Harris leads Wake Forest past Boston College 75-72
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- Wake Forest guard C.J. Harris is determined to make his senior season a successful one.
Thanks to Harris' performance Saturday against Boston College, the Demon Deacons find themselves with a winning record in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Harris scored a career-high 29 points and Wake Forest held off a late rally to beat the Eagles 75-72 and win its second straight ACC game.
Travis McKie added 18 points for the Demon Deacons (9-6, 2-1), who overcame shooting problems early in the first half to post back-to-back conference wins for the first time since the end of the 2009-2010 season.
"Winning is really all that matters," said Harris, who was a freshman when Wake Forest had its last ACC winning streak. "For us to fight hard and get this one is really big.
"We're showing a lot of improvement. The young guys are growing up pretty fast, and the veteran guys are doing what they're supposed to be doing. The past two years have been tough. We want to start winning games."
Harris -- whose previous career high of 28 came earlier this season against Seton Hall -- scored 19 points in the first half, including a layup with 7 seconds remaining that put the Demon Deacons ahead 38-36 at the break.
"C.J. Harris was just outstanding," Wake Forest coach Jezz Bzdelik said. "He really brought us back into the ballgame. With his experience, he really put the rest of the team on his back and carried us through that first half."
Lonnie Jackson scored 23 points, Olivier Hanlan added 18 and Ryan Anderson had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Boston College (9-7, 1-2), which trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half.
The Demon Deacons expanded their lead to 60-48 with 9:29 left in the second half on Arnaud William Adala Moto's layup, and still led by 10 points with five minutes remaining when the Eagles began their comeback.
Boston College cut Wake Forest's lead down to one point twice in the final two minutes, the last at 73-72 on a pair of Joe Rahon free throws with 1:28 remaining. With a chance to take the lead, Rahon missed a heavily-contested layup with 5 seconds left.
"I thought we got tentative," Bzdelik said. "We weren't very aggressive on the offensive end and we were looking for the clock to run out. Boston College, on the flip side, was very aggressive -- they put their heads down and drove, trying to draw fouls and get to the line.
"But our team was resilient. They battled, we got timely stops and we made it interesting all the way to the end."
Harris hit a pair of free throws with 4.2 seconds remaining to push the Demon Deacons' lead to three points, and Hanlan missed a guarded 3-point attempt at the buzzer.
"It was a hard-fought game, for sure," Eagles coach Steve Donahue said. "Give Wake Forest credit -- most of the game, they executed on the offensive end and took care of the basketball."
However, Saturday's game looked like it would be decided early, as Wake Forest went more than 5 1/2 minutes without a field goal and the Eagles hit their first four shots (including a pair of 3-pointers) to take a 10-2 lead.
Counting their shooting problems in the second half of Wednesday's win over Virginia, the Demon Deacons went 15 minutes, 38 seconds without making a field goal over the two-game span.
Then Harris went to work. He hit five consecutive shots, including a jumper with 13:14 left that gave Wake Forest its first lead at 11-10 and another that tied the score at 13-13 with 12:44 left.
"I just felt good," Harris said. "The offense did a good job of getting me open. I had the easy part -- I just had to make the shot."
That also set the pattern for the rest of the first half -- Boston College would build a lead, only to see the Demon Deacons shoot their way back into contention.
The Eagles went on another 10-0 run midway through the half, with a pair of Eddie Odio free throws giving them a 28-20 lead with 7:29 left. But Harris hit a pair of 3-pointers during a 13-point run, with Madison Jones' layup with 3:35 remaining giving Wake Forest a 33-28 lead, its biggest of the half.
Boston College led once more in the first half, with Jackson's 3-pointer with 1:43 left capping an 8-0 run to give the Eagles a 36-33 lead. But McKie followed with a 3 to tie the score with 38 seconds remaining.
Jackson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 that would have put the Eagles back in the lead, setting up the Demon Deacons' last possession and Harris' shot.