Cameron Hildreth lifts Wake Forest over Charleston Southern

Cameron Hildreth scored 21 points and host Wake Forest finally overcame Charleston Southern with a strong finish in a 71-56 victory Friday afternoon in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Kevin Miller added 14 points and Hunter Sallis and Andrew Carr each scored 12 for Wake Forest, which trailed by four at halftime. The Demon Deacons (3-3) pulled away from a 57-49 lead in the final 3 1/2 minutes.

DJ Patrick had 13 points, Taje’ Kelly posted 12 points and 11 rebounds and A’lahn Sumler had 10 points for Charleston Southern (2-4), which lost its third game in a row.

Wake Forest shot 43.8 percent from the field, including 5-for-14 on 3-pointers. Sallis had two 3-point baskets.

A 24-for-27 performance on free throws was critical, including 8-for-8 from Hildreth and 7-for-8 from Carr, who also had 10 rebounds.

The Buccaneers pulled within 51-46 on Sumler’s 3-pointer, but the Demon Deacons answered with an 8-3 run capped by Carr’s dunk.

The lead was 62-51 after Carr’s 3-pointer with 1:58 to play.

Charleston Southern shot 37.3 percent from the field and committed 15 turnovers.

Wake Forest had only seven points from its reserves.

Charleston Southern led for about 21 consecutive minutes in a stretch bridging the first and second halves. The Buccaneers were up 39-32 with 15 1/2 minutes remaining.

Wake Forest scored seven straight points — all on foul shots — for a 47-41 lead, going ahead with 11:08 left on two Carr free throws.

Charleston Southern led 32-28 at halftime, though the Buccaneers were up 30-20 with three minutes left in the half.

Wake Forest shot 40 percent from the field in the opening half. Each team had four made free throws and four 3-point baskets to go with six turnovers apiece before intermission.

The Demon Deacons have topped the Buccaneers in two of the last three seasons for a 4-0 series lead.