Wake Forest Routs East Carolina 95-54
Dec. 22, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP)--Al-Farouq Aminu had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and No. 6 Wake Forest blew open a close game after halftime to beat East Carolina 95-54 on Monday night.
Chas McFarland had 14 points for the Demon Deacons (11-0), who are off to their best start since winning the first 11 games of 2003-04. Wake Forest led by four points at halftime before roaring out of the break with a big run that silenced the rowdy home crowd dreaming of an upset.
The Demon Deacons opened the second half with a 15-3 run that pushed the margin to double digits, then spent the rest of the game steadily increasing the lead while putting on a show of the fullcourt athleticism that has made them among the favorites in the Atlantic Coast Conference. There were no shortage of contributors, from Aminu's double-double to L.D. Williams' lockdown defense on East Carolina sharpshooter Sam Hinnant.
There would be no repeat of the Pirates' upsets of Dwyane Wade-led Marquette here in 2002 or last year's win against instate rival North Carolina State for ECU's first-ever victory against an ACC opponent.
Once Aminu scored on a one-handed scooping layup while drawing the foul in transition, Wake Forest led 79-47 with 8:05 to play and the home fans were heading for the exits. Many of the fans who stayed spent the rest of the game sitting down after being on their feet early on.
Wake Forest outscored East Carolina 54-17 in the second half and held the Pirates to 4-for-30 shooting.
Darrius Morrow had 15 points to lead the Pirates (8-3), who lost their first 57 games against ACC opponents before upsetting N.C. State 75-69 here last December. They lost at N.C. State 87-76 on Wednesday night then returned home to face instate Wake Forest, located almost 200 miles west in Winston-Salem.
The Demon Deacons arrived at Minges Coliseum as the highest-ranked visitor since No. 5 Memphis took a 77-67 Conference USA victory here in January 2006.
Wake Forest, much more athletic than East Carolina, controlled the first half and led by as many as 11 points before the Pirates closed the half with an 8-1 spurt and used a 3-pointer from Hinnant to make it 41-37 at halftime and charge up the home crowd.
But the Demon Deacons--a team loaded with talented underclassmen--came out with the kind of run befitting a veteran squad. Leading 45-40, Aminu found the 7-foot McFarland for an inside basket, then Jeff Teague drained a stepback 3-pointer to push the lead to double figures. Then, after baskets from James Johnson and Teague, Aminu found McFarland again for a score that made it 56-40 with 14:51 left.
Much of that success came as they protected the basketball. They came in averaging 18 turnovers per game and had eight in the first half, but didn't have any in the second half.
Hinnant, who scored 30 points against the Wolfpack last year and 18 in last week's rematch, had nine points on 2-for-12 shooting.