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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest didn't shoot well and played much of the second half without its top big man.
And yet, the Demon Deacons gave first-year coach Danny Manning the defensive effort and mental toughness he wanted to see.
Codi Miller-McIntyre scored 19 points to help Wake Forest beat Bucknell 60-53 on Monday night, giving the Demon Deacons just their second win in the month of December.
Redshirt freshman Greg McClinton scored a season-high 10 points and had a couple of key second-half plays for the Demon Deacons (6-6), who let a big lead slip all the way to a single point but never surrendered the lead.
"I think we responded in a very positive team manner," Manning said. "Guys continued to work on the defensive end, we moved the ball fairly well offensively and we just continued to battle."
Nothing was easy for the Demon Deacons, who shot just 36 percent — including 7-for-23 (30 percent) after halftime. They also played most of the second half without Devin Thomas, who was ejected after picking up two technical fouls in less than 2 minutes midway through the period.
But Manning was also happy with the way his team played defense, particularly in the first half when Bucknell (5-7) got off to a miserable start.
"I just think this is one of our most defensively minded games that we've played this year," Miller-McIntyre said.
Chris Hass scored 26 points to lead the Bison (5-7), who missed 18 of 19 to open the game and finished the game at 29 percent.
"I thought our defensive effort was good, I thought our intensity was good," Bucknell coach Dave Paulsen said. "But if you're going to win a game on the road at an (Atlantic Coast Conference) place, you've got to make some baskets."
The Demon Deacons led by 17 points in the first half before the Bison rallied to within 38-37 midway through the second half. But McClinton scored on a stickback to protect the lead, then the Demon Deacons managed a 9-2 spurt that rebuilt some of that cushion.
Freshman Cornelius Hudson added a 3-pointer with 1:42 left — his only basket — to help keep the Demon Deacons in control late.
Bucknell: Bucknell fell to 0-6 all-time against Wake Forest. .... Bucknell's only two wins against then-ACC opponents came against South Carolina in December 1958 and Virginia in January 1961. ... Bucknell shot 5-for-22 from 3-point range.
Wake Forest: McClinton had seven rebounds in a season-high 24 minutes, a performance that Manning called "outstanding." ... Graduate senior Darius Leonard scored 11 points and hit a couple of early 3-pointers. ... Wake Forest finished with a 41-35 rebounding advantage.
The school announced shortly before tipoff that freshman guard Mitchell Wilbekin must sit a total of three games due to an undisclosed NCAA violation. This was Wilbekin's second straight missed game and he can return Dec. 31 against Princeton, though the school had said Saturday that the suspension could be up to six games.
Thomas picked up his third and fourth technical fouls of the season, pushing him to nine for his career. The junior earned the first when he clipped a Bucknell player with an elbow while corralling a rebound at the 15:17 mark, then picked up his second after he appeared to say something in the direction of a crosscourt official after being boxed out on a rebound at the 13:54 mark. Manning said Thomas must "do a better job of controlling his emotions."
Bucknell travels to Siena on Sunday.
Wake Forest travels to Richmond on Sunday.
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