Georgia Tech Defeats No. 6 Wake Forest, 76-74
The Yellow Jackets improve to 10-10; 1-6 in the ACC.
Jan. 31, 2009
Iman Shumpert found a way.
The freshman hit a pull-up jumper with one second remaining to lift Georgia Tech to its first Atlantic Coast Conference win, a 76-74 upset of No. 6 Wake Forest on Saturday.
Shumpert had only five points before tying the game on a basket with 20 seconds remaining and then faking a drive to the basket before stopping to hit his winning shot.
"I took what they gave me," the 6-foot-5 Shumpert said. "I knew I could shoot over whoever they put on me. I'm taller than their guards."
Shumpert made his last shot over Jeff Teague, who is 6-2.
"He had a good shot," Teague said. "I actually touched his elbow. I thought he was going to drive all the way to the basket. He made a good move."
Wake Forest committed two turnovers in the final 35 seconds and lost to the ACC's last-place team only three days after beating top-ranked Duke.
Wake Forest players insisted they did not experience a letdown after the win over Duke.
"It didn't have anything to do with the Duke game," said James Johnson, who had 13 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
Georgia Tech senior Alade Aminu had 10 points, 13 rebounds and career-high six blocks while younger brother Al-Farouq Aminu led Wake Forest with 17 points, 11 rebounds and five steals.
The last-second drama stole the spotlight from only the second matchup of brothers on opposing teams in ACC history. On Jan. 3, 1969, Wake Forest's Jerry Montgomery faced his brother Roger of Maryland in a game won by the Demon Deacons.
"Until we play them again, at least Alade can talk a little junk now," Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt said. "He has trash-talking rights now."
The younger Aminu turned down offers from Georgia Tech and North Carolina to sign with Wake Forest. He posted his eighth double-double of his freshman season.
"I tried to shake his hand after the game, but he was too low," said Alade Aminu, who said seeing his brother's disappointment only slightly dimmed his euphoria.
"I was sad, but not that sad," the older brother said with a smile.
Said Al-Farouq: "I didn't want to beat him personally, just beat his team. He wanted to win as much as I did."
Gani Lawal had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Yellow Jackets (10-10, 1-6), who ended a five-game losing streak. Lawal played with Al-Farouq Aminu at Norcross High near Atlanta.
Georgia Tech was the last ACC team to pick up its first conference win.
Teague had 16 points for Wake Forest (17-2, 4-2).
"There are no upsets in this league," Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio said. "I don't care where you are playing, this is the best league in the country."
Gaudio noted his team had a full week to prepare for wins over Duke and North Carolina, while Georgia Tech had six days to practice for the Demon Deacons.
"Timing in these games is so important, don't think it's not," Gaudio said. "But Georgia Tech deserved to win."
Wake Forest led 74-72 after the Aminu brothers traded baskets. Following a miss by Georgia Tech's Lewis Clinch, who had 19 points, the Demon Deacons were called for a shot clock violation with 34 seconds left.
Shumpert's jumper with 20 seconds left tied the game, and the Demon Deacons turned the ball over again when Harvey Hale's inbounds pass went untouched out of bounds with 7 seconds left.
Hale tried to throw the ball to Johnson after Georgia Tech's Nick Foreman had Teague covered.
"It was just low," Johnson said. "I should have caught the ball."
Wake Forest led by 10 points midway through the first half but Georgia Tech rallied to trail only 43-41 at halftime. The Yellow Jackets' biggest lead in the second half was only three points.
It was a long-awaited win in a close game for Georgia Tech, which already has lost three overtime games in the conference and led in the final 10 minutes of each of its three ACC road losses.
"It's great for the guys," Hewitt said. "You get to 0-6 and you start to doubt yourself. That's been the biggest thing. We were playing poorly and I kept telling them that they were doing all the right things ... we just have to get rewarded. Today was a great reward, especially for a young man like Iman."
Gaudio said he never doubted the Yellow Jackets would play a tough, physical game, and he tried to make sure his players understood the challenge ahead in a film review on Friday night.
"One of the things we did last night was we must have showed them 15 physical plays from last year," Gaudio said. "We showed them ... how physical the game was going to be."
Led by Lawal and Alade Aminu, the Yellow Jackets had a 44-35 rebound advantage and won despite going 3-of-18 on 3-pointers.