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Mar 20, 2024 10:34 pm

No. 1 seed Wake Forest tops Appalachian State

Forbes Wake

Kevin Miller scored a game-high 31 points as Wake Forest rolled past Appalachian State 87-76 on Wednesday night in a first-round NIT game at the Demon Deacons’ home court in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Wake Forest (21-13), a No. 1 seed making its second appearance in the NIT, will host Georgia (18-16) — a 78-76 winner over Xavier on Tuesday — in the second round.

Appalachian State (27-7) can take consolation in recording the most wins in school history. The Mountaineers topped the Sun Belt Conference in the regular season before falling in the conference tournament semifinal on March 10.

On Wednesday, the Mountaineers pulled to within one at 49-48 with 13:15 to go when CJ Huntley hit a 3-pointer.

But Cameron Hildreth — Wake Forest’s backcourt catalyst from England — scored six straight points to help the Demon Deacons take a 57-50 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Wake Forest pulled away by going on a 20-7 run to take a 78-60 lead with 2:15 left.

Miller’s 31 points were a career high. Hildreth scored 19, Hunter Sallis added 16 and Efton Reid III had 17 points and 12 rebounds for Wake Forest.

Huntley scored 16 points to lead Appalachian State, which also got 14 from Terence Harcum.

Wake Forest led by as many as 13 in the first half and took a 36-27 lead into halftime. Miller was hot early, hitting a pair of 3-pointers and scoring 14 points in the half.

The Mountaineers shot 1-12 from 3-point range in the half.

Wake Forest has won all 22 of the games between the North Carolina rivals.

Appalachian State also lost in the NIT first round in 2007. Wake Forest reached the NIT quarterfinals in 2022.

–Field Level Media

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