Wake Forest Rallies Past William & Mary 63-57
Nov. 23, 2012
By Alex Botoman, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@SIDeacons)
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - C.J. Harris scored 18 points, 10 of them in the final seven minutes of the game, as Wake Forest erased a 13-point first-half deficit to take down William & Mary 63-57 on Friday evening at Joel Coliseum.
The Tribe (3-2) started fast and held as much as a 24-11 lead midway through the opening period, but the Demon Deacons (3-2) slowly clawed their way back into the game, retaking the lead on a Chase Fischer layup with 9:50 left. The Tribe answered with a layup by Tim Rusthoven to go back in front but Madison Jones followed with a fast-break layup of his own to put Wake Forest in the lead 48-47 with 7:56 remaining, and the Deacons would remain in front for the remainder of the game.
"It was another comeback gritty effort by our basketball team. I'm really proud of them," said head coach Jeff Bzdelik. "It was a terrific second half from the standpoint that I think we only had two turnovers, shot over 52 percent and held them in the high 30s (percent shooting). (We) got out on their 3-point shooters and did a really good job defensively against a team that runs a very difficult offense to defend."
Joining Harris in double figures was Travis McKie, who finished with 15 points and six rebounds. Freshman Aaron Rountree III had the best game of his young career, filling the stat sheet with seven rebounds, five blocks and two steals to go with four points.
"Aaron Rountree did a terrific job," said Bzdelik. "He's been working very hard to adapt to the college game, and he showed the fruits of labor here tonight. He kept us going in that first half and really sparked us to keep us within striking distance."
Wake Forest's second half performance proved to be the difference, as the Deacs shot 52 percent (11-of-21) and turned the ball over only twice in the final period.
Marcus Thornton led William & Mary with 17 points, and Tim Rusthoven also hit double digits with 11 points and nine boards for the Tribe.
The Tribe came out of the gates strong, jumping out to a 17-5 lead early in the first half but the Demon Deacons slowly crawled their way back into the game as the period wore on. Wake Forest went on an 8-0 run via four points each by Arnaud William Adala Moto and Harris to cut the William & Mary advantage to 24-19 with 3:47 left in the half.
The two sides traded points over the final three minutes of the period with the Tribe taking a 30-23 lead into the locker room.
Wake Forest seized control of the momentum to start the second half, starting the period on an 8-2 run to cut the William & Mary lead to 1. At the 13:59 mark, McKie nailed a 3-pointer from the top of the key to tie the score at 39-39, knocking the Tribe out of the lead for the first time since the opening minutes.
The Deacons took their first lead of the second half at the 9:50 mark when Fischer slashed to the rim for a layup to put Wake Forest in front 46-45. The Tribe immediately retook the lead before Jones put the Deacs in front on a fast-break layup, and Wake Forest would not trail again.
The Tribe got within a point on a Kyle Gaillard free throw with 2:32 remaining, but the Demon Deacons made seven of eight free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
Wake Forest will return to action on Tuesday when they host Nebraska in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at 9:15 p.m. on ESPNU and the Wake Forest IMG College Sports Network (radio). The Demon Deacons defeated the Cornhuskers 55-53 last year in Lincoln, Neb. on a last-second layup by Harris.
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