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January 25, 2014

Deacs fight off Irish at the end

Winston-Salem, NC - Devin Thomas had one of the most efficient performances of his career with 21 points on 10-11 shooting from the field to lead Wake Forest (14-6, 4-3 ACC) to a 65-58 win over Notre Dame (11-9, 2-5 ACC).

"I didn't even realize I missed a shot until the end of the game," Thomas said. "I was just playing the game and at the end of the game someone told me I missed one shot. We still won."

"It [the lane] was open. Coach [Jeff Bzdelik] just gave me a lot of confidence today. [He] told me to keep shooting the ball in practice. When a coach says for I think any player that gives you a lot of confidence and no worries and I think that's why my mindset was totally different today."

The Demon Deacons showed confidence, poise and mental toughness down the stretch during a critical juncture of the game.

Wake's saw its eight-point lead at the 7:37 mark of the second half completely evaporate when Garrick Sherman, who finished with 20 points, made a free throw with 2:24 remaining in regulation to put the Fighting Irish up 55-54.

Codi Miller-McIntyre only had two points until 1:54 left in the game when he made a layup to put the Deacs up for good. He scored six of Wake Forest's final 12 points to finish with eight points.

"That's going to happen when you play good basketball teams, especially when they have veteran players, you know that they are coming back," Bzdelik said. "You just have to keep battling as a team and I think our resolve as a team and our focus has been tougher mentally as well as physically."

"I think we are seeing the fruits of our labor in working towards being tough-minded. We are working through things and showing resolve. That's a testimony to the character of the players we have on this team."

The Demon Deacons showed great focus defensively, holding the Irish to 2-16 shooting from three-point range (12.5-percent) and 24-61 shooting from the field (39.3-percent).

Travis McKie, who scored 14 points, was key in defending Notre Dame sharpshooter Pat Connaughton (40.7-percent shooting from three-point range on the season). The junior swingman shot an abysmal 1-7 from behind the arc.


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