Wake Forest edges Illinois, 80-73
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Bryant Crawford led four players in double figures with 20 points as Wake Forest knocked Illinois from the ranks of the unbeaten in an 80-73 win in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Tuesday night.
Doral Moore, Mitchell Wilbekin, and Brandon Childress added 12 points apiece for Wake Forest (3-4), which held Illinois to 38.7 percent shooting using a stingy 2-3 zone defense.
Aaron Jordan came off the bench to lead Illinois with 20 points, with Kipper Nichols adding 14 and Leron Black finishing with 10. Jordan, who entered the game leading the NCAA in 3-point percentage (15 of 23, 65.2 percent), made 4 of 6 against the Deacons.
It was the first loss for the Illini (6-1), who played their first six games at home and were seeking their first non-conference road win since beating Boston University in the NIT on March 19, 2014.
Leading 35-34 at halftime, the Deacons used an 11-0 run early in the second half to take a 49-39 lead. Illinois closed to within 1 at 56-55 on a 3-pointer by Black with 9:25 left but could get no closer.
Wake Forest is now 12-5 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, tied with Virginia for second most wins
BIG PICTURE: After losses to Georgia Southern, Liberty, Drake, and Houston to start the season, this was a quality win for Wake Forest against a team from a Power 5 conference.
Illinois got a great lift from its bench after several starters encountered early foul trouble. The Illinois bench outscored Wake Forest 43-24, but its defensive lapse in the second half allowed Wake Forest to shoot 57.7 percent.
UP NEXT: The Deacons will wrap up their current three-game homestand on Saturday, December 2 against Richmond.
Illinois will begin Big Ten Conference play at Northwestern on Friday, December 1.