GREENSBORO, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Josh Howard scored 17 points as ninth-ranked Wake Forest shook off pesky Florida State, 69-61, in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
Freshman Justin Gray added 15 points and Jamaal Levy had 12 rebounds for the Demon Deacons (24-4), who will play North Carolina State, which defeated Georgia Tech, in Saturday's semifinals.
Wake Forest is the top seed in the ACC Tournament for just the third time in the 50-year history of the event, but the Demon Deacons needed a 16-6 run to pull away from the Seminoles and post their seventh straight win.
"I am thrilled. We got by a good Florida State team," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "I've been doing this for about 30 years and I told the kids that as far as tournament play, I believe one day has almost absolutely nothing to do with the next one."
A dunk by Anthony Richardson gave the Seminoles a 48-45 lead with 10:38 before Wake Forest rallied.
Gray had a layup and Vytas Danelius sank a 3-pointer with 9:16 left to tie the game at 50-50 before Wake Forest moved ahead for good on a pair of free throws by Levy.
A dunk by Danelius, who had 14 points, and two baskets by Howard soon followed before Taron Downey capped the spurt with a 3-pointer that made it 61-54 with 5:12 left.
"It was like an offensive explosion for us against them," Prosser said.
Florida State would get no closer than four points the rest of the way. Adam Waleskowski missed a wide-open layup that with 1:31 left that could have cut the margin to two points.
"Every time we have played Florida State they have played us tough," Gray said. "This was a learning experience for me and the whole team."
Howard, a leading candidate for ACC Player of the Year, made just seven of 15 shots.
Tim Pickett scored 17 points and Trevor Harvey 15 for the Seminoles, which lost its seventh straight game to Wake Forest and finished the season 14-15.
"We have made a tremendous amount of progress and improved in a lot of areas," Florida State coach Leoanrd Hamilton said. "We just showed that we still need a little work in some areas."
The Seminoles led by as many as 11 points in the first half, but the Demon Deacons went on an 11-0 run to tie it, 25-25, when Howard tipped in a missed shot by Danelius.