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November 4, 2011

Wake handles Ferrum in exhibition

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Sophomores Travis McKie and Carson Desrosiers each posted a double-double to lead Wake Forest to an 82-43 exhibition win over Ferrum College on Friday evening at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum.

McKie picked up where he left off from his outstanding freshman campaign in 2010-11, pouring in a game-high 23 points and pulling down a game-high 16 boards.

The Richmond, Va. native went 10-for-14 from the field, including 2-for-4 from 3-point range, and also led the team with five assists.

Desrosiers finished with 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds and two assists.

"There were things we did well and there were things that we need to improve upon," said head coach Jeff Bzdelik.

"Overall, I think the freshmen got their feet wet and we did what we had to do. We will go to practice tomorrow and work on things we need to get better at. We will use this tape as a teaching tool and do that tomorrow."

C.J. Harris and Nikita Mescheriakov were also in double figures in the scoring column with 14 and 10 points respectively.

Point guard Tony Chennault led the Deacons on the defensive end with four steals, as Wake tallied 13 total as a team.

Freshman Daniel Green pulled down eight boards off the bench.

Daryl Hart led Ferrum with 14 points and three assists, while Nick English finished with 10 points.

The Deacons outscored the Panthers 11-2 to start the game, but the visitors fought back within two with a quick 7-0 run. With Wake leading 29-23 with under five minutes to play, the Deacons doubled their lead with a 10-4 run to close the first half.

Wake Forest put to rest any thoughts of an upset by opening the second period with a 14-4 run over the initial seven minutes of the period to extend its lead to 53-21.

The Deacons used a strong defensive effort in the second half, holding Ferrum to 5-for-25 from the field.

"We just cracked down defensively in the second half," said McKie. "In the first half we had a couple of jitters, you know freshmen were getting their first chance to play college basketball and so we had a few defensive breakdowns. But in the second half, we really cracked down on defense and we gave them limited shots. It was great defense."

The Deacons had a considerable size advantage over the Panthers, out-rebounding the visitors 50-28 and finishing with a 46-10 advantage in points scored in the paint.

Wake Forest won the turnover battle, committing 15 miscues to 21 by Ferrum. The Deacons scored 25 points off turnovers but allowed the Panthers to score 16 off turnovers as well.

"Obviously we need to make better decisions on the break, but we will get there. Their defense is pretty good. Offensively we have to make better decisions with the ball and not turn it over so often. Tonight Anthony Fields got his feet wet and of course he has only been practicing with contact for a couple weeks, so this was good for him. Tony [Chennault], also, is like a freshman in a couple ways so he needs to make better decisions, but he will learn that from this game."

With the win, the Deacons move to 16-2 in exhibition play since 2001. Wake Forest has won 10 straight exhibition games since 2004, including an 84-44 win over area-rival Guilford last season.

"We got a little complacent after playing Guilford last year," said McKie. "We thought it was going to be the same way the following week, and obviously it wasn't what we expected. C.J. and I will not let that happen again. We are going to take Loyola very seriously as well as any other game this season. Preseason is over and regular season is about to come so we have to get going."

"We have put a lot on the players," said Bzdelik. "If any team--I don't care who it is, where it is, what sport it is--if it is always coach-directed, it is not going to be very good. It has got to be player-directed. Unsolicited. Carson Desrosiers made it happen. And that shows maturity."

"We are still a young team," Bzdelik continued. "I looked out there at one point during the game and there was three freshmen and two sophomores. So we are still young. But they are scrapping, defending, rebounding and giving forth an effort. They gave forth an effort, pushed the ball, and tried to share the ball. When we do those things and play with great energy we play good basketball. When we don't, we don't."

Wake Forest will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 11, against Loyola (Md.). The game features two programs at which the late Skip Prosser served as head coach.

Prosser spent the 1993-94 season at Loyola and was at Wake Forest from 2001 until passing away in July of 2007.

Tip-off for the season opener is set for 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast online on ESPN3.com. Tom Werme (play-by-play) and Brevin Knight (color) will call the action.






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