McKie's Veteran Leadership Anchors Wake Forest
Nov. 21, 2013
By Emma Lingan, WakeForestSports.com
As sophomores Codi Miller-McIntyre and Devin Thomas along with other young players continue to dominate the scoreboard for Wake Forest, Monday's 90-83 victory over Jacksonville saw the reemergence of the team's rock-solid veterans.
Senior Travis McKie notched his first double-double of the season and the 17th of his career against the Dolphins, scoring 22 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. He also had two assists, two blocks and two steals in his 35 minutes on the court.
"I played pretty well," McKie said. "I took a lot more shots than I wanted to. I have to finish better around the rim, but they came out and played hard and made the game close. We sustained their run and we did our own."
In last Friday's 69-48 victory over Presbyterian, McKie had finished with only four points and four rebounds in 25 minutes of playing time.
"You know four points are not going to sit well with me mentally," McKie said. "I definitely wanted to change that, so I came out definitely more assertive."
The Dolphins put up a fight, briefly taking the lead twice in the second half, but the Deacons rallied both times and ultimately came away with the victory.
"We knew they were going to make a run," McKie said. "They're a very good team. They just put their head down and finished at the rim. We knew they were going to be a tough out. We just wanted to sustain that run in the second half. We knew they were capable of doing that, but we stayed the course and we won the game."
McKie, who leads all active ACC players in career points and rebounds, went 6-for-16 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the line against Jacksonville. He entered the game averaging just 9.7 points and five rebounds per game, with a previous season-high of 14 points in the opener against Colgate.
"I think in the first few games, I was trying to feel out how the young guys were going to react," McKie said. "But I want to get myself a lot more involved in the game."
The younger Demon Deacons have already made their presence known in the still-young season. Miller-McIntyre has opened the season with four consecutive 20-point games while Thomas came up just two points short of his third straight double-double against Jacksonville. Other contributors to Monday's win included sophomores Tyler Cavanaugh, who grabbed a career-high seven rebounds and tied a career-high in points with 12, and Arnaud William Adala Moto, who chipped in seven points and nine rebounds.
"I think in the first three games, I was trying to be a coach out there, and let those guys see where they're at," McKie said. "I think in the last game I just got lost in the salsa, so to speak, and I wanted to come out tonight and be more aggressive. I don't want to take 6-for-16 every game. I've definitely got to finish more around the rim. But it was a good start."
Head coach Jeff Bzdelik points to McKie's veteran leadership, as well as the maturity and development of his younger teammates, as signs of the Deacons' progress as a team.
"It helps us big time," Bzdelik said. "I don't know, a year ago at this time, that we win that game -- to be quite frank. But the maturity, as our guys are growing up, and the leadership of Travis and Coron [Williams] and the maturity of our freshman class from last year -- we're making progress in that regard."
The Demon Deacons (4-0) hope to remain undefeated as they host The Citadel on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Joel Coliseum. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and can also be heard on the Wake Forest IMG Sports Network.