WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP)Michael Devoe scored 24 points and backcourt mate Jose Alvarado added 22 to lead Georgia Tech to an 86-79 road victory over Wake Forest on Wednesday night.
Devoe, who missed the final three minutes of the opening round after tweaking his knee, scored 16 in the second half as the Yellow Jackets (13-13, 7-8 ACC) rebounded after squandering a 13-point first-half lead.
Brandon Childress and freshman reserve Jahcobi Neath each scored 16 to lead the Demon Deacons (11-15, 4-12), who are a half-game ahead of last-place North Carolina.
Devoe and Alvarado were effective driving to the basket, resulting in several Tech dunks and layups. Moses Wright added 14 points and Jordan Usher had 10 for the Jackets.
Chaundee Brown scored 13 for Wake, and Olivier Sarr and Ismael Massoud had 11 apiece.
Both teams were effective getting high-percentage shots. Tech shot 52% to Wake’s 49%.
Tech scored nine straight points en route to a 16-3 run to race out to a 13-point lead late in the first half. But Wake used a 7-2 run to pull within 37-29 at halftime. The Deacons reeled off nine straight points to start the second half and grab the lead.
But a pair of dunks by Evan Cole and another by Moses Wright helped the Jackets take a 46-40 lead with 14:06 left.
Wake tied the game four times down the stretch. But Devoe was dominant in the final minutes. His driving scoop shot with 2:46 left gave Tech a 74-69 lead. A dunk by Cole expanded the lead to six with 2:09 to play.
The Deacons made one final run when Isaiah Mucius drilled a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 78-74 with 55 seconds left. Leading 81-75, the Jackets sealed the victory with Cole’s steal with 32 seconds to play.
Before the game, Wake Forest added a banner bearing the likeness of former coach Dave Odom to the rafters at Joel Coliseum. Odom, who coached at the school from 1989-2001, guided Tim Duncan and the Deacons to back-to-back ACC Tournament titles in 1995 and 1996. The late Skip Prosser is the only other Wake coach accorded the honor.
Alvarado scored 13 points in the first half as Tech took a 37-29 lead into intermission.
After a slow start by both teams, the Jackets broke away from a tie at 17 with a 16-3 run triggered by nine straight points and extended the lead to as much as 13 points.
Georgia Tech: The Jackets needed the victory in their quest to avoid a first-round ACC Tournament game – if the NCAA doesn’t rule against their appeal to a postseason ban.
Wake Forest: The Deacons, who lost by 17 to Miami on Saturday, squandered a great opportunity at home with a big crowd on hand to honor Odom. Speculation about coach Danny Manning’s future is likely to increase.
Georgia Tech: The Jackets play at Syracuse on Feb. 22.
Wake Forest: The Deacons are home against Duke on Feb. 25.
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