Winston-Salem, NC - Freshman point guard Madison Jones's only bucket, a long jump-shot with 1:38 was the spark that ignited Wake Forest's 9-0 scoring run to finish the game, as the Demon Deacons defeated Radford 79-67 to start the season.
"It was a big shot by Madison," Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "It's one of those as a coach it's a good shot, bad shot, he knocked it in, did a good job."
The Deacs were due for an offensive spurt after seeing an 11-point lead evaporate to a 50-49 advantage when R.J. Price made a three-pointer with 13:16 left in regulation.
Jones' shot led to a Travis McKie takeover. After going scoreless in the first half the junior from Richmond, Va. scored five of Wake's final seven points to finish with 11 of his own and rebound shy of a double-double.
"To only take one shot in the first half is unacceptable, so in the second half I tried to be more aggressive and look for my shot more," McKie said.
C.J. Harris filled the box-score with a game-high 19 points to lead six Demon Deacon double-digit scorers. The senior combo guard from Winston-Salem made 11-14 free-throw attempts, including two with 0:25 to put Wake Forest up 11.
Chase Fischer scored all of his 11 points in the first half on a perfect 4-4 shooting (3-3 from three-point-land) before missing both of his second-half shot attempts. Arnaud Adala Moto, Codi Miller-McIntyre and Devin Thomas each chipped in 10 points.
"I think we grew a lot as a team tonight," Harris said. "It's the first time we've had to have adversity. For us to stay together, lock in on defense, knock down free throws and finish the game is big for us, especially for a young team."
While the Demon Deacons locked in on defense, holding Radford to 37.9-percent shooting they failed to box out. The Highlanders claimed a 35-34 edge, including 18-5 advantage on the offensive glass to get 14 second chance points and 26 points in the paint.
"We just didn't block off simple as that," Bzdelik said. "I'll tell you what we might spend about an hour tomorrow just doing it. Radford's athletic and they're aggressive and they attack the offensive glass. They got up into us. We've been playing like this in our exhibition games they've been competitive."
"The one thing I really like about this team is their will to win. It hasn't always been pretty, but they have shown a great will to win. Obviously we need to play better."