Gray paces Wake past UNC Asheville
Winston-Salem, NC (Sports Network) – Justin Gray scored 16 points and shot
4-of-9 from three-point range, and 24th-ranked Wake Forest overcame a sluggish
start to cruise to a 79-63 victory over UNC-Asheville at Lawrence Joel
Trent Strickland added 14 points and Eric Williams had 12 on 5-of-7 shooting
along with nine rebounds for the Demon Deacons (4-1), who won their second
straight following Thursday’s 77-72 defeat to Florida in the Coaches vs.
Cancer Classic semifinals.
The Bulldogs (0-2), who opened their season with an 80-52 defeat at Georgia
Tech on Friday, received a game-high 17 points from Joe Barber. Oliver Holmes
finished with 11 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
The undermanned Bulldogs hung tough with Wake through much of the first half
and took a 19-18 lead on Brett Warner’s three-pointer just past the midway
point of the opening half.
The Demon Deacons began to assert control late in the half, as a 6-2 run
capped by Kyle Visser’s layup with five minutes left accounted for a 30-25
lead. Up 33-29 with under three minutes remaining before the break, Williams
hit a jumper and Harvey Hale made 3-of-4 foul shots to give Wake a nine-point
bulge at intermission.
Barber netted the first four points of the second half to bring UNC Asheville
within 38-33, but the Deacons responded with a 7-0 burst. A Gray three-pointer
followed by Strickland’s second-chance dunk extended the lead to 12 with 16
minutes to play.
The Bulldogs would make another surge and cut their deficit to 50-44 on a
three-point play by Holmes with 12:45 remaining. However, Wake Forest
outscored the Bulldogs, 20-4, over the next 6 1/2 minutes to pull away.
Michael Drum scored eight points during the deciding run and Gray buried a
pair of key shots from long distance, including one which put the Deacons up
67-47 with under seven minutes to go. Drum was fouled after making a layup a
minute later, and hit the ensuing bonus attempt for a commanding 70-48 lead.
Visser ended with 13 points and seven rebounds for Wake Forest…The Bulldogs
shot just 37 percent for the game and 29 percent (9-of-31) in the second
half…UNC-Asheville fell to 0-43 all-time against Atlantic Coast Conference
teams. They will also play at North Carolina State and North Carolina in
December…This was the first-ever meeting between the schools.