Aluma, No. 16 Virginia Tech pound Wake Forest 84-46
By JIMMY ROBERTSON
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) No. 16 Virginia Tech bounced back from a tough home loss in a big way.
Keve Aluma scored 23 points, Tyrece Radford had 15 and the 16th-ranked Hokies pounded Wake Forest 84-46 on Saturday.
Fresh off a 69-53 loss to Georgia Tech on Tuesday night, Virginia Tech recorded its largest margin of victory for an Atlantic Coast Conference game. The previous record for the Hokies was a 94-65 win over Wake Forest in 2011.
"Take nothing away from Georgia Tech. I saw them play some (Saturday against Syracuse), and they were really good again. But we didn't play very well," Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said.
"To have that bounce-back in our step and be connected defensively, and we played with sense or urgency that I've come to expect around here from this team. It was certainly encouraging to watch."
Aluma hit 9 of 11 from the floor, including a career-high five 3-pointers. Nahiem Alleyne added three 3s and finished with 13 points.
Virginia Tech shot 68% (19 of 28) from the field in the first half and led by 27 at the break. The Hokies (15-5, 9-4) won for the fourth time in six games and remain in third place in the ACC standings.
"I just think we definitely locked in at practice, and we just wanted to come out here and make a stand right away," Aluma said. "We haven't really beaten anyone super badly. They've all been close games, so we just wanted to try and put our foots on their necks as soon as possible."
Jonah Antonio led the Demon Deacons (6-13, 3-13) with 12 points. Wake Forest has lost five straight games.
"The team, a month and a half ago, played a lot harder," Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes said. "I don't think we're playing very hard. It's interesting because in practice I don't see that as much, but it's not carrying over to the game for whatever reason."
Virginia Tech's Jalen Cone, who leads the Hokies with 37 3-pointers on the season, missed his second consecutive game with an ankle injury.
Cone had started four consecutive games before the injury. He averages 9.2 points per game.
"I do not expect him back next week," Young said. "I hope that we can get him back for the ACC Tournament. That's yet to be determined."
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons look ready for the season to end. They have just three victories over Power Five schools, and the roster lacks scorers - Wake Forest has scored more than 70 points just six times in 19 games. This program is facing a long rebuild under Forbes.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies, who have not lost back-to-back games this season, continue to beat up on the teams in the bottom half of the ACC standings. They moved to 6-2 against those teams, and that, combined with their four wins over ranked teams, have them in position for a high seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Virginia Tech probably will remain near its current spot in the Top 25 after responding in a big way following its loss to Georgia Tech on Wednesday.
Wake Forest: At Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
Virginia Tech: Hosts Louisville on Wednesday.
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Updated February 27, 2021