WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- C.J. Harris scored 23 points and six Wake Forest players reached double figures in an 87-78 victory against UNC Wilmington on Wednesday night.
Tony Chennault added 15 points for the Demon Deacons (8-4). They let an 11-point lead slip away in the second half before holding UNC Wilmington without a field goal for nearly 5 minutes as part of their 21-6 run.
Freshman Adam Smith had season highs of 32 points and seven 3-pointers, and Keith Rendleman added 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Seahawks (3-7). They led 58-54 on Tanner Milson's 3 with just over 9 minutes left, but immediately went cold.
Harris -- who was 13 of 14 from the line -- and Chennault each hit two free throws, and Nikita Mescheriakov's foul shot with 7:45 left put Wake Forest ahead to stay. Chennault's layup capped the run, making it 75-64 with just under 3 minutes left.
UNC Wilmington couldn't get closer than six the rest of the way.
This one wasn't always secure, though. Smith hit three 3s in less than 90 seconds -- all from the right wing -- during the 17-2 run that erased the Seahawks' double-digit deficit and gave them their first lead since the opening minutes.
His 3 from the right wing put UNC Wilmington up 48-44 with 13 1/2 minutes left, and his banked-in one-handed shot with 4 1/2 minutes left ended the Seahawks' long field goal drought down the stretch. He finished 12 of 22 from the field and 7 of 12 from 3-point range.
UNC Wilmington routed the Demon Deacons 81-69 last year in Greensboro. In addition to being one of coach Buzz Peterson's first big victories with the Seahawks, that outcome marked one in a series of early-season indicators that things were amiss at Wake Forest -- which went on to lose a school-record 24 games and finish last in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
There weren't many current Seahawks around for that one: UNC Wilmington started four freshmen, while Wake Forest was only slightly more experienced with three sophomores in the starting lineup.
The Demon Deacons twice went up by double figures in the first half, the first coming during a 22-7 run that Harris capped with a free throw to make it 22-12 with 10:26 left. They led by 11 four times, the last coming at 42-31 on Chennault's free throw with 16:33 to play.
Ben Simmons explains what he is focusing on ahead of the start of his NBA career.
After John Calipari's comments about the Louisville scandal, Rick Pitino says that Calipari should not be worried about other programs and to keep quiet unless he is praising another institution.
College basketball coaches across the country will hit the recruiting trail hard in July to target the Class of 2017's top prospects. Which players are the nation's top programs targeting?