Winston-Salem, NC (Sports Network) - Devin Thomas put up a career-high 25 points along with 14 rebounds, and Wake Forest fought back from a 16-point deficit late in the first half to rally for a stunning 86-84 win over 18th- ranked North Carolina State at Lawrence Joel Coliseum.
Thomas added four blocks while making 10-of-13 shots from the field, and fellow freshman Codi Miller-McIntyre scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half to help Wake Forest (10-8, 3-3 ACC) spring the upset. Travis McKie contributed 16 points and eight rebounds for the Demon Deacons, who shot 59.4 percent after the break to notch their fifth straight win at home.
"We saw just a lot of great effort from a lot of players," Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik remarked. "Codi Miller-McIntyre hit some big shots and I thought our younger players really grew up today."
With leading scorer C.J. Leslie saddled with foul trouble for much of the second half, the Wolfpack (15-4, 4-2) allowed Wake Forest to amass 51 points over the final 20 minutes and were dealt a second loss in three outings following a 10-game win streak.
"I'm not a guy who makes excuses and blames anybody, but the fact that we were all somewhat saddled with fouls probably made our team cautious," said Wolfpack head coach Mark Gottfried. "It's a tough situation, because obviously you want your best offensive players in the game and you still need to get a stop or give up a foul and come out of the game. We just didn't do a very good job as a team defending, and I do think our foul trouble put us behind the eight ball."
Rodney Purvis paced NC State with 18 points and Richard Howell and Lorenzo Brown each finished with 13, with Howell pulling down 16 rebounds and Brown dishing out 10 assists in defeat.
Leslie also had 13 points despite being limited to just 18 minutes.
The Demon Deacons trailed 47-31 with under a minute to go in the first half and were down by two with seven minutes remaining in the game, then proceeded to rip off 12 consecutive points to move in front to stay.
Arnaud Adala Moto's second-chance layup with 6:40 left to play gave Wake Forest a 73-72 edge, and Miller-McIntyre buried a 3-pointer a minute later to extend the margin to four.
Following a minute-long stretch in which the Wolfpack committed two turnovers and Brown missed a pair of free-throw tries, the Deacons tacked on three more layups to take an 82-72 advantage with four minutes remaining.
"I challenged them at halftime," said Bzdelik. "I thought we were tentative, I thought we were unsure, we didn't have that belief that we could play, and I really challenged them and they responded."
NC State would climb back in it, though, with a freshened Leslie sparking a 10-1 tear that made it a one-point game heading into the final minute. The junior standout later had a chance to put the Wolfpack back ahead, but misfired on both foul shots after being hacked underneath with 29.9 seconds showing.
C.J. Harris hit 1-of-2 free throws on Wake's next trip to bring the lead back to two, and after Leslie and Purvis both failed to connect on shots in the paint in the closing seconds, McKie sank two more from the stripe to make it an 86-82 game with 3.4 seconds left.
The Wolfpack got a quick basket from Leslie and a steal of the inbounds pass by T.J. Warren, whose desperation attempt from half-court as the buzzer sounded was well off target.
NC State put together a 10-1 run to snap an early 7-7 tie and led comfortably throughout the first half, shooting 55.6 percent for the period to take a 47-35 advantage into the locker room.
A 8-0 spurt that featured transition layups from Brown and Warren enabled NC State to go up 27-13 just past the midway mark of the opening frame, though Wake would counter with a 7-2 flurry capped by a Harris 3-pointer to cut the deficit to nine with 7:26 remaining before intermission.
The Deacons got as close as seven after Thomas converted a conventional three- point play just prior to the five-minute mark, but the Wolfpack ripped off a 12-4 burst shortly afterward and entered the final minute of the half up 47-31 following fastbreak baskets from Purvis and Warren on consecutive possessions.
Wake Forest managed to make it a 12-point differential at the break after recording the last four points of the period, then unleashed a 10-2 charge shortly after Leslie picked up his fourth foul to pull within 53-49 four minutes into the second half.
It remained a four-point spread until an 8-0 Deacons' run capped by a Miller- McIntyre jumper off an NC State turnover gave the hosts a 68-64 edge with just under nine minutes to go.