WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Wake Forest needed at least one notable victory on its portfolio to impress the NCAA Tournament committee, and the Demon Deacons came up with that Wednesday night.
John Collins scored 25 points as Wake Forest secured a much-coveted result against a quality opponent by upsetting No. 8 Louisville 88-81 at Lawrence Joel Coliseum.
"I think our record was missing a win against a ranked opponent," Collins said. "We came together and got it."
Keyshawn Woods added 20 points, Dinos Mitoglou and Bryant Crawford each posted 12 points, and Mitchell Wilbekin had 11 for Wake Forest (17-12, 8-9 ACC). The Demon Deacons overcame a 14-point deficit to capture their home finale.
"Flight or fight, that's the situation that we're in," Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said. "We've had some near misses, and those don't count."
Deng Adel's 22 points and Quentin Snider's 15 points paced Louisville (23-7, 11-6). Jaylen Johnson and Mangok Mathiang had 13 and 12 points, respectively.
The Cardinals hoped to remain in contention for a shot at a share of the ACC regular-season title, but all they can do now is prevent Notre Dame from staying in position by winning Saturday.
Wake Forest played with a desperate tone.
"This team has to win tonight to be in the tournament," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said he told his players about Wake Forest. "This is their marque win."
The difference came from beyond the 3-point arc, with the Demon Deacons making 10 of long-distance shots compared to five for Louisville.
Collins reached the 20-point mark for the 12th game in a row.
"He's the best post player in our league, if not the country," Pitino said. "(Our players) didn't understand how good John Collins is."
The Demon Deacons surged to an 11-point advantage early in the second half after never holding a lead for the first 21 minutes. A technical foul assessed to Pitino came amid the Wake Forest rally.
The Cardinals' problems escalated as foul trouble mounted.
"They hurt our matchup zone. We had to go (man-to-man), and that really hurt us," Pitino said. "We tried to win the game by just playing offense. You do that, you're going to lose."
Plus, it was an off night at both ends of the court for Cardinals guard Donovan Mitchell, who entered the game averaging 16.1 points per game but scored only seven.
Louisville moved within 73-70 with more than four minutes to play, but a chance to pull closer was thwarted by a turnover.
Then 3-point baskets from Mitoglou and Wilbekin pushed the Demon Deacons to an 81-72 lead with two minutes remaining.
Louisville led by as many as 14 in the first half, but the Demon Deacons closed the half on a 12-2 run, capped by Wilbekin's 3-pointer. That left the Cardinals' lead at 43-42 at the break.
Overall, the Cardinals made 47.5 percent of their field-goal attempts while the Demon Deacons shot 46.4 percent.
-- Louisville was the only team in the country without a loss to an unranked opponent before the Wednesday result.
-- The Cardinals are 17-9 in regular-season games in March across a 13-year period.
-- At No. 8, Louisville was the highest-ranked opponent to visit Wake Forest this season.
-- The Demon Deacons defeated a Top 10 team for the first time since topping No. 5 Duke in March 2014.
-- Louisville won the two previous meetings since joining the ACC.
-- The Cardinals are home to finish the regular season Saturday against Notre Dame.
-- Wake Forest completes the regular season Saturday at Virginia Tech.