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Wake Forest Outlasts UCLA 80-77

The short-handed Deacs played with phenomenal heart.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The final minutes of the Wake Forest vs. UCLA game were not exactly poetry in motion, but it was still a beautiful sight to see Wake Forest up 80-77 when the final buzzer sounded. Wake Forest won this game despite being without Bryant Crawford due to flu like symptoms, and Codi Miller-McIntyre due to a fractured foot. That's right, Wake Forest won this game without a point guard.

While Wake Forest was without Crawford and CMM, this game did mark the return of sophomores Cornelius Hudson and Rondale Watson. Wake Forest came out strong in the first half, and had a 42-35 lead at halftime. They did this by doing a fantastic job of getting to the foul line and knocking down free throws. The Deacs made 14 of 19 attempts, while UCLA was just 3 for 6. UCLA also had just 5 first-half turnovers, but the Deacs were able to turn those into 13 fast break points.

Devin Thomas poured in an excellent effort and contributed 12 first-half points. He did this on just 4 field goal attempts. Mitchell Wilbekin, who had been struggling with his shot, made 2 of 4 three pointers. For UCLA, Tony Parker had 12 points and 7 rebounds, but it took him 11 field goal attempts to score his points. Cornelius Hudson and Rondale Watson immediately made their presences felt by combining for 10 first half points. Hudson ran a lot of point guard, which was essential given that Crawford was out due to illness.

The second half started off hot with both teams scoring nine points prior to the under-16 timeout. Wake Forest got up by as many as nine after a nice Devin Thomas post move. Thomas was cooking to start the second half and had six points prior to the under-16 timeout. UCLA being the talented team that they are battled back, and dwindled Wake Forest's lead down to 1 at 58-57 when Prince Ali converted an and-one. Mitchell Wilbekin responded by scoring five quick points, and then Hudson made two free throws. During this time, Bryce Alford had some of the easiest layups he will ever had. Wake did not have much of a rim presence in, and everyone was gassed at this point. Dinos responded with a three of his own to give Wake a seven-point lead with just under 7 minutes to go.

UCLA once again battled back and were within two points with 4:21 to go. From that point, however, both teams went cold. Neither team scored for about three minutes until Devin Thomas made two huge free throws with 1:31 remaining. Wake then got a big stop, and Dinos made two of his own free throws to give Wake a six point lead with 1:07 to go. From that point it was just about not turning the ball over, not allowing allowing easy baskets, not fouling, and making free throws. Wake Forest did that well enough to win 80-77, and go 2-1 in the Maui Invitational.

Key Stats:

Wake Forest: Devin Thomas - 21 points and 9 rebounds. Cornelius Hudson - 16 points and 8 rebounds. Mitchell Wilbekin - 15 points. Dinos Mitoglou - 14 points.

UCLA: Tony Parker - 18 points and 15 rebounds. Isaac Hamilton - 18 points. Bryce Alford - 14 points and 7 assists.

Wake Forest is off until Monday when they play at Rutgers. UCLA will play Cal St. Northridge on Sunday.

In just three days, Wake Forest secured wins over Indiana and UCLA. Pretty good start to year two for Danny Manning and his team.