WINSTON-SALEM--Coron Williams scored 12 points as the Wake Forest Demon Deacons shook off a cold-shooting first half to cruise past the visiting Citadel Bulldogs 82-54 Thursday night at Joel Coliseum. Devin Thomas (1 points, 8 rebounds) had another stellar game, despite feeling the effects from a nasty fall Monday night against Jacksonville.
Wake Forest (5-0) endured a miserable first half on offense, shooting 36.4% (12-33) from the field, and looked to go into halftime only up 4 on the scrappy Citadel (2-4) before Tyler Cavanaugh hit a three-pointer just before the buzzer to give Wake a 34-27 lead. Compounding the offensive woes was another episode of dismal free throw shooting by the Deacs, who hit only 17 of 32 attempts from the foul line,
Williams had just 3 points at halftime, but hit 3 straight three-pointers midway through the second half to stretch the Wake Forest lead to 21 points.
"We were going to change up when he (Williams) came in and came out, and it seemed to work in the first half," Citadel head coach Chuck Driesell. "It was good to us, even with him in the game- we knew he was there. Give him credit, he hit some big threes."
Thomas put a scare into the Deacon faithful when he exited the game after taking a shot to his eye. Team doctors cleared him after he successfully passed some vision tests on the sideline, and he re-entered the game shortly thereafter. He spent part of his time on the bench pedaling a stationary bike just to keep loose.
"Devin hasn't practiced a lot (since the injury)," Demon Deacon coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "In fact, he didn't practice two days ago and he practiced just about 15 minutes yesterday. You know, he took that bad spill so he's still pretty sore. He hasn't gone through a full practice since our last game. We'll give our team tomorrow off. They need to just lick their wounds a little bit."
Senior Travis McKie had possibly the most impressive stat line of the evening: 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 blocks, 4 steals and no turnovers.
"I know I had a tough matchup (Matt Van Scyoc)," McKie said. "I knew he was coming in averaging 19 a game. I wanted to lock him down. I was just trying to be all over the place and cause havoc on defense."
Thursday's game was the stateside opener for next week's Battle 4 Atlantis, where the Deacs will face nationally ranked Kansas Jayhawks on Thanksgiving Day. The winner of that game will play either the Villanova Wildcats or USC Trojans on Friday.
"I feel like we've been ready since day one," point guard Madison Jones said. "We are preparing every day like we're playing the best. Being able to play against the No. 2 team in the nation, of course anybody would be excited. We've just got to be prepared going into the game."
The Deacs next home game is December 4 against Tulane. Tip time is 7:00 p.m.