Wake wins in debut at No. 1
Winston-Salem, NC (Sports Network) – Chris Paul scored 15 points with five
assists to lead the newly anointed No. 1 Wake Forest Demon Deacons to a 99-72
victory over Yale at the Lawrence Joel Coliseum.
Eric Williams and Kyle Visser also netted 15 each, while Chris Ellis
contributed 14 in the victory.
Jamaal Levy had a game-high 11 rebounds for Wake Forest (3-0), which is the
top-ranked team in the nation for the first time in school history.
“After coach (Skip Prosser) finished his pregame talk he said there is
something that’s happened that’s never happened before, even with Tim Duncan,
Randolph Childress, and other guys,” said Paul. “The guys were looking around
like ‘What’s he talking about?'” He said that the AP has named us the number
one team in the country. Guys sort of got goosebumps and chills.”
Casey Hughes led all scorers with 20 points for the Bulldogs (1-2). Edwin
Draughan added 19 in the loss.
Wake Forest extended its 17-point halftime lead to 62-43 on a basket by
Williams early in the second half. The lead swelled to 20, 84-64, on a layup
by Vytas Danelius with 5 1/2 minutes remaining and the Demon Deacons cruised
to the easy win in their debut as the nation’s top-ranked team.
Paul and Justin Gray each hit three shots from beyond the arc in the opening
half to lead the Demon Deacons to a 58-41 halftime advantage. Each player hit
a three-pointer in the early going, as Wake Forest scored nine of the game’s
first 11 points and never looked back.
Back-to-back treys by Paul put the Deacons on top, 17-8, with just over 14
minutes left in the first half.
A field goal by Hughes pulled the Bulldogs within five, 28-23, but Gray
answered with a three to push the lead to eight. The basket sparked a 9-2 run
and the Deacons led, 37-25, after Taron Downey completed a three-point play
with 7:10 to go before the break.
“I thought Wake Forest was the number one team going into the season,” said
Yale coach James Jones. “They have a lot of depth and Skip’s a great coach.”
Earlier on Monday, the Demon Deacons garnered 25 first-place votes and 1,658
points from the national media panel that makes up the poll.
The Demon Deacons were ranked second for 10 weeks in 1996-97, Tim Duncan’s
senior season, and two weeks this season. The 12 weeks overall at No. 2
were the third-most for a school never ranked No. 1. It is also the sixth ACC
school to be rated No. 1, joining Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State,
Virginia and Georgia Tech.