You almost have to feel sorry for Wake Forest: just when the Deacs looked ready to grab some glory, well, Virginia snatched it right back.
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How bad was it? Try this: with 21 seconds left, Wake was up 70-63.
But let's set the stage a bit.
- With :39 left, Konstantinos Mitoglou missed a free throw then made one - 69-63.
- With :28 left, he split again - 70-63.
- With :24 left, Bryant Crawford stole the ball...and turned it over - 70-63.
- With :17 left, Marial Shayok made a three - 70-66.
- With :11 left, Devin Thomas - a senior - missed both of his free throws - 70-66
- With :05 left, Malcolm Brogdon hit a three - 70-69.
- With :03 left, Bryant Crawford missed his first and made his second - 71-69.
- With :01 left, Darius Thompson hit Virginia's last three.
But it's even worse than that: Virginia scored 18 points in the last :93 seconds. That's astounding for anyone, but Virginia is rightly celebrated for a deliberate offense (afterwards an amazed Bennett said "we scored 18 in the last 1:16? We're an offensive juggernaut." Everyone's a comedian).
By contrast, Wake missed eight free throws in the last 1:57 and five in the last :39.4. Overall, Wake was just 19-29 for 65.5%.
It must be a devastating loss for Wake Forest, but a lot of young teams need a few kicks in the gut to grow up. Danny Manning's team certainly got one - and they know it. Check out Codi Miller-McIntyre:
"I think as a whole, we thought we had won it already. There's a reason why Virginia is ranked and we're still trying to get there. They play extremely hard for the entire 40 minutes, in my opinion...Their shots weren't falling but they just kept playing hard until, literally, the last second. And I just believe that even though we got super excited, we didn't keep that energy as high as we can for an extra minute. I think tonight we played 39 legit minutes, or 38 minutes and 40 seconds. And that just shows you that you can lose a game in the last minute, no matter what you're up by.''
How will they respond? We'll see on Sunday as the Demon Deacons visit Notre Dame. But know this: this loss is going to go down in history as one of the most devastating losses ever for Wake Forest.
Up in Boston, the Eagles gave a credible effort against Florida State before falling 72-62.
As has happened quite often this season, BC kept up for awhile before falling behind.
Somewhat like Wake Forest, but more so, BC relies on a number of young players. There's no shortcut to experience.
Unfortunately for the Eagles, Justin Robinson went up for a late dunk and came down holding his wrist. No word yet on whether it's a serious injury but it didn't look good.
All of Wednesday's games are really interesting:
Can Clemson get back to its recent winning ways? Can Virginia Tech break through against Louisville? How will State do without Cat Barber - assuming he can't play?