No. 11 UNC blows big lead, holds off Wake Forest 93-87

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Justin Jackson hit a huge 3-pointer with 1:03 left and No. 11 North Carolina did just enough to hold off Wake Forest 93-87 on Wednesday night.

Jackson finished with 19 points for the Tar Heels (15-3, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), while Kennedy Meeks added 18 points and 11 rebounds.

UNC twice blew second-half leads when it was in control, first letting a 19-point lead slip to one and then losing much of a nine-point margin in the final 4 minutes.

But Jackson’s 3 finally gave UNC the push it needed, with Isaiah Hicks and Kenny Williams each hitting key free throws in the final minute to keep UNC out front.

Bryant Crawford scored 22 points for the Demon Deacons (10-7, 1-4), while freshman Brandon Childress scored all of his season-high 16 points after halftime.

UNC lost freshman big man Tony Bradley Jr. to a possible concussion late in the first half.

BIG PICTURE

UNC: This marked the second time in three games the Tar Heels had to fight their way to a league road win against a team picked to finish 11th or worse in the 15-team ACC. And the defense wasn’t sharp on this night, surrendering 50 percent shooting and 53 points after halftime in a game that appeared well in hand early after the break.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons showed plenty of fight to dig out of the huge hole, but still ended up with a loss that has them sliding further down the league standings.

UP NEXT

UNC: The Tar Heels return home Saturday to face No. 9 Florida State.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons get about a week off before facing Miami on Jan. 18.

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