WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- Eric Williams had the go-ahead
three-point play down the stretch and Harvey Hale later added two
free throws, helping Wake Forest snap a six-game losing streak with
a 59-56 victory over Charlotte on Saturday.
With a matchup at No. 2 Duke looming Tuesday, the Demon Deacons
(13-11) desperately needed to gain some momentum. They've fallen to
the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference with a 1-9 start, and
even if this didn't count in the standings, it surely left them
feeling much better.
Williams finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds and Trent
Strickland also scored 18 points. Leading scorer Justin Gray, who
was averaging 23 points over the previous eight games, shot
2-for-11 and was held to a season-low four points before fouling
It's the first time since last season he failed to reach double
figures, when he had eight points in a loss to West Virginia in the
second-round of the NCAA tournament.
Even without Gray, Wake Forest found a way.
Leemire Goldwire had 17 points for the 49ers (14-9), and
teammate Curtis Withers added 12 points and 14 rebounds before
fouling out. This was only their third regular season game against
an ACC team in the past 10 years, and they fell to 1-3 in that span
with their first game against the Deacons since 1987.
A three-point play by Charlotte's Courtney Williams tied it at
41 midway through the second half, and De'Angelo Alexander made a
pair of free throws less than a minute later to give the 49ers
their first lead since early in the first half.
That set up a finish that included one more tie and five lead
changes. Williams, a notoriously poor free-throw shooter who came
in converting 47 percent, banged in two to give Wake Forest a 47-45
lead before Goldwire swished a 3 to put Charlotte back in front.
When Williams went back to the line on the ensuing possession,
he clanged both off the rim, but Strickland tipped in the second
miss as he was fouled by Williams. His free throw pushed the
Deacons ahead 50-49.
The margin was two when Goldwire came through again with another
long range jumper, and the 49ers led 54-53 with less than 2 minutes
With Gray on the bench, Wake Forest went straight to Williams,
who turned and banked in a short shot despite the foul to tie it
again. This time, his free throw was true, and Hale added two more
with 18 seconds left on the clock to increase the lead to three.
Goldwire and Williams then missed off-balanced 3-pointers as the
clock wound down, and the Deacons held on.
Alexander, Charlotte's leading scorer at 17 points a game, had
12 while going 4-of-17 from the field.
Mike Brey is looking at former Notre Dame players to fill two assistant jobs that have opened up with the departures of Martin Ingelsby and Anthony Solomon.
Purdue's 2016-17 prospects got a jolt Wednesday when forward Caleb Swanigan announced he will return for his sophomore season.
Clemson's Jaron Blossomgame says he is withdrawing from the NBA draft and returning to school for a final season.
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