Deacons Set Sights on a Championship in Paradise
Nov. 28, 2013
By Emma Lingan, WakeForestSports.com
Last week's win over The Citadel saw the Demon Deacons shoot a season-high 50 percent from beyond the arc, three players finish in double figures and the team finish off a five-game home stretch with its undefeated record (5-0) intact.
According to senior forward Travis McKie, who scored 10 points and tied career-highs with five blocks and four steals, balance was the key ingredient in the 82-54 victory.
"I think everybody came out tonight," McKie said. "All of us struggled offensively at times and shots weren't falling like they usually do. So all of us did something in a specific area for us to come out and win."
The Deacons had a slow start, shooting just 36.4 percent from the field in the first half and heading to the locker room at the break with just a seven-point edge over the Bulldogs.
"One of the things we talked about at halftime is that you can't let the things you do on offense dictate your defensive energy," said head coach Jeff Bzdelik. "That's going to happen. No matter what you do, offense is a variable and sometimes it is not going to go in for you but you can't let it take away from your defensive energy and what you need to do."
Bzdelik's words resonated with the Demon Deacons, who exploded out of the locker room and outscored the Bulldogs 48-27 in the second half.
"It was a great win to finish this five-game home stretch," said fifth-year guard Coron Williams, who hit four 3-pointers to lead Wake Forest with 12 points. "Guys defended; we started off slow in the first half and guys came out in the second half and picked it up. That translated into great offense."
With a week off to prepare before heading to the Bahamas to take on No. 2-ranked Kansas in the 2013 Battle 4 Atlantis, the Demon Deacons are wary of the dangers that may accompany another slow start.
"We picked up our energy," Williams said. "Our energy was low in the first half and guys weren't ready to play. We can't have that going into this Battle 4 Atlantis tournament, but we picked that up in the second half and guys looked good out there."
As the Demon Deacons head deeper into their schedule and leave the comfort of the Joel Coliseum for the first time this season, they hope that the energy and momentum from the 5-0 home stretch will carry them to more victories.
"Our non-conference schedule is a fair, balanced schedule," Bzdelik said. "We now step into one of the premier tournaments. All three games are all big-time games. It's now a steady climb up in the schedule. We are going to put in a few new things offensively and work on some things on defense to help us."
The Demon Deacons will face off against the Kansas Jayhawks Thursday, Nov. 28 at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in the first round of the Battle 4 Atlantis. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m. EST, and it will be televised on AXS TV.
The Deacs will face either USC or Villanova in the second round the following day before playing Iowa, Tennessee, UTEP or Xavier in the third round on Saturday, Nov. 30.