Wake Forest Holds Off Virginia 55-52

Jan. 9, 2013

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By Alex Botoman, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@TieDyeNation)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - C.J. Harris and Travis McKie scored in double figures as Wake Forest held off a late Virginia run to post a 55-52 win over the Cavaliers on Wednesday at Joel Coliseum.

The Demon Deacons (8-6, 1-1 ACC) led by as many 14 points in the second half but had to hold off a late Cavalier charge to earn their first conference victory of the season. The Deacons were held without a field goal over the final 10:22 of the game but went 9-for-11 from the free throw line during that stretch and used tough defense to gut out the win.

"This was a great, gutty win by our young basketball team," said head coach Jeff Bzdelik. "We showed we're very resilient. We just battled; defended our tails off from wire to wire. I'm really proud of these guys; they deserve this."

Harris led Wake Forest with 16 points, including a perfect 8-of-8 mark from the free throw line, with six of the free throws coming in the final 1:19. McKie added 14 points and three assists along with two blocks and went a perfect 5-of-5 from the charity stripe. Both players scored in double figures for the sixth straight game.

Devin Thomas grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Deacs and also blocked a team-leading three shots.

The Demon Deacons forced a Virginia (11-4, 1-1 ACC) side that entered the night averaging only 11.5 turnovers per game into 17 turnovers while turning the ball over only 12 times themselves.

"We've been working really hard on the defensive end," said Bzdelik. "Defense is a team effort. They're really growing together as a group. We learned a lot from the Duke game, and it carried over to tonight."

Wake Forest went 15-of-21 (71.4 percent) for the game, with all 15 makes coming in the second half, to counteract a poor second-half shooting effort.

Arnaud William Adala Moto led the Deacons out of the gate with a long jumper on Wake Forest's first possession and a beautiful post move soon after to put the Deacons ahead 4-2. A few minutes later, back-to-back jumpers by Tyler Cavanaugh and C.J. Harris stretched the Wake Forest advantage to 10-5 at the 14:19 mark.

The Demon Deacons closed out the first half on an 11-4 run, with Travis McKie scoring seven of Wake Forest's points in a row during the stretch.

Wake Forest carried momentum out of the break with another 11-4 spurt, with the Deacons' defense holding the Cavaliers without a field goal for 5:38.

But once the `Hoos final broke the ice, they tallied nine points in three minutes for a 9-2 run that cut the Deacon advantage to 46-39 with 7:34 remaining in the game. The Deacons couldn't buy a field goal, going the last 10:24 of the game without one but were still able to hold off the Cavaliers who could never completely close the gap.

Wake Forest will continue ACC play on Saturday when it hosts Boston College at 4 p.m. at Joel Coliseum. The game will be televised on RSN and can be heard on the Wake Forest IMG Sports Network.

 

 

 

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