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CONWAY, S.C. (AP) — Wake Forest coach Danny Manning isn't going to say he is sorry for a win against anybody after starting 1-4.
The Demon Deacons (7-4) overcame a slow start, riding defense instead of the hot shooting that has been the hallmark of their now six-game winning streak to beat Coastal Carolina 84-80 on Monday night.
"You don't apologize for winning a game, especially on the road," Manning said.
Wake Forest was on the cusp of losing to a third team with an RPI under 200 (Liberty and Drake were the others) as the fans in Coastal Carolina's cozy HTC Center were roaring after the Chanticleers (6-6) took a 72-69 lead at the end of a 8-0 run with 2:38 to go.
Brandon Childress made a pair of free throws for Wake Forest, then Bryant Crawford got a steal near midcourt. His layup was blocked, but Mitchell Wilbekin had rushed down and got the putback with 2:07 to go to give the Demon Deacons a lead they would not give up.
On the next possession, Doral Moore blocked two shots. Crawford was then fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all his free throws to put Wake Forest up 76-72 with 1:25 to go. Moore had a career-best five blocks.
Wake Forest hit 10 of 11 free throws in the final 2:25 of the game, including four by Keyshawn Woods that kept the Demon Deacons more than a possession ahead in the final minute.
"When we were 1-4 I was all about finding ways for us to get better," Manning said.
Crawford led Wake Forest with 22 points, while Moore added 11 points and 10 rebounds
Zac Culbertson led the Chanticleers with 21 points. Jaylen Shaw had 12 points and 10 assists.
Wake Forest: Good shooting has gotten the Demon Deacons out of that 1-4 hole. Wake Forest shot 50.9 percent (28 of 55) from the field. The Demon Deacons have shot better than 50 percent during each game of the winning streak and scored at least 80 points ... The difference for the Demon Deacons on Monday night was at the line. They made 21 of 25 free throws, while Coastal Carolina was 12 of 19.
Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers shot 50.9 percent (29 of 57). It was only their second game shooting better than 50 percent this season. That kind of shooting will let them rise above their predicted eighth place finish in the Sun Belt.
ALMOST GIANT KILLERS
That Coastal Carolina came excruciatingly close to beating a Power Five team this season or at home is not a surprise.
The Chanticleers lost 80-78 at South Carolina on Dec. 9.
"We're not into moral victories. We want to win these games," Chanticleers coach Cliff Ellis said.
And Ellis has done it before at Coastal Carolina, beating LSU in 2011 and Clemson in 2012.
A big part of Wake Forest's five-game winning streak coming into Monday was fast starts. The Demon Deacons trailed for just over 14 minutes in those five games, with much of it coming against Illinois.
Wake Forest trailed for more than 20 minutes against Coastal Carolina including nearly the entire first half. An 18-5 run to open the second half finally got the Demon Deacons going.
"If you can do that at the end of the game, you can do it at the beginning," Manning said.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons host No. 21 Tennessee Saturday, then open Atlantic Coast Conference play Dec. 30 at No. 5 North Carolina.
Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers host the College of Charleston on Friday and open Sun Belt Conference play Dec. 29 hosting UT Arlington.
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