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February 25, 2014

Deacs snap losing streak

Winston-Salem, NC - Jaron Blossomgame inadvertently tapped out K.J. McDaniels missed free-throw to Codi Miller-McIntyre, who drove the length of the court for a layup, was fouled and converted the and-one opportunity with 1:34 remaining in regulation to break Clemson's (17-10, 8-7 ACC) momentum, help Wake Forest (15-13, 5-10 ACC) hang on to beat the Tigers 62-57 and snap the Demon Deacons seven-game losing streak.

Wake, which trailed 30-23 at halftime, started the second half with a 12-4 scoring run to take a 35-34 lead when Travis McKie made a layup at the 15:20 mark, and led for good when Arnaud Adala Moto converted an and-one opportunity with 9:30 to go in the game.

"Coach [Jeff Bzdelik] told us we'll win when you're tired of losing," Wake Forest forward Devin Thomas said.

It took 31 days for the Deacs to beat their demons, as Wake managed to overcome a nine-point deficit and no offensive rebounds in the first half to Clemson's seven that led to nine second-chance points for the Tigers.

"In the second half we corrected what we were not doing well in the first half," Bzdelik said. "It has been our Achilles' heel in the past couple weeks and that was outrebounding Clemson in the second half."

"Clemson is a great defensive team and we shot a really good percentage both halves. That and the 2-3 zone changed the whole game for us."

Brad Brownell eventually made adjustments to Wake Forest's 2-3 zone, but Bzdelik outsmarted the Clemson head coach with a switch to a 3-2 zone. Bzdelik's timely defensive changes coupled with McKie's defense on McDaniels were too much for the Tigers.

McDaniels, who battled a cramp in the elbow of his shooting hand late in the game, struggled to come through with plays he usually makes. The junior forward from Birmingham, who leads Clemson with an average of 17 points, 7.1 and an ACC-best 2.8 blocks per game, was held to 10 points (3-11 field goal attempts, 3-6 free-throw attempts), three rebounds, two steals, a block and three assists to a woeful four turnovers.

"Our best player [McDaniels] had a tough night," Brownell said. "He hasn't had many, but tonight was a night where he struggled a little and we didn't have enough other guys to play well to carry us in the second half."

Tyler Cavanaugh and Devin Thomas scored 12 points apiece, while Moto added 11 points and Miller-McIntyre chipped in 10 points after he went scoreless against North Carolina Saturday, Feb. 22 and has fought to overcome the pain from a nagging ankle sprain he sustained in a 79-70 loss to Georgia Tech Saturday, Feb. 1.

"That's just me trying to get back comfortable, because my ankle is fine now," Miller-McIntyre said. "It used to bother me in past games, but now [I'm] getting back into the offense."


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