WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Devin Thomas scored 23 points and Wake Forest managed to overcome a stern test from Colgate to win its season-opener 89-78 on Friday night.
Thomas added six rebounds and Codi Miller-McIntyre finished with 21 points for the Demon Deacons.
Colgate kept pace for the first 30 minutes and led by as many as eight points in the early stages of the second half before Miller-McIntyre took control.
The sophomore guard scored 14 consecutive Demon Deacons points, while the team's defense held the Raiders without a field goal for more than five minutes. Miller-McIntyre punctuated a 19-4 run for Wake Forest with a pair of free throws to give his team a 62-55 lead it would not relinquish.
Pat Moore led Colgate with 17 points.
The Raiders looked set to become the first Patriot League team to beat Wake Forest since 1971, making nine 3-pointers in the first half and another two shots from behind the arc in the opening moments of the second half.
But the Demon Deacons were able to effectively defend the perimeter after withstanding that initial torrent. Colgate made only three 3-pointers in the final 18 minutes.
Meanwhile, Wake Forest continued to assert its dominance in the interior with 74 points scored in the paint or at the free throw line.
It was enough to avoid what would have been a disastrous loss in the first game of Jeff Bzdelik's fourth season as head coach of the Demon Deacons.
Colorado State graduate transfer John Gillon has chosen Syracuse, giving the Orange a potential starter at point guard entering the 2016-17 season.
DeSean Murray, who averaged 20.2 points as a sophomore at Presbyterian, will transfer to Auburn to play for coach Bruce Pearl.
Former Kentucky guard Ed Davender, the only Wildcat with at least 1,500 points and 400 assists, has died. He was 49.