Deacons Surge Past Air Force

Freshman James Johnson scored a season-high 22 points to lead Wake Forest past Air Force 78-67 on Sunday.

L.D. Williams had 16 points, and Harvey Hale added 15 and keyed the critical stretch for Wake Forest by scoring five points during the 10-0 second-half run that broke the game open.

The Demon Deacons (9-3) won their fourth straight, pushed their ACC-best home-court winning streak to 12 and avenged a 36-point loss at Air Force last year -- the most lopsided nonconference loss in the school's modern era.

Tim Anderson had a career-high 30 points -- the most Wake Forest has allowed a player this season -- for the Falcons (8-5). They shot 50 percent and knocked down 56 percent of their 3-pointers but couldn't overcome 19 turnovers and a 35-29 rebounding disadvantage.

Wake Forest took the lead for good late in the first half on a Johnson free throw, then took control in the second. The Demon Deacons' largest lead came at 60-48 on Hale's 3-pointer with 10 1/2 minutes remaining, a big shot that followed capped their run of 10 straight points.

Andrew Henke added 10 points for Air Force, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. Freshman Jeff Teague scored 10 points and had a season-high six steals -- five in the first half -- for Wake Forest.

Early on, this one shaped up as a game dominated by big spurts and short tempers, with three technical fouls called in the opening 16 minutes.

Wake Forest's Chas McClintic was ejected after his second technical came with 5:01 before halftime, and less than a minute later Air Force's Andrew Henke also received a T for what official Mike Stuart said was baiting and taunting.

Air Force used an early 19-3 run to take a 19-8 lead, made eight of its first nine shots and knocked down five of their first seven attempts from 3-point range. But Wake Forest reeled off 13 straight points midway through the half to erase its 11-point deficit -- with Teague registering four steals during that defense-dominated stretch.

The game was a homecoming of sorts for first-year Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds, a North Carolina-Greensboro graduate who has coached in the Tar Heel State.


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