ACC Baksetball: Wake Forest 55, Nebraska 53
LINCOLN, Neb. — Wake Forest took another step in its maturation process Wednesday night.
C.J. Harris drove in for an uncontested layup with 3.4 seconds left to give the Demon Deacons a 55-53 victory over Nebraska in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge — their first road win in more than a year.
“Last year we had the youngest team in the country, and no team played more freshmen more minutes than we did,” coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “This is just another step in the right direction for still a very young team. That was a tough, gritty performance against a team that’s extremely well-coached and plays very well in this building.”
Wake Forest 7-footer Carson Desrosiers had career highs with 13 points and 12 rebounds, and he even made a couple 3-pointers.
Chase Fischer added 13 points, Harris scored 12 and Travis McKie had 11 for Wake Forest (5-2), which lost all 11 of its true road games last season after winning at Elon last November.
“We made it a point that we were 0-and-whatever on the road,” Desrosiers said, “and to come in and get a win in a hostile environment is a good thing for us.”
Bo Spencer had 13 points and Jorge Brian Diaz and Toney McCray scored 12 apiece for the Cornhuskers (4-2).
A visibly upset Nebraska coach Doc Sadler said his team took too many 3-pointers — the Huskers were 6 of 23 from long range — and didn’t get the ball inside enough.
“It’s all on me,” he said. “I put the most selfish offensive basketball team that I think I’ve put on the court in a long, long time… We got an eight-point lead in the first half. You’ve got to learn to put a team away. You get beat at home and hold a team to 55 points.”
Spencer had missed a floater in the lane before Wake Forest called timeout with 16.6 seconds left. Harris was unchallenged on his winning shot, driving past Diaz off a high screen and then passing Brandon Richardson on his way to the hoop.
“We knew Diaz has trouble with high ball screens in terms of his ability to move his feet,” Bzdelik said, “and C.J. just blew right by him and we opened up the court. That’s what we were hoping for.”
The Huskers had only five fouls in the half at that point, and could have chosen to foul with the ball on the floor and force Wake Forest to inbound the ball. No one touched Harris, however.
“We had a foul to give,” Sadler said. “That’s what we told them. … We were going to foul on the drive and we didn’t.”
Harris was ill after the game and didn’t come out of the locker room for interviews.
“C.J. came off that screen, and he was looking for a foul,” Desrosiers said. “Then he saw daylight and attacked the rim.”
Nebraska took its last lead, 53-52, with 2:03 to play on McCray’s jumper from the left corner. McCray missed from the same spot after Wake Forest tied it on McKie’s free throw, and Desrosiers came down with maybe his biggest rebound of the night.
McKie shot an air ball from the corner on Wake Forest’s next possession, and then Spencer banged his shot in the lane off the backboard. That set up Harris’ winning shot.
“I could have kicked it out to Dylan (Talley),” Spencer said. “I tried to shoot a floater and ended up missing it. We’ve got to do a better job of sharing the ball and getting it in the post. Guys have to be more unselfish.”
Wake Forest has three freshmen and three sophomores among its eight scholarship players and had lost two of three games in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., before coming to Lincoln.
“Just a great win for the ACC,” Bzdelik said.