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Wake, Aminu hope to take something from early ACC exit

ATLANTA - With Wake Forest's 75-64 upset loss to Maryland in the quarterfinals Friday at the Georgia Dome, Al-Farouq Aminu's first trip to the ACC tournament ended a lot sooner than he or the Demon Deacons hoped.

And with talk of the former Norcross standout possibly making himself eligible for the NBA draft this summer, it could be his last ACC tournament appearance.

But with the NCAA tournament still ahead for both Aminu and Wake, the 6-foot-9 freshman certainly can make use of the lesson he learned playing in his hometown in one of the most electric atmospheres in college basketball.

It certainly was everything he expected it to be.

"My brother (Georgia Tech senior Alade Aminu) was telling me it would be really intense," Aminu said. "It was a great experience. I'll just try to suck it up and learn to bring (my game) to another level (in the NCAA tournament)."

Aminu finished with eight points, seven rebounds, a blocked shot and a steal in 30 minutes Friday.

It looked like those numbers might be even better after he scored all seven of his first-half points - tops among all Wake players in the first 20 minutes of play - in a 4:05 stretch.

That helped the Deacons erase an early nine-point deficit and take their last lead of the game after Aminu's two free throws with 4:48 left before intermission.

However, he picked up his second personal foul just 33 seconds later, prompting Wake coach Dino Gaudio to bring him to the bench for the rest of the half.

"Sitting down always hurts," Aminu said. "But I can't blame anybody for it. I've got to be able to get (back) into it."

Aminu never seemed to be able to get back into the flow of the game, especially after picking up his third foul with 14:12 remaining.

But as Gaudio pointed out, he was hardly alone in that respect and he believes the experience of this year's ACC tournament can only help Aminu as the NCAA looms.

"Collectively, I think our foul trouble affected our psyche a little," Gaudio said. "(With) Farouq, I think it bothered him a little bit.

"(But) I think this will help us in the NCAA tournament."