Wake Forest rolls past Boston College 85-56
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.—For once, the shots kept falling for Wake Forest. And in an unusual sight, the Demon Deacons finished an Atlantic Coast Conference game with their top players on the bench while walk-ons and reserves closed out a lopsided victory.
C.J. Harris scored 23 points to help Wake Forest beat Boston College 85-56 on Saturday, earning its most lopsided victory under second-year coach Jeff Bzdelik.
Travis McKie added 21 points for the Demon Deacons (13-15, 4-10 ACC), who broke out of nearly three-week scoring slump to earn a season sweep of the Eagles. Wake Forest went ahead for good midway through the first half, led 38-29 at the break, then blew the game open to earn just their second win in the past month.
"Everybody's acting like our season's done -- we're far from done," said freshman Chase Fischer, who had seven points off the bench. "We're going to finish out strong. This was huge. We needed this."
Wake Forest led by 32 points late, its biggest lead in any game this season. The 29-point margin of victory is the biggest under Bzdelik, with the previous one being an 81-59 win against Marist in November 2010.
It was hard to imagine this type of performance from the Demon Deacons, who had lost seven of eight since beating the Eagles 71-56 on the road on Jan. 21
The only win came against Georgia Tech on Feb. 15 in a matchup of the bottom two teams in the ACC standings. That 59-50 victory represented the Demon Deacons' best offensive showing in the past four games, as Wake Forest shot just 36 percent in that four-game stretch.
The Demon Deacons hadn't played since last weekend's 74-56 loss at Miami. Bzdelik gave his players two days off to regroup before returning to practice, then saw his team look "rejuvenated" against BC (8-20, 3-11).
"It takes a really tough-minded person to not have success and still be confident," Bzdelik said. "At the same time, we practiced well. We have practiced well all week. And to be honest with you, I told them before the game: `Just play like you've been practicing.'"
After failing to score 60 points in each of the past four games, Wake Forest reached that mark with about 12 minutes left. The Demon Deacons shot 55 percent and went 9-for-14 from 3-point range for a rare easy victory.
"I thought (Bzdelik) had his kids ready to play," Boston College coach Steve Donahue said. "They came out and really handed it to us."
Boston College has lost 10 of 11 since notching a pair of two-point league wins against Clemson and Virginia Tech in mid-January. Oddly enough, the only win in that stretch came against Florida State -- which entered the week tied for the ACC lead with Duke and North Carolina -- on Feb. 8.
Ryan Anderson scored 18 points for the Eagles, who fell to 0-8 on the road and lost their fourth straight overall. Boston College shot 43 percent, but didn't put much pressure on the Demon Deacons and gave up way too many open looks.
Wake Forest finished with its best scoring total in an ACC game this year and its highest output since scoring 87 against UNC Wilmington on Dec. 21.
Carson Desrosiers came off the bench to score 13 points and hit three 3-pointers, including one to beat the shot clock with 14 minutes left as the Demon Deacons were stretching out the lead.
"We haven't been necessarily as confident as we should be shooting the ball," Desrosiers said. "We're a great shooting team. We've got some guys who can really stroke from the 3-point line and some really good pieces. Today we kind of came out with the mentality that we're the better team -- and it showed."
By the time Harris hit his third 3, Wake Forest led 75-47 with 4:59 left and Donahue could only bury his face in his left hand on the sideline. Wake Forest took its biggest lead on freshman Daniel Green's layup that made it 85-53 with 1:35 left.
Before Saturday, Wake Forest's biggest lead was 19 against Yale four days after Christmas.
"Unfortunately there was not enough ball pressure, not enough resolve to get through the screens," Donahue said. "Then when we were there, we didn't have enough competitiveness to challenge shots properly."