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ACC Roundup - Wake Escapes And Louisville Is No Longer Winless

As Wake pulls off a Great Escape

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NCAA Basketball: Duke at Wake Forest
Jan 8, 2019; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; The Wake Forest Demon Deacons mascot stands on the court in the first half against the Duke Blue Devils at Lawrence Joel Coliseum. 
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

When we looked at Wednesday’s ACC Action, it seemed obvious: Wake Forest would have minimal trouble with Appalachian State and Louisville would fall to a tough Western Kentucky team.

Well that just goes to show.

When we checked in on the Wake Forest game in the first half, it was clear that the Deacs were playing with fire. Appalachian is sensational in football but in basketball, ASU has always been overshadowed by the Big Four - Duke, UNC, NC State and Wake Forest.

So when the Mountaineers were up by one with 1.3 left, it just seemed like one of those games that was destined to slip away.

Only Andrew Carr didn’t think so.

The 6-10 junior, a transfer from Delaware, caught the inbounds pass from Cameron Hildreth and did a passable imitation of Christian Laettner, nailing a turnaround jumper as time expired to get the 67-66 win.

You had to feel bad for the App State kids who did everything right to be in position to win, only to have it snatched away at the last possible second. Basketball can be cruel.

It was an exciting end to be sure, but there’s no reason why Wake should have been in that situation in the first place. Now the question is simple: is it a mark of a flawed team? Just an exam game that got janky? Or is the thrilling end a sign that the Deacs are ready to step up a notch?

Speaking of stepping up a notch, Nolan Smith and Louisville won't go winless: the Cards pulled off a surprise, beating Western Kentucky 93-84.

The Cards have been struggling in many ways, but not least of all at point guard. El Ellis is not a natural fit, but he was superb against the Hilltoppers, scoring 30 points on 10-19 from the floor and getting 10 assists.

Louisville also hit 52 percent from deep (13-25) and held a solid shooting WKU squad to 9-26 from out there.

It must be a massive relief for the team and, really, the entire city, which is really bonded to the Cardinals basketball team. And obviously Duke fans are really happy for Smith, who has had a nightmare return to Louisville so far (if by any chance you didn’t know, his dad played there and he grew up around the program).

With Florida A&M and Lipscomb coming up next, there’s even a chance of a win streak. Smith and his boss Kenny Payne still have a lot to overcome but winning fixes a lot of things. The mood in the locker room is bound to be better.

Everyone is off until Saturday when, aside from the aforementioned Louisville Florida A&M contest, Wake Forest visits Rutgers, UNC gets Ohio State in the Garden and in the headliner, Virginia hosts Houston - and those are just the highlights.

ACC Standings