WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Ishmael Smith nailed a hanging jumper with 0.6 seconds to play to cap a stunning comeback and help Wake Forest beat Virginia Tech 77-75 on Sunday.
Smith finished with 18 points, the last a tough basket over Malcolm Delaney, as the Demon Deacons (8-3, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) erased an eight-point deficit in the final 82 seconds. Their improbable 10-point run included a banked-in 3-pointer from freshman Gary Clark who hadn't hit a 3 since the season opener that tied the game at 75 with 48.5 seconds left.
Then, after a miss from Jeff Allen inside that gave the ball back to Wake Forest, Smith worked on the clock before pulling up at the right elbow for the shot. The ball swished cleanly through the net, sending the Demon Deacons spilling onto the court in celebration.
Officials reviewed the basket at courtside and determined that 0.6 seconds remained, giving the Hokies (6-5, 0-1) one more chance. But David Weaver intercepted Deron Washington's long inbound heave to seal a stunning collapse.
The Hokies who made a living at the foul line all day and used tough defense in the second half to pull ahead seemed to have the game in hand after a layup from Dorenzo Hudson and a free throw from Washington made it 75-67 with 1:22 to play.
But the Demon Deacons refused to go away despite missing their first 12 3-point tries of the second half. First, Smith drained a 3 on the ensuing play to cut the deficit to five. Then, A.D. Vassallo inexplicably fired up a quick 3-pointer on the next play that was rebounded by Jeff Teague, who raced the length of the court for a layup that made it 75-72 with 1:02 left.
Vassallo's shot had coach Seth Greenberg screaming "What are you doing?!" from the sideline.
But things only got worse.