WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – C.J. Harris scored six of his 15 points in the final two minutes and Wake Forest rallied to beat Virginia 76-71 on Saturday for its first Atlantic Coast Conference victory.
Coming in on a five-game losing streak amid talk they could become the first school to go winless in the league in 24 years, the young Demon Deacons (8-13, 1-5) got some unlikely contributions and clutch plays down the stretch for only their second win in 11 games.
Six players scored in double figures, including Ty Walker (11 points), who had scored eight points in his entire ACC career coming in. Gary Clark added 10, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:44 left.
Assane Sene had a career-high 15 points and 13 rebounds and Joe Harris scored 14 points for the Cavaliers (11-10, 2-5), who led 48-38 with 12:57 left. Virginia, which has lost five of six, has dropped nine straight games at Wake Forest.
It was a victory that produced a wild celebration for players and a sense of relief for embattled first-year coach Jeff Bzdelik, who received strong public support from athletic director Ron Wellman a day earlier.
Often playing three freshmen at the same time, Wake Forest hadn't been closer than 19 points in any ACC game.
This time was different.
Harris' driving layup with 1:55 left made it 68-65, and he later hit four straight free throws, the last two giving Wake Forest 74-68 lead 36 seconds left.
It was enough to hold on as the Demon Deacons snapped a five-game losing streak with numerous contributors. Travis McKie had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Ari Stewart scored 12 points and J.T. Terrell had 11.
Mustapha Farrakhan had 13 points, Sammy Zeglinski added 11 and Jontel Evans scored 10 for Virginia.
It was another tough loss for the Cavaliers, who have dropped five of six amid numerous injuries, including to star forward Mike Scott. Yet it appeared Virginia was in good shape.
Terrell hit a 3-pointer and mid-range jumper in a personal 5-0 run to start the second half while Wake Forest was missing its first three shots as Virginia built a 39-32 lead.
Sene's putback and Sammy Zeglinski's 3 on consecutive possessions gave the Cavaliers their largest lead.
But Walker, a junior who had done little in his career, suddenly was dominant inside. His consecutive buckets put Wake Forest ahead 58-57 with 5:47 left.
The Cavaliers, who missed 13 of 17 3s in Thursday's one-sided loss to Maryland, hit four 3s and shot 52 percent to take a 34-32 halftime lead on Sene's two free throws. Sene also grabbed eight rebounds in the first 20 minutes.