Coming off a season in which they went 0-7 against Top 25 opponents, and 13-19 overall, it was hard to take the Wake Forest Demon Deacons seriously as they took on the 13th ranked Indiana Hoosiers.
However, after a late comeback garnered the Demon Deacons a 82-78 victory, Wake Forest proved they might be one of the most underrated teams in their Atlantic Coast Conference - and maybe in the country.
Led by a balanced offensive attack that saw five players record at least 10 points, Wake Forest came back from a 75-68 deficit in the final four minutes, outscoring the Hoosiers 14-3 over the final 4:08, and 10-1 over the final 2:38.
Wake Forest center Devin Thomas led all scorers with 21 points while Konstantinos Mitoglou put 18 on the board. Guards Mitchell Wilbekin and Bryant Crawford each put up 13 points while John Collins came off the bench to score ten points for the Demon Deacons (3-1).
Indiana was led by 16 points from Troy Williams, as well as an impressive 14 points off the bench from Robert Johnson.
Williams started the scoring with an impressive dunk 11 seconds into the game to give the Hoosiers an early 2-0 lead and then scrambled back down the court to block on of his two shots during the game. Williams had an impressive all-around game, dishing out four assists, recording five steals, and collecting three rebounds.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team able to hold any kind of sizeable lead. The biggest lead of the half came with about 5 minutes remaining, when Indiana's Nick Zeisloft (9 points) made consecutive 3-pointers that pushed Indiana into a 35-29 lead. However, the Demon Deacons came right back, retaking the lead on a Mitoglou layup with 1:56 remaining in the first half. Wilbekin drained a three-pointer that gave Wake Forest a halftime advantage of 50-45.
Wake Forest had a rough start to the second half, missing five shots in the first four minutes, four of those shots being botched layups. Indiana missed six shots in the same span but also collected six rebounds during those four minutes, allowing them to outscore the Demon Deacons 9-2 in the first four minutes. They took the lead on a Johnson 3-pointer with 16:01 remaining in the game.
The game continued to go back and forth. Indiana took several small leads but Wake Forest kept coming back. With 9:19 remaining on the clock, John Collins made a game-tying layup for the Demon Deacons and the score was knotted at 63. However, the Hoosiers responded by ripping off nine straight points, five of those coming from James Blackmon Jr. who collected just the five points in the game. The run bumped Indiana's lead to a high of nine points, the scoreboard reading 72-63 with 7:09 remaining in the game.
Indiana actually kept Wake Forest at a distance for several minutes, and with four minutes remaining, their lead stood at 75-68. It looked like Wake Forest's energy had run out, but the Demon Deacons had other thoughts.
Wilbekin and Thomas scored back-to-back layups to cut Indiana's lead to three points with three minutes remaining. The teams traded scores and then Collins made a huge layup that cut the lead to just one point, at 77-76 with 2:13 remaining in the game.
The next two minutes were played sloppily, as each team missed a pair of shots. For Wake Forest, they missed a chance to retake the lead, and for Indiana, they missed a huge opportunity to seal the game.
With 25 seconds remaining, Crawford laid the ball off the backboard and through the hoop for a 78-77 Wake Forest lead.
Williams was fouled on Indiana's next possession but the Hoosiers' leading scorer only made one of two shots to tie the game. Crawford went right back down the court to record another layup that gave Wake Forest an 80-78 lead with five seconds remaining.
John Collins, who had a spectacular game both offensively and defensively off the bench, stole the ball from Collin Hartman with two seconds left. He was fouled and promptly nailed two free throws to cinch Wake Forest's upset.
Both teams have a week off before playing next Monday. Wake Forest will visit Rutgers while Indiana hosts Alcorn St. as they look forward an upcoming matchup against defending champion Duke on December 2nd.