The Jacket’s men’s basketball team lost to No. 8 Wake Forest Wednesday night in Winston-Salem, N. C, 87-69. The Jackets upset the Deacons earlier in the season at Alexander Memorial Coliseum when Wake was ranked No. 6. The Jan. 31 win over the Deacons was the last victory for the Jackets who now sit at 10-15 overall and 1-11 in the ACC.
Senior guard Lewis Clinch led the Jackets with 24 points. Two other Jackets reached double digit points with freshman guard Iman Shumpert and sophomore forward Gani Lawal each contributing 14 and 13 points respectively.
The Jackets stumbled out of the gate against the Deacons committing three turnovers within the first 70 seconds of play. By the 80 second mark into the game, Wake had already racked up a seven point advantage over the Jackets, who were still scoreless by that time.
With Wake continuing their momentum, the Deacons reached a 20 point lead with 12:16 left to play in the first half. The 18-5 Wake run was capped off with a three-pointer by sophomore guard Gary Clark. The Jackets managed to go tit-for-tat with the Deacons for the rest of the half keeping the lead between 15 and 20 points. The Jackets had a bit of a rally toward the end of the half going on an 8-0 run to cut the Deacon lead down to 11 going into the locker room.
The Jackets shot under 40 percent from the field for the half; in comparison the Deacons pulled their field goal percentage up to 56 percent. The Jackets however outpaced the Deacons from behind the arc with Tech going 8-for-14 to Wake’s 5-11.
While Wake freshman forward Al-Farouq Aminu, brother of Tech senior forward Alade Aminu, started out the second half with a dunk, the Jackets were able to chip away at the Wake lead taking it all the way down to five points with 13:28 to play in the game. The Deacons then mounted a 16-4 run against the Jackets to bring their lead back to 17. From there the Deacons held the Jackets ending the game with an 18 point lead.
Tech was able to improve on their field goal percentage for the game by shooting 44 percent in the second half. Tech also showed continuing improvement from behind the free-throw line, hitting 70 percent. But the Jackets strength from behind the arc fell off in the second as they went two-for-nine from three-point range.
Lawal led the Jackets on the boards with eight rebounds. Clinch followed close behind with six. Clinch did manage to lead the Jackets in the number of assists, racking in 5 of Tech’s total of 14. But with Clinch’s 37 minutes of play also came a team high six turnovers, twice as many as the next highest Jacket.
Most of Wake’s roster saw action during at least some part of the game with 14 different players playing at least some stint. Deacon sophomore forward James Johnson led his team in point with 24 and also picked up a double-double for the game bringing in 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Jeff Teague picked up 15 points for the Deacons, and Aminu rounded out the top three scorers for Wake with 14.
The Jackets hope to get some momentum going on Sunday when they take in conference rival Clemson at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The Jackets will then travel up to UNC next Saturday before closing out the home schedule against Miami, and the regular season in Chestnut Hill, Mass. against Boston College.
The Jackets will have a little advantage in the ACC Tournament this year as the tournament will be held at the Georgia Dome. The winner of the Tournament will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.