C.J. Harris' layup with 3.6 seconds remaining in regulation lifted Wake Forest to a 55-53 win over Nebraska in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Presented by Dick's Sporting Goods Wednesday evening.
Harris, who finished with 12 points and five assists, went around a screen at the top of the key, drove the line and flipped it off the glass, giving the Demon Deacons (5-2) the winning margin.
Nebraska, which fell to 4-2 on the season, had a chance to take the lead for good on its previous possession, but Bo Spencer, who led three Huskers in double figures with 13 points, missed a short runner in the lane to give the visitors a final possession and chance for a win. Nebraska also had a chance at the buzzer, but Spencer's desperation heave from midcourt bounced off the run, allowing the Deamon Deacons to escape with the win.
Chase Fischer and Carson Desrosiers led Wake Forest with 13 points apiece, as the Demon Deacons placed four in double figures.
Toney McCray and Jorge Brian Diaz joined Spencer in double figures with 12 points apiece, but the Huskers shot just 38.6 percent and were held to their lowest offensive output of the season.
In a game which saw nine ties and seven lead changes, neither team could break away in the second half, as the final 20 minutes saw neither team lead by more than three points after the Huskers took a 26-25 halftime advantage.
The Huskers took a 28-25 lead after a Caleb Walker jumper, but a Desrosiers' 3-pointer and a basket by Harris gave Wake Forest its first lead since midway through the first half. Wake Forest hit five of its first six shots from the floor in the second half, but Nebraska kept battling, as Spencer's 3-pointer with 13:55 tied the score at 38.
The team would continue to battle with Wake taking a small lead, only to see Nebraska come back and stay close. Trailing 50-48 with 5:19 left, Diaz tied the score at 50 before Travis McKie hit a basket to put the visitors ahead. On its next possession, the Huskers got their first lead since early in the half as McCray's 3-pointer from the corner put NU up 53-52. McKie split a pair of foul shots with 1:49 left, setting up a dramatic finish.
Both teams overcame a slow start offensively, as Spencer keyed a 10-2 Husker run midway through the first half, scoring five of his seven points in the half as Nebraska turned a 9-all deadlock into its largest lead of the half at 18-11 after a Caleb Walker 3-pointer. Wake Forest made a run in the final minutes of the half, out-scoring Nebraska 8-2 in the final 3:10 to pull within 26-25 after a McKie 3-point play with 43 seconds left in the half.
The Huskers return to action this Sunday, as they travel to Omaha to take on the Creighton Bluejays. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. and the game will be televised in Omaha on KMTV and also carried on the Husker Sports Network.
Nebraska Head Coach Doc Sadler
"Give Wake Forest credit. They came in here, and they won the basketball game. It's solely on me. I put the most selfish offensive basketball team on the court that I think I've put on the court in a long, long time. We had plans to go inside and we thought that was our advantage, and we come out and shot 23 threes. As I told the team during several timeouts and at halftime, I don't even recognize what we're doing. If I don't, your teammates surely can't. We got a seven or eight- point lead in the first half. We got to learn to put it away. You get beat at home and hold the team to 55 points. Maybe all the talk by me and everybody else about how good our offense and how efficient we are- I think it is, but not when it's selfish. That's on me, that's on me. We don't have your inside people score like we scored and not give them touches in the length of time that we did. But you got to give them credit.
"That's two games at home when it's game point that we give direct line layups off the dribble. Until our guards can guard the basketball, and because they put guys on the floor that can shoot it, you have to be concerned about everybody, you're vulnerable to get beat. And give them credit."
On the final possession
"We set the ball screen there, came off of it. They helped off. We were wide open, but we take a shot, that you know, that just didn't make it."
Wake Forest Head Coach Jeff Bzdelik
On how impressive a road win is for this team after last season
"Well, last year we had the youngest team in the country, and no team played more freshmen more minutes than we did. It's just another step in the right direction. We were really still a very young team. We have three freshmen and three sophomores out of the eight scholarship players available to us. I'm really happy for our players; it was a tough, gritty performance against a team that's extremely well-coached and plays very well in this building."
On if Carson Desrosiers had a breakout performance
"Yes, it is. Carson is a young man that-it's interesting. It's tough to be a freshman, especially at a school like Wake Forest where there's demands on you academically. Last year, he had to play a lot of minutes out of necessity. It's tough, but it's a credit to him. It's perseverance, his willingness to continue to battle. He's still only a sophomore in his seventh game. He's very talented. I certainly believe in him and he just needs to understand that's he's very, very talented and smart. He needs to believe in himself. Hopefully this is a huge step toward that."
On if the last play was designed
"Yes. We knew that (Nebraska center Jorge Brian) Diaz has trouble with high ball screens in terms of his ability to move his feet and C.J. (Harris) just blew right by him, and we opened up the court. That's what we were hoping for. If he was to sag in there, we were going to throw it back to Carson and go from there."
On his final shot
"We decided if they were going to go man, we were going to run a man play. And if they went zone, we were going to run a zone play. They ended up going zone, and they extended us too far out. I tried to penetrate it and I just looked at it and saw I had a kick out and could have kicked it out to Dylan (Talley), but I tried to shoot a floater and I missed it. I was kind of pressed on the time trying to get a good, quality shot. I normally can make it."
On if they got away from the game plan on offense
"I saw we did. On the scout team, we were told that the defense was the weakest part of their game. I think we got to do a better job of sharing the ball and getting it into the post more. When we got it down there, I think we shot something like 70-percent. We just have to learn to be more unselfish."
*-Nebraska's 53 point was a season low, as the Huskers had scored 64 or more points in its first five games
*-Bo Spencer scored his 1,000th career point when he converted two free throws at the 8:44 mark in the first half. Spencer finished with a team-high 13 points
*-Brandon Ubel had a career-high five assists and tied a season high in blocked shots with two.
*-Nebraska held Wake Forest to 55 points, and prior to tonight, the Huskers were 54-3 in the Devaney Center when holding foes to under 60 points.
*-Nebraska committed a season low eight turnovers in the loss
*-The Huskers' 23 3-point attempts were a season high, as the Huskers went just 6-of-23 from long range.
*-Nebraska has held five of its six opponents to under 65 points this season. *-Nebraska suffered just its third home non-conference loss in six seasons under Doc Sadler.