WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton warned earlier this week that, despite its disappointing record, Wake Forest had the ability to sneak up and bite any opponent on its schedule.
The Demon Deacons proved Hamilton right.
Brandon Childress hit the go-ahead free throws with 44.1 seconds left to help Wake Forest hold off Florida State 76-72 on Wednesday night.
The Demon Deacons (9-13, 2-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) had to fight to the final seconds to earn their first win in four weeks, sealed only when Doral Moore hit a free throw with 2.3 seconds left to make it a two-possession game.
Moore came up big late for Wake Forest. The 7-foot-1 junior had a dunk with 18.9 seconds left off a feed from Childress on the press break for a 75-72 lead. He also came up with key rebounds as FSU missed two free throws for the lead as well as a 3-pointer for the tie in the final seconds.
Phil Cofer scored 23 points for the Seminoles (16-6, 5-5).
FSU: The Seminoles had won three straight league games to put themselves squarely in the middle of the traffic jam far behind No. 2 Virginia in the league standings. But they squandered an opportunity for a road win by losing a 10-point lead late in the first half.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons entered this one in desperate need to stop its descent after seven straight losses. It didn’t help that starting senior guard Mitchell Wilbekin was out with an ankle injury, too. Yet Wake Forest’s offense kicked into gear after halftime and the Demon Deacons did enough to overcome its late-game fades this season for the win.
FSU: The Seminoles visit Louisville on Saturday.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons host No. 20 Clemson on Saturday.