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Deacons survive Spartans, 59-51

Wake Forest withstood a horrid afternoon on offense to outlast the UNC Greensboro Spartans at Joel Coliseum on Saturday.

Madison Jones scoops and scores Saturday vs. UNCG
Madison Jones scoops and scores Saturday vs. UNCG
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

WINSTON-SALEM, NC--Sophomore Codi Miller-McIntyre scored 9 of his 11 points in the final 5:30 to help lead the Wake Forest Demon Deacons to a 58-51 win over UNC Greensboro Saturday at Joel Coliseum. Devin Thomas (12 points, 13 rebounds) recorded his fourth double-double of the season and Tyler Cavanaugh added 12 points on a day where little went right offensively for the Deacs.

"There was no flow, the ball wasn't moving and bodies weren't moving," head coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "But agan, UNCG got physical with us and we were just standing around. We weren't even running hard in transition. Sometimes offense will be a variable like that but defense and effort has to be a constant and we were able to defend."

Bzdelik was emphatic that UNCG be given the credit for the Deacs' poor output on offense (22-49 from the field), praising the Spartans' physicality and effort during the game.

"They played extremely hard and played well," Bzdelik said. "We were fortunate; we struggled. We were fortunate to win and we struggled offensively but give UNCG a lot of credit for that."

The Spartans (6-7) took full advantage of Wake Forest's offensive woes, and had a chance to tie or take the lead with 6:05 remaining when Junior forward Nicholas Paulos' 3-point attempt rimmed out and fell into Thomas' hands. Free throws were again an issue for the Deacons (10-2) who went 13-30 (43.3%) for the game. Wake was shooting just 65 percent from the line prior to today's game, and must improve in that area quickly as the ACC season rapidly approaches.

Asked if there was anything in particular causing the free-throw troubles, Bzdelik responded:

"We work on it all the time. We shoot 'em in a variety of ways every day in practice, trying to create as much stress as possible, put as much pressure on our guys as possible. Ask them. And then tell me."

Cavanaugh said that focus (or lack thereof) might be to blame for the Deacs' struggles from the line, and confirmed that it's a point of emphasis during practice.

"I think it's just kind of a lack of focus on our part," Cavanaugh said. "Me personally, for some reason I didn't feel comfortable up there tonight. He always has us shooting, so it's on us. That correlates to our offense directly, because if we miss two free throws it's an empty possession."

The Deacs now have a few days off before meeting Xavier in the annual Skip Prosser Classic. Their next home game will be the ACC opener versus North Carolina on January 5 (8:00 p.m., RSN).