Wake Forest and Virginia Tech won tight contests against Big Ten opponents this week as they prepared to meet in an Atlantic Coast Conference opener Saturday in Blacksburg, Va.
Jake LaRavia's layup with five seconds remaining in overtime lifted Wake Forest (7-1) to a 77-73 defeat of visiting Northwestern on Tuesday night.
Alondes Williams is the Demon Deacons' leading scorer (19.5) and rebounder (5.6). LaRavia has contributed 15.5 points per contest, and Daivien Williamson has added 14.8 to form an effective and consistent trifecta.
Coach Steve Forbes hopes Wake's win over the Wildcats can be a springboard toward consistent ACC play.
"What you saw from Northwestern was a gritty, grimy and tough win," Forbes said. "There were a lot of runs in the game, and I was happy that we didn't fold when we were struggling to score.
"I am proud of my team and their toughness. We won the 50-50 balls at critical moments, and it led to a win tonight. Northwestern is disciplined, and they will win a lot of games. This was a good team win."
Virginia Tech (6-2) took the lead with just under five minutes left at Maryland on Wednesday night, then won 62-58. The Hokies snapped a two-game losing streak.
Keve Aluma led the Hokies with 17 points. Justyn Mutts tacked on 16 and Hunter Cattoor added 12. Aluma leads the team in scoring with 13.1 points per game, and Nahiem Alleyne ranks second with 12.5 per game.
The Hokies have averaged 70.3 points a game and have surrendered a stingy 53.4.
Virginia Tech held the Terrapins to 1-for-13 shooting from beyond the arc and has limited opponents to 21.4 percent shooting this season from 3-point range.
Hokies coach Mike Young was pleased with his team's response coming off losses to Memphis and Xavier.
"When we lost those two, that put a bee in your bonnet," he said. "We had to get some things figured out because we had played terrible. It was a nice team win, and we needed a little wind in our sails to move forward."
--Field Level Media