Wake Forest Opens Season With 75-63 Win Over Loyola
Carson Desrosiers set a new career-high with eight blocked shots.

Nov. 11, 2011

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - On 11-11-11, it was Wake Forest's No. 11 who stepped up to lead the Demon Deacons to a tough victory. Junior C.J. Harris scored a game-high 20 points and fueled a key first-half run, as Wake Forest opened the season with a 75-63 defeat of Loyola on Friday evening at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum.

Harris went 6-for-9 from the field, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc, to go along with six rebounds. The Winston-Salem native also hit five straight free throws to lead a 10-0 run that gave the Deacons an early 11-point advantage.

"Absolutely, it is due to confidence," said Harris. "I've grown so much and been through pretty much everything. I know when I have to take over in situations. I'm a junior so I had to step up and do what I needed to do."

Sophomore Travis McKie scored 19 points and added four boards and three steals for Wake Forest, who won its season opener for the 17th time in the past 18 seasons. The Deacons suffered an 89-79 loss to Stetson in last year's opener and vowed not to let it happen again this year.

"We are very happy that we won," said McKie. "Last year we talked about the Stetson game all the time. We weren't prepared or focused to win that game and we overlooked them. We won't overlook any team this year. Every team will be a tough game and we have to play like it."

Wake Forest never trailed and led by as many as 11 in the first half, but Loyola fought back with a 5-1 run to tie the game at 48-48 with 10:38 to play in the second period. The Deacons responded with a quick 7-0 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes, using three free throws from McKie and Fields and then layups by Desrosiers and Nikita Mescheriakov to regain control of the game.

Mescheriakov's layup at the 8:01 mark gave the Deacons a 55-48 advantage. The Greyhounds were able to climb back to within four but that was as close as they would get.

"Our team pulled through," said McKie. "We had a lot of freshmen out there and they showed a lot of determination and will. It was their first game, but they didn't panic and lose the ball. They stayed the course, as Coach [Bzdelik] said to do, and we made major strides tonight."

Carson Desrosiers came close to posting a triple-double, finishing the night with 10 rebounds, eight points and a career-high eight blocks.

Freshman Anthony Fields came off the bench to score seven points and dish out three assists in his collegiate debut. Classmate Daniel Green chipped in six points and six rebounds.

Wake Forest shot a solid 49 percent (24-of-49) from the field, but the Deacons were plagued by woeful free throw shooting. Wake went 22-for-46 from the charity stripe for 47.8 percent. It was the Deacons' most free throw attempts since finishing with 48 against Baylor in 2008-09.

"We are a great free throw shooting team," said Harris. "We show that in practice all the time. We just have to step up there and be confident."

Loyola shot 34.9 percent (22-of-63) from the field but was limited to 1-for-14 (7.1 percent) from beyond the arc.

The Greyhounds out-rebounded the Deacons, 45-39, and scored 21 second chance points compared to 14 for Wake.

Loyola put four players in double figures scoring, led by Dylon Cormier's 13 points. Shane Walker, who played at Maryland in 2007-08, finished with 12 points and nine rebounds before fouling out. The Greyhounds had four players foul out of the game, as they committed 34 fouls as a team.

Wake Forest returns to action on Wednesday, Nov. 16, when the Deacons host the Georgia Southern Eagles. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will be televised regionally by Fox Sports.

 

 

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