Wake Pounds the Tigers Again

The strength of two consecutive ACC victories meant nothing Saturday afternoon in Winston-Salem as the Wake Forest Demon Deacons demonstrated why they were an impressive 8-0 at home. Behind a suffocating defense, some strong offensive rebounding, and timely shooting the Deacs jumped out to an early lead, and held on to rout Clemson 96-55.

The last contest between these two teams saw the Demon Deacons get out to a 40-9 lead in what ended up being a massacre at Littlejohn Coliseum last February.

Saturday's result wasn't much different as Wake Forest bolted out to a 27 point first half lead, courtesy of a 17-0 run midway through the first half.

The Deacons used their size, strength, and experience to their advantage as Clemson was simply helpless on the perimeter and in the paint.

Jamar McKnight would score 10 points through the first 5-minutes of the game to keep the Tigers close before Wake Forest started their big run.

Chris Hobbs picked up two quick fouls on the defensive end prompting Larry Shyatt to send in Thomas Nagys with about 18:00 minutes remaining in the first half. The result was to be expected as Wake Forest would take full advantage of the Tigers' missing their main man in the paint.

Wake would use the lethal inside-outside combination of Craig Dawson and Darius Songailia to ignite a 17-0 run midway through the first half. During the run, the Deacons would nail 4 out of 8 3-point attempts while the Tigers would go 0-of-5 from the free throw line.

McKnight would cool down, and turnovers, blocked shots and miss opportunities resulted in Wake jumping out to a 33-14 lead. And they weren't finished there.

Clemson would continue to struggle on the perimeter as the Deacon's size seemed to aggrivate the Tigers' offensive sets. Wake Forest would go on to hold a 53-27 lead at the half.

"At halftime, you are in a 26-point deficit, you are concerned and you are trying to focus on defensive aggressiveness. But theres a part of you that wants to get the thing over with. They just played extremely well on defense," said Clemson Head Coach Larry Shyatt.

The second half started out just as the first half ended. Wake Forest would increase the lead up to 31 points as they nailed their first 2 3-point attempts.

Chris Hobbs would foul out with just over 11 minutes remaining, registering only 4 points in 9 minutes of play. Clearly, his loss hurt the Tigers just as much as the Deacons tight man-to-man defense.

Clemson would get no closer than 26 points in the 2nd half as the Deacons crusied to their 11th victory.

Wake Forest was led in scoring by Antwuan Scott with 17 points, 11 in the first half.

With the loss, Clemson falls to 11-6 on the year and 2-2 in Atlantic Coast Conference action. The Tigers next game will be against N.C. State this Tuesday at Littlejohn Coliseum.

"We know this, a one point loss and a 41-point loss means very little difference in the record. We have to make sure that we have the ability to bounce back. This team has not ever been beaten twice in a row," Shyatt said.

"We plan on heating it up, we plan on dropping some shots, and we plan on playing well in our home Tuesday night. Hopefully this will be learning experience."

Other Notes:
Clemson would make only 1 of 6 free throw attempts in the first half and 4-of-18 (22%) for the entire game.

Sharrod Ford provided some help off the bench in the 2nd half, as he scored 11 points on several slashing drives and a couple of athletic dunks and brought in 7 rebounds.

The Tigers have not won in Winston-Salem since 1990.

Jamar McKnight led the Tigers in scoring with 13 points and 4 rebounds. The only other Clemson player in double figures was Sharrod Ford.

Starting guards Tony Stockman and Ed Scott combined to shoot only 2-17 from the field.

Clemson opened up the game in a box-and-one defense with Stockman shadowing Wake sharp shooter Craig Dawson. The Tigers would then fall back into their man-to-man defense for the remaining of the game.

And finally, a trip up to Winston-Salem reminds us once again that Wake Forest clearly has one of the weakest fight songs in the conference.

Team Stats Wake Forest Clemson
POINTS 96 55
FIELD GOALS 35 - 73 (47.9%) 24 - 74 (31.9%)
3-POINT FGs 9 - 20 (45.0%) 3 - 12 (25.0%)
FREE THROWS 17 - 26 (65.4%) 4 - 18 (22.2%)
REBOUNDS (Off-Def) 56 (19 - 37) 47 (23 - 24)

Larry Shyatt Quotes:
"Theres alot ot be said, but unfortunatley its all for Wake Forest. A very poor shooting game for us all around. I think we had something like 8 assists and 21 turnovers, and off those turnovers they got a bunch of points." "A very big key of the game was between Songalia and Hobbs. But in a 40-point game its hard to say that Hobbs fouling out was a pivotal moment. I liked what we did for the first 4 or 5 minutes. We held the lead for the first part of the game."

"This was a very weak defensive perofrmance individually. I think when you have a tendancy that when you get down ,and get down on the road, you have chance to have something with not too pretty, and that was the result today."

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