- Associated Press - Friday, December 18, 2015

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) - Wake Forest keeps finding ways to win the tight games. They’ve added up to the Demon Deacons most successful run in a couple of years.

Freshman Bryant Crawford scored 19 points with a season-best five 3-pointers, and Wake Forest held on to beat Coastal Carolina 83-77 on Friday night for its fifth straight win.

Those five victories have come by a combined 23 points, and compared to some of the others, this might count as lopsided: The Demon Deacons’ one-point win at Rutgers was sandwiched by three-point victories over Arkansas and UCLA.

“We know how to gut out a win,” Crawford said, “but it also says that we have to focus more and continue to do the things that get us those leads, and continue to put our foot on the gas when we’re up.”

Greg McClinton added four of his 13 points in the final minute, Dinos Mitoglou also scored 13 with three 3s and John Collins had 12 for Wake Forest while Codi Miller-McIntyre finished with 10 in his second game back from a broken foot for the Demon Deacons (8-2).

They shot 55 percent and led by 12 with seven minutes left before weathering a rally by the hot-shooting Chanticleers to prolong their longest winning streak since the 2013-14 team won its first five.

Badou Diagne had a season-high 24 points and Jaylen Shaw added a career-best 21 to lead the Chanticleers (6-5), who had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Coastal Carolina pulled to 77-75 on two free throws by Shaw with 1:23 remaining before Mitoglou restored Wake Forest’s four-point lead with two foul shots with 1:09 left. Kevin Holmes Jr. missed an open 3-pointer with about a minute left and the Demon Deacons worked the clock before McClinton hit a layup with 33.6 seconds left to make it 81-75.

“That was just huge, and you can’t afford to have that,” Coastal Carolina coach Cliff Ellis said. “You know that each possession is huge. We had a shot.”

Elijah Wilson went coast to coast for the Chanticleers but missed the layup and the rebound clipped off his fingertips and went out of bounds with 24.6 seconds left. Wake Forest ran the clock again before Miller-McIntyre found McClinton with a layup that pushed the lead to 83-75 with 12 seconds to play.

Shivaughn Wiggins finished with 12 points for Coastal Carolina, which shot 65 percent in the second half after making just 34.5 percent in the opening 20 minutes.

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TIP-INS

Coastal Carolina: The Chanticleers fell to 3-30 against current Atlantic Coast Conference members, having last beaten one in 2012 when they routed instate opponent Clemson. This was their first meeting with one since their NCAA Tournament opener in 2014 - an 11-point loss to top-seeded Virginia as a No. 16 seed.

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons could have made this one a blowout had they simply hit their free throws. Wake Forest - which shoots 70 percent from the line - missed eight of its first 12 foul shots from the line and finished 12 of 22.

TOUGH ROAD

It’s about to get much tougher for the Demon Deacons. They play host to No. 10 Xavier on Tuesday night and follow that with trips to LSU - to face heavily hyped freshman Ben Simmons - and No. 19 Louisville before coming back home to face No. 7 Duke on Jan. 6. “If we let our next opponent shoot that type of percentage,” Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said, “we’ll get beat by 100.”

STAT SHEET

Wake Forest big man Devin Thomas had his worst game of the season. He finished with a season-low six points - the first time all year he’s been held to single-digit scoring - and had season-low-tying six rebounds. He also was 0 for 5 from the free-throw line and dealt with foul trouble all night. His fifth foul came on the offensive end with 4:40 to play.

UP NEXT

Coastal Carolina plays host to Alabama State on Sunday.

Wake Forest plays host to No. 10 Xavier on Tuesday night.

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Follow Joedy McCreary at https://twitter.com/joedyap. His work can be found at https://bigstory.ap.org/content/joedy-mccreary

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AP college basketball site: https://collegebasketball.ap.org

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