WINSTON-SALEM — Wake Forest will enter its two-week holiday break more relieved than merry.
Chaundee Brown scored 25 points Saturday afternoon including a key baseline jumper down the stretch as Wake Forest needed a 10-0 game-ending run to pull away late for a 76-64 victory over underdog North Carolina A&T.
Brown’s shot from the left side with 2:22 left answered a 3-pointer from A&T freshman Fred Cleveland and gave the Demon Deacons (7-5) a 68-64 lead. The Aggies (3-9) have never beaten an ACC opponent.
Wake Forest didn’t own a double-digit lead until the final seconds.
“We should have beaten this team by 20 points,” said Brown, a 6-foot-5 junior. “We didn’t come out with the juice we usually have. The last three or four minutes were key — we strapped it up and hit a few big shots.”
“It’s better than having a loss,” agreed Wake Forest coach Danny Manning. “We want to get better over the break.”
Cleveland, who scored 15 points off the bench, had tied the game at 61-61 on a jumper with 6:22 remaining.
The Aggies missed a pair of 3-pointers with a chance in the final four minutes. The Aggies took their last lead at 49-48 on Tyrone Lyons’ put back with 11:53 to play.
Brown was dominant inside for the Deacons. He made 6 of 8 from the foul line and grabbed 10 rebounds. Olivier Sarr, who returned after missing the Deacons’ upset victory the previous weekend over Xavier, added 13 points and 10 rebounds off the bench.
Ronald Jackson scored 16 points for the Aggies, who made 8 of 17 from 3-point distance.
The Aggies came out strong, scoring the game’s first five points and getting eight quick points from Jackson. They took their last lead of the first half at 25-24 on Cleveland’s 3-pointer with 7:48 left.
Brown scored 11 in the first half as the Deacons opened up a 41-34 lead at intermission.
N.C. A&T: The Aggies dropped their fourth straight and fell to 0-43 against ACC opponents. They showed they could be competitive with an ACC team and have to be disappointed to squander such a good chance to break their ACC drought.
Wake Forest: The Deacons can enter a long holiday break – they don’t play again for two weeks – on a positive note. Sarr, the Deacons’ key 7-foot reserve, was back in the lineup after sitting out in concussion protocol, and played well in the second half, finishing with 13 points (7-of-9 at the foul line) and 10 rebounds.
N.C. A&T: The Aggies shot only 8 of 18 from the foul line and committed 20 turnovers, several on errant passes that didn’t get over taller Wake Forest defenders.
Wake Forest: The Deacons made only 5 of 24 3-point shots, including an 0-7 night from guard Brandon Childress.
Chances That Got Away
N.C. A&T had two possession in the final four minutes with an opportunity to tie or take the lead and turn up the pressure on Wake Forest. But Cleveland missed a jumper and Devin Haygood missed a 3-point shot.
N.C. A&T: The Aggies play at Illinois on Dec. 29.
Wake Forest: The Deacons return to ACC play at Pitt on Jan. 4.
Knight’s 15 points lead Campbell over Johnson & Wales
BUIES CREEK — LaDarius Knight scored 15 points off the bench to help Campbell defeat Johnson & Wales (NC) 82-59 on Saturday.
Jordan Whitfield had 14 points for Campbell (8-3), which won its fourth consecutive home game. Trey Spencer added 11 points and Milos Stajcic had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Fighting Camels.
Campbell forced a season-high 25 turnovers.
Robert Hobson had 20 points for Johnson & Wales, a member of the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association. Antonio Smith added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Campbell faces High Point at home on Dec. 28.
Ryan seals Chattanooga win over UNC Asheville
ASHEVILLE — Matt Ryan scored six points in the final 20 seconds to allow Chattanooga to escape UNC Asheville with a 68-64 victory on Saturday afternoon.
Devon Baker pulled Asheville even, 60-60, with a 3-pointer with 1:57 remaining, but David Jean-Baptiste put the Mocs in front with a pair of free throws. Ryan hit a jumper with :19 remaining for a four-point advantage, but Tajion Jones hit a 3 to make it 64-63 with :10 left, then fouled Ryan, who knocked down both free throws. After Trent Stephney hit the second of two free throws, Ryan again knocked down a pair from the line to clinch the victory.
Ryan hit 7 of 9 from the line and finished with a team-high 15 points for Chattanooga (8-5), adding a half-dozen rebounds and three assists. Ramon Vila and Maurice Commander each added 11 points.
Lavar Batts Jr. paced UNC Asheville (6-5) with 17 points. Baker and Jones each added 13 points and Coty Jude contributed 10.
Jones scores 21 points to lead Winthrop past Elon
ROCK HILL — Russell Jones had a season-high 21 points as Winthrop edged Elon 85-80 on Saturday.
Charles Falden had 15 points for Winthrop (6-7). Hunter Hale added 14 points. Josh Ferguson had 11 points and eight rebounds.
Marcus Sheffield II scored a season-high 27 points for the Phoenix (4-9). Hunter McIntosh scored a season-high 22 points. Hunter Woods had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Winthrop takes on Longwood at home next Thursday. Elon plays William & Mary at home next Monday.
Holland III powers High Point past Belmont Abbey
HIGH POINT — Curtis Holland III had a career-high 25 points as High Point rolled past Belmont Abbey 92-66 on Saturday.
Holland III made 6 of 9 3-pointers.
Jamal Wright had 13 points for High Point (3-9). John-Michael Wright added 11 points. Cliff Thomas Jr. had 11 points for the home team.
The 92 points were a season best for High Point, which also registered a season-high 26 assists.
Sean Halloran had 13 points for the Crusaders. Romeao Ferguson added 11 points. Quest Aldridge had 11 points.
High Point plays Campbell on the road next Saturday.
Forrest scores 25 to lead Appalachian State past Troy
TROY, Ala. — Justin Forrest had 25 points as Appalachian State narrowly defeated Troy 70-65 on Saturday.
Isaac Johnson had 15 points and eight rebounds for Appalachian State (8-4, 2-0 Sun Belt Conference), which won its fourth straight game.
After falling behind 45-39 at halftime, Appalachian State outscored Troy 31-20 in the second half to earn the victory. The Trojans’ 45 points in the first half marked a season high for the team.
Darian Adams had 13 points for the Trojans (5-8, 1-1). Charles Norman added 12 points. Jakevan Leftridge had 10 points and seven rebounds.
Appalachian State takes on NC State on the road next Sunday. Troy matches up against Louisiana-Monroe on the road next Thursday.