WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Brandon Childress scored 20 points, Jaylen Hoard added 17, and Wake Forest beat Western Carolina 71-64 on Tuesday.
The Catamounts' upset bid was undone by poor foul shooting (16 of 32) and a trio of turnovers in the final minute. WCU led 63-62 with less than a minute remaining. But Hoard scored while being fouled, and Isaiah Mucius rebounded and put back the missed free throw to give the Demon Deacons a 66-63 lead.
After an exchange of free throws made it 67-64, Hoard stole an attempted inbound pass, was fouled, and made both of his foul shots. Mucius then stole the ensuing inbound pass, sealing the outcome.
Wake Forest (4-2) jumped out to an early 21-3 lead, with Childress scoring seven of his team's first 11 points. But WCU quickly ended any notion that the hosts would win comfortably, going on a 14-2 run of their own to pull back within 23-17.
The Catamounts (2-6) took their first lead at 43-41 with 14:05 to play on a Marcus Thomas 3-pointer, but their ineptitude at the free-throw line proved too much to overcome.
Matt Halvorsen scored 19 points for Western Carolina, while Carlos Dotson added 14 points and 16 rebounds.
Wake Forest: It was a win, but Tuesday's game was a continuation of the inauspicious start to the season for the Demon Deacons, who allowed a 14-point comeback in an overtime loss to Houston Baptist in their last outing.
Western Carolina: The Catamounts clearly came a long way from losing to Jacksonville State by 31 points on Nov. 20. But they will surely rue their missed opportunities at the foul line, and their struggles to keep possession, as they committed 19 turnovers.
Wake Forest: Plays at Richmond on Saturday
Western Carolina: Hosts Furman to open Southern Conference play on Saturday