaging 24.3 points in the first half of their three ACC games, but scored 45 against Wake Forest. ... Robinson's 17 surpassed his previous high of 11, which came on two occasions. ... LeDay scored in double figures for a team-best 14th time. ... Satchel Pierce hadn't scored in the Hokies' three previous games, but had six points and four rebounds.
Wake Forest: Thomas has 10 double-doubles on the season and 31 for his career. ... Wake Forest has lost 16 straight ACC road games. The Demon Deacons haven't won an ACC road game since winning in Blacksburg on Jan. 22, 2014. ... The Demon Deacons lost a game decided by six points or less for the first time this season. . Wake Forest is now 2-6 in Blacksburg since Virginia Tech joined the ACC for the 2004-05 season.
Virginia Tech plays at Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Wake Forest plays Syracuse at home on Saturday.