LEWISBURG, Pa. (AP)—Kyle Visser scored a career-high 26 and freshman Ishmael Smith hit two clutch 3-pointers as Wake Forest overcame an early 12-point deficit to defeat Bucknell, 86-83 in overtime on Tuesday night.
Smith’s 3-pointer opened up an 83-78 lead with about two minutes left in overtime.
Bucknell’s Abe Badmus answered with two free throws and a clutch 3 from the top of the key to get the Bison to within 83-81. “Go Bucknell!” resonated through packed Sojka Pavilion.
After the teams traded baskets, the Bison had a last chance to tie after Jason Vegotsky grabbed a defensive rebound. Rob Thomas missed a layup, Bucknell grabbed the offensive rebound, but Badmus was whistled for traveling.
Harvey Hale then hit one of two free-throw attempts, but Andrew Morrison’s desperation jumper hit off the side of the backboard as the buzzer sounded and the Deacons celebrated.
Wake Forest (2-0) is getting used to recovering from large deficits, having rallied from 13 down against James Madison to win their season opener. Wake started cold from the field on Tuesday, frustrated by the Bison’s defense and starting out in an early 20-8 hole.
Hale finished with 20 points and also hit two free throws to tie the game at 75 near the end of regulation. Smith opened overtime with a 3-pointer to give Wake a 78-75 lead.
Thomas scored 16 points off the bench for Bucknell (0-2), which was plagued by foul trouble all night. Badmus also had 16.
The 6-foot-11 Visser was nearly unstoppable inside, scoring on an array of easy post-up moves and layups and getting the Bison big men in foul trouble. Nearly every Wake possession went through Visser for much of the game.
That changed late when Smith, a freshman, and Hale, a sophomore, hit big shots.
So Wake Forest and head coach Skip Prosser got the best of Bucknell and his son, Bison assistant Mark Prosser.
Bucknell star center Chris McNaughton picked up his fourth foul just a minute into the second half and was a non-factor, finishing with four points and one rebound.