BOSTON (AP) — Derryck Thornton scored a career-high 23 points and Nik Popovic had 19 to lead Boston College to a 77-70 victory over Wake Forest Wednesday night in the season opener for both schools.
Jay Heath, a 6-foot-3 freshman guard, added 18 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Eagles.
Brandon Childress had 24 points, and Isaiah Mucius 16 for the Demon Deacons.
Committed to running the floor on nearly every opportunity, combined with tough man-to-man defense, helped BC open a 42-27 lead at halftime.
The Eagles went on a 20-3 run during a 6:47 stretch of the opening half to make it 27-12. Popovic, Jared Hamilton and CJ Felder each nailed a 3 during the spree.
After Wake Forest sliced its deficit to eight late in the half, Heath sparked a quick 10-0 spurt, scoring eight of his points during the spree.
The Demon Deacons committed 10 turnovers the opening half, while BC had one.
Wake Forest, opening a season with its first true road game since 1993, sliced it to six with just under two minutes to play, but BC held on.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons returned 77% of their scoring from last season, but they looked rattled, at times, offensively and turned the ball over way too much. They’ll needed to clean that up before they get to ACC play.
Boston College: Thornton, a graduate transfer from USC who started his collegiate career as a highly touted player at Duke before transferring, looked poised and ran the offense effectively. Certainly, having experience at the point should help a lot when things get tight, and with the addition of Heath and Felder, the Eagles look like they can be more balanced offensively this season.
Thornton made a quick cut near the foul line driving toward the lane and split the bottom of his left sneaker during the first half.
When the 6-foot-3 guard backed out and dribbled near midcourt, he looked down and the bottom of his sneaker was slightly hanging off. During a timeout, he took off the white sneakers and put on a pair of maroon ones. He wasn’t injured.
BC sophomore forward Jairus Hamilton came down awkwardly trying to make a steal in front of his team’s bench in the first half. He limped to the bench, was looked at by a trainer before walking slowly favoring the leg heading to the locker room. He didn’t return. . His brother, Jared, a senior, also went down hard in the final two minutes, favoring his left leg.
Wake Forest: Hosts Columbia on Sunday.
Boston College: At South Florida on Sunday.