Johnson leads Wake Forest past Air Force 78-67
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP)—Freshman James Johnson scored a season-high 22 points to lead Wake Forest past Air Force 78-67 on Sunday.
L.D. Williams had 16 points, and Harvey Hale added 15 and keyed the critical stretch for Wake Forest by scoring five points during the 10-0 second-half run that broke the game open.
The Demon Deacons (9-3) won their fourth straight, pushed their ACC-best home-court winning streak to 12 and avenged a 36-point loss at Air Force last year—the most lopsided nonconference loss in the school’s modern era.
Tim Anderson had a career-high 30 points—the most Wake Forest has allowed a player this season—for the Falcons (8-5). They shot 50 percent and knocked down 56 percent of their 3-pointers but couldn’t overcome 19 turnovers and a 35-29 rebounding disadvantage.
Wake Forest took the lead for good late in the first half on a Johnson free throw, then took control in the second. The Demon Deacons’ largest lead came at 60-48 on Hale’s 3-pointer with 10 1/2 minutes remaining, a big shot that followed his baseline jumper and capped their run of 10 straight points.
Andrew Henke added 10 points for Air Force, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. Freshman Jeff Teague scored 10 points and had a season-high six steals—five in the first half—for Wake Forest.
Early on, this one shaped up as a game dominated by big spurts and short tempers, with three technical fouls called in the opening 16 minutes.
Wake Forest’s Chas McFarland was ejected after his second technical came with 5:01 before halftime, and less than a minute later Henke also received a T for what official Mike Stuart said was baiting and taunting.
Air Force used an early 19-3 run to take a 19-8 lead, made eight of its first nine shots and knocked down five of their first seven attempts from 3-point range. But Wake Forest reeled off 13 straight points midway through the half to erase its 11-point deficit—with Teague registering four steals during that defense-dominated stretch.
The game was a homecoming of sorts for first-year Air Force coach Jeff Reynolds, a North Carolina-Greensboro graduate who has coached in the Tar Heel State.