James Banks III broke out of a slump with 20 points to lead Georgia Tech to a 92-79 win over Wake Forest on Saturday in Atlanta in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both teams.
Banks, a junior transfer from Texas, was 9 for 11 from the field and added three rebounds, two assists and three blocks. Banks had scored only 12 points over his last two games. He fell two points short of his career best set on Dec. 22 against Gardner-Webb.
Georgia Tech (9-5, 1-0) won its third straight ACC home opener under coach Josh Pastner. Wake Forest (7-6, 0-1) lost its conference opener for the fifth straight year.
The Yellow Jackets also got 16 points from Michael Devoe and 14 from Brandon Alston. Jose Alvarado added 13 points and seven assists.
The Demon Deacons got a career-high 28 points from Brandon Childress, who made a career-best seven of the team’s nine 3-point baskets. Jaylen Hoard had 19 points and eight rebounds and Chaundee Brown scored 10.
Georgia Tech never trailed in the first half and led 33-28 at the break. The Yellow Jackets closed the half by making six of their last eight shots and led by eight points with 56 seconds left, only to have Childress make a long 3-pointer with six seconds remaining.
Tech led by as many as 11 in the second half but was never able to bury the Demon Deacons.
Wake Forest trimmed the lead to three points when Brown made back-to-back layups to make it 49-46 with 11:27 left. But Tech scored eight straight, getting two baskets each from Alston — one on an underhanded shot on a desperation drive with the shot clock expiring — and Banks. That stretch restored Georgia Tech’s 11-point lead.
Wake Forest got as close as five points after Hoard’s three-point play, but Tech restored order on a 3-pointer from Devoe and a layup from Evan Cole. Wake Forest never again got closer than eight points.
Georgia Tech leads Wake Forest 43-40 in the all-time series, including 30-9 in games played in Atlanta.
Wake Forest plays next on Tuesday at home against No. 1 Duke. Georgia Tech plays at home on Wednesday against No. 10 Virginia Tech.
—Field Level Media