Barbour takes Wake to the brink

High Point, N.C. - Wake Forest (6-3) survived Nick Barbour's 24-point onslaught in the second half to win at High Point 87-83.
Travis McKie (18 points) gave the Demon Deacons their largest lead of the game at 15 points with 16:11 remaining in game, but that did not stop Barbour from nearly doing the improbable. A late intentional foul called on the Panthers sharpshooter sent Tony Chennault (20 points) to the free-throw line for two shots. The Philadelphia product sank the first to give the Deacs a four-point advantage with 0:27 left to play.
"Nick Barbour was just really on fire," Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "That was a great performance from him. It was a hard-fought game, and I'm very proud of my basketball team. We went wire to wire with a great effort. I'm really proud of my young team."
C.J. Harris (20 points) said it was not Duke's Cameron Indoor Stadium, but agreed that the crowd of 1,081 at High Point's Millis Center was comparable. It made for an electric environment, especially when the Panthers made their second half comeback.
The tone for the High Point faithful was set on the Panthers first possession when Corey Law brought the crowd's noise to a fever pitch after he threw down Xavier Martin's alley-oop pass down for a thunderous dunk.
"It was crazy," Harris said. "A couple of times out there I couldn't hear. Even if we were in the huddle we were yelling at each other, trying to call the plays. The fans were in it. The players were really hype, so it was a great atmosphere."
Barbour finished with 35 points, which was three points shy of tying his career-high 38 points scored against the Citadel Nov. 26. Wake was outrebounded 35-29 by High Point (2-6), but the Deacs shot a blazing 58.3-percent from the field, including 70-percent in the first half.
Wake Forest was without the services of reserve power forward Daniel Green, who is battling an illness and has not practiced for nearly a week. His absence left the Demon Deacons with only seven scholarship players.
"It's a testimony to their character," Bzdelik said. "They never wavered with their attitude, their work-ethic, desire and passion."
The Deacs did not flinch when Shay Shine (19 points) made a three-pointer to cut Wake's lead to 78-75 with 2:47 left to play. Nikita Mescheriakov answered with a bomb from downtown on the ensuing possession to put the Demon Deacons back up six points and the pressure back on the Panthers.
"I just think that was a heck of a college basketball game between two very good basketball teams," High Point head coach Scott Cherry said. "Our guys I'm proud of them the way they performed tonight. They went out their tonight and played their hearts out, played really well, these two guys [Barbour and Law] sitting next to me along with Shay Shine those three guys really led this team."
Along with seeing its lead almost completely disappear, getting outrebounded and being at the mercy of an unconscious shooter in Barbour (12-18 from the field, 7-11 from behind the arc and 4-5 from the charity stripe), Wake also had to overcome Harris' foul trouble (four personals).
High Point may appear as an inferior opponent to the Demon Deacons in the win-loss column, but this is the same team without a full roster only lost to Purdue in West Lafayette 67-65.