GREENSBORO — Wake Forest’s Davien Williamson hit a 3-pointer with half a second remaining to break a tie and give the Demon Deacons a 77-74 win over Syracuse on Wednesday in the ACC Tournament.
The clutch shot allowed the 9th-seeded Deacs to advance to Thursday’s ACC quarterfinals for a date against top-seeded Miami.
“It means a lot because my first year here we lost, basically, in the same fashion to Notre Dame,” Williamson said. “We had them hit a game-winning shot against us, so it kind of came around full circle.”
That was in the opening round of the 2021 ACC Tournament, when Notre Dame’s Trey Wertz hit a buzzer-beater to give the Irish an 80-77 win over Wake.
“My three first-round games have been a loss on a 40-footer here, an overtime loss against Boston College in Brooklyn, and now a win on a last-second shot,” said coach Steve Forbes. “I don’t know how. My heart rate is still at 120.”
This time, Williamson had the chance to even the ledger.
“On defense, I was isolated against Joe Girard, who is a great player,” said Williamson. “So I just tried my hardest to make him miss. He missed and I got it out. We knew we had no timeout (left), so I just pushed the ball. I passed to (point guard Tyree Appleby). I knew he was going to get it back to me — that’s why I gave it to him.”
“What a great play by Peanut Butter and Jelly here,” Forbes said, referring to his two guards who handled the ball on that last shot. “Peanut Butter passed it to Jelly and Jelly made — what an unbelievable finish.”
Williamson then knocked down a 3-pointer to give Wake Forest its first ACC Tournament win since March 7, 2017, snapping a six-game ACC Tourney losing streak for the Deacs.
“Getting into the postseason and winning that first game, coach was talking about that before. You always want to go and win that first one for one another,” said Appleby.
Appleby had 15 points and 12 assists for Wake Forest, including getting credited for an assist on Williamson’s game-winner. Williamson had a 17 points, tying with Bobi Klintman for most on the team. Klintman’s scoring outburst was a career high, and he also had 11 rebounds — one off his career best — for a double-double.
“I feel like every game has been a game where I feel more comfortable,” Klintman said. “And my teammates trust me. In practice they be telling me to shoot the ball more and stuff like that, so just play with confidence and just do what I can do. It’s helped me a lot. Today the ball was going in.”
The loss ended a disappointing season for Syracuse and ended the 47th year in coaching for Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim. He was noncommittal about his future following the game, saying that it was “up to the university” whether or not he returned.