Quick Shots: Thomas Beasting the Boards
Jan. 7, 2013
By Alex Botoman, Wake Forest Athletic Communications (@TieDyeNation)
Deacons Win Skip Prosser Classic
Wake Forest led for most of the game, and when Xavier stormed back to take a one-point lead late in the second half, the Deacons responded with a 12-0 run that put the contest out of reach.
The Musketeers have reached the Sweet 16 in four of the past five seasons, and while they have had their struggles this year, the win gave the Demon Deacons an important confidence boost heading into the challenging ACC slate.
McKie scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Xavier before posting the 14th double-double of his career against No. 1 Duke with 22 points and 11 boards. Harris notched 15 points against the Musketeers and then fought off a rolled ankle to score 19 points and dish out four assists against the Blue Devils.
McKie ranks eighth in the ACC with 15.3 points per game, and Harris is close behind in 10th with a 14.6 ppg scoring mark. McKie also ranks sixth in the conference on the boards with 8.2 rebounds per game, making him one of only three players, along with Duke's Mason Plumlee and Boston College's Ryan Anderson to rank in the top eight in the ACC in scoring and rebounding.
A Beast on the Boards
One of Wake Forest's weaknesses in the early season has been rebounding, but Devin Thomas' back-to-back 12+ rebound performances, one of which helped Demon Deacons outrebound No. 1 Duke 43-35 in Cameron Indoor Stadium, might indicate that the battle of the boards is turning in the Deacons' favor.
Thomas grabbed 14 boards against Xavier and 12 against Duke for the two highest totals of his freshman season, but perhaps even more encouraging than the numbers was the way that he battled experienced post players like the Blue Devils' Mason Plumlee to secure the rebounds.
With Thomas joined by Travis McKie, who ranks sixth in the ACC with 8.2 rebounds per game, along with Arnaud William Adala Moto and Tyler Cavanaugh, there is hope that Wake Forest's rebounding weakness could become a strength heading into the heart of conference play.
Playing to the Buzzer
Against Xavier, Wake Forest erased a 24-21 deficit by going on a 10-2 run over the last 3:23 of the first half to carry a 31-26 lead into half time that proved to be key given that the Musketeers would only lead for 19 seconds the rest of the game.
The Deacons also surged to a 9-3 run over the final 4:20 against Duke, capped off by a C.J. Harris end-to-end layup at the buzzer, to cut the Blue Devil lead to 11 points heading into the break.
The late first-half surges against Duke and Xavier were continuations of a trend that started against Seton Hall, where the Deacons used a 10-2 run to extend their halftime lead to 36-27. Wake Forest also ended the first half against Furman on a 10-0 run and closed the opening period on a 10-2 spurt against UNCG.
Home Sweet Home
The Cavaliers will come into Winston-Salem riding high after defeating North Carolina 61-52 on Sunday in their ACC opener in Charlottesville to move them to 11-3 (1-0 ACC). However, the road has not been kind to the Wahoos as they are 1-2 away from John Paul Jones Arena with losses to George Mason and Old Dominion.
The Eagles bring an 8-6 (0-1 ACC) record into the week, and they battled a ranked NC State squad in a 78-73 loss in the conference opener Saturday. BC has also struggled away from the confines of home, going 1-3 in road and neutral site games. The Eagles will travel to face Virginia Tech on Wednesday before taking on the Deacons on Saturday.
Wake Forest swept Boston College home and away last season, including a 29-point win in Joel Coliseum. The Demon Deacons dropped their only meeting with Virginia last year in Charlottesville.
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Wake Forest hangs on for win over Xavier (Winston-Salem Journal)
Demon Deacons take down Xavier, appreciate special victory (Burlington Times-News)
Prosser's teachings still vivid for his protégés (Winston-Salem Journal)
Prosser Would Have Been Proud of Skip Prosser Classic (WakeForestSports.com)
Duke downs Wake Forest 80-62 (Winston-Salem Journal)
Still too soon to pass final judgment on Bzdelik, Deacons (Wilmington Star-News)
They Said It:
"We've had a couple of over three hour practices (heading into the Xavier game), so I told them, `You know what? Maybe that's the reason we won this game, so maybe we should keep doing it.'...They didn't like that." - Head coach Jeff Bzdelik (full press conference)
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