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Wake Forest 85, BC 56

Wake Forest roughs up Boston College

In the first half, Wake Forest forward Travis McKie powers home a pair of his 21 points. In the first half, Wake Forest forward Travis McKie powers home a pair of his 21 points. (BRUCE CHAPMAN/Associated Press)
By Mark Blaudschun
Globe Staff / February 26, 2012
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Steve Donahue has seen it many times. Decent start, slight sag toward the end of the first half, followed by a significant breakdown at the start of the second half.

For the Boston College coach, yesterday’s Atlantic Coast Conference game against Wake Forest at Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C., was a painful replay of a season that is rapidly nearing its end.

After the Eagles held their own for the first part of the opening half, it all went south as the Demon Deacons rolled to an 85-56 victory.

BC (8-20, 3-11) has lost 10 of its last 11 games and will play it final home game Wednesday against Georgia Tech, before finishing the regular season Saturday against Miami.

“Obviously, I’m not happy with our performance, but I’ll say that Wake played very good and with great energy,’’ said Donahue. “I thought they really competed better than us. They shared the ball on the offensive end and made it difficult for us on the defensive end.’’

The Eagles came into the game knowing the Demon Deacons had beaten them handily (71-56) at Conte Forum Jan. 21, but also knew Wake Forest (13-15, 4-10) had lost seven of its last eight overall.

Yesterday, the Demon Deacons, who got 23 points from C.J. Harris and 21 from Travis McKie, turned a 21-20 BC lead with 8:19 left in the first half into a 38-29 Wake Forest lead at the break. A burst at the start of the second half quickly doubled the lead, and put to rest any uncertainty about the outcome.

“Boston College has played people very tough, and you look at their scorers and we knew that we would have a dogfight coming in here,’’ said Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik. “We responded and played well.’’

The Eagles did not play that badly in the first half. They didn’t make many mistakes, shot decently, and showed few signs of the breakdowns that have plagued a team loaded with freshmen all season.

But unlike in previous games, when the defense maintained its solid play even if the offense was sporadic, the defensive breakdowns were obvious in the second half as more than a few of Wake Forest’s baskets were layups.

The Demon Deacons made 55 percent of their shots, including 9 of 14 from 3-point range.

All BC could counter with was Ryan Anderson, who again led the Eagles in scoring and rebounding with a near double-double (18 points, nine rebounds). But beyond Anderson, there was precious little help.

“We knew going into the game that whoever played harder was going to win,’’ said Anderson. “Today, they played harder than we did.’’

An encouraging note for the Eagles was the return of freshman forward Patrick Heckmann, who had missed the last seven games because of a case of mononucleosis. He played 16 minutes and went 1 for 4 for 3 points.

The Eagles continue to look for signs of progress, but there were few yesterday in their most-lopsided loss since being pounded by UMass, 82-46, Nov. 21.

Mark Blaudschun can be reached at blaudschun@globe.com.

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