Deacons make a statement

Wake survives Eagles' rally

CorrespondentJanuary 22, 2012 

— Considering Wake Forest is a program hungry for any kind of ACC basketball success, the Demon Deacons' game at Boston College on Saturday was an opportunity too good to waste.

Travis McKie and C.J. Harris led the way as the Deacs earned their first ACC road victory in nearly two years with a 71-56 triumph over the inexperienced Eagles. Wake improved to 2-3 in the league and 11-8 overall; BC dropped to 2-3, 7-12.

"This was huge," Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "Every win in the ACC is hard to come by. It's another big step for us in our journey to be the type of team we want to be."

The Deacons played with poise from start to finish, taking a 2-0 lead and never trailing. They led by as many as 13 in the first half before settling for a 34-26 advantage at the break.

The Eagles rallied and pulled to within three points with 13 minutes, seven seconds to go. At that point, McKie, who finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds, sparked a 12-3 spurt and Wake kept BC at arm's length the rest of the way.

"We knew they'd make a run at us in the second half because they were playing at home," said junior guard C.J. Harris, who helped steady the Deacs down the stretch and finished with 15 points and five assists.

It was a satisfying outcome for Wake, which was coming off a 76-40 loss at home to N.C. State a week ago and a 91-73 loss at Duke on Thursday.

"I told the team in the locker room at Duke about how this game at Boston College was going to be our Super Bowl," Bzdelik said.

His team responded with a solid all-around performance.

"Last week at this time, it was doom and gloom around here," Bzdelik said. "Today it's nothing but joy.

"Tomorrow, who knows?"

McKie, Harris and Tony Chennault provided the leadership as Wake won an ACC road game for the first time since a 64-61 overtime victory at Virginia on Feb. 6, 2010.

"We didn't get to have the feeling of a road win in the ACC last year," Harris noted. "This was big today."

Senior center Ty Walker also played a key role for Wake with his interior defense against the offensively challenged Eagles. Walker blocked six BC shots and pulled down 11 rebounds in addition to collecting six points.

The Eagles shot just 31.1 percent for the game. Part of that was due to their inability to finish attempts near the rim.

"I wanted to let BC know it wasn't going to get any easy shots," Walker said.

But when BC pulled to within three points, 40-37, Ryan Anderson sank two foul shots courtesy of Walker's third foul. Then, Wake made its decisive run with Walker sitting on the bench.

McKie scored twice around the basket and eventually pushed Wake's lead to 52-40 on a 3-pointer with eight minutes, 58 seconds to play.

Freshman Chase Fischer sealed it with a 3-pointer for the Deacs.

Up next for Wake Forest is a meeting with Florida State at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Winston-Salem.

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