Previewing Wake Forest

NC State (10-4, 0-0) opens the ACC schedule tomorrow against rival Wake Forest (7-8, 0-0). Pack Pride takes a closer look at the Demon Deacons -- tip-off is set for 2:30 pm.

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    PROJECTED STARTERS
    G C.J. Harris (10.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg)
    G Gary Clark (11.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg)
    F Ari Stewart (11.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
    F Travis McKie (13.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg)
    C Ty Walker (4.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg)

    STAR WATCH
    Travis McKie - Freshman forward Travis McKie has come in and been arguably the most productive freshman in the ACC not named Kyrie Irving. He is second in scoring (13.6) and leads the Deacs in rebounding (7.9) while shooting 51% from the field.


    Wake Forest Game Notes

    Last Time Out
    Wake Forest used a 20-5 run midway through the second half and connected on 22-of-26 attempts from the free throw line to defeat High Point, 79-63, on Wednesday evening at the Joel Coliseum.

    The win snapped the Deacons' four-game skid and wrapped up the non-conference portion of their schedule.

    Along with shooting 84.6 percent from the free throw line, Wake Forest was also efficient from the field by shooting 49.1 percent (26-for-53). Many of the good looks for the Deacons were a result of a season-high 17 assists on the night.

    J.T. Terrell had a nice all-around game for Wake Forest, scoring a team-high 18 points while grabbing four rebounds and dishing out three assists. Terrell was 6-for-12 from the field and 4-for-5 from the charity stripe.

    Travis McKie scored 13 points, pulled down a team-high six rebounds and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

    Gary Clark and C.J. Harris also reached double figures with 11 points apiece. Both dished out four assists, while Harris added a season-high three steals.

    Carson Desrosiers had a productive night with a career-high five blocks to go along with eight points on 4-of-8 shooting.

    Nikita Mescheriakov put in 19 minutes off the bench to score six points and pull down a career-high five rebounds.

    After the Deacons took a 38-26 lead into halftime, High Point started off hot in the second period with a 10-2 run to cut the lead to four at 40-36.

    With Wake Forest holding a 53-47 advantage at the 12:17 mark, the Deacons then used a 20-5 run over the next seven minutes to push their lead to 21 at 73-52. McKie and Clark were the biggest contributors during the stretch with seven points apiece.

    Wake Forest in ACC Openers
    Wake Forest is 26-31 all-time in ACC openers. The Deacons have won three straight league openers, defeating Virginia Tech at home in 2007-08, No. 3-ranked North Carolina at home in 2008-09 and NC State at home in 2009-10.

    This marks the first time Wake has won three straight ACC openers since winning four straight from 1994-97.

    Wake Forest will open conference play on the road this season for the first time since falling at Virginia Tech to open conference play in 2006-07.

    The Deacons are 12-17 all-time in road ACC openers but have won two of their past three with wins in 2003-04 (at North Carolina) and in 2004-05 (at Virginia).

    The Deacons are 14-14 in home ACC openers. Wake has opened conference play at home for each of the three previous seasons and four of the previous five years.

    Wake Forest is 8-8 all-time against NC State in ACC openers. The last time the Deacons opened conference play at NC State came in 1996-97 when Wake earned a 53-45 win at Reynolds Coliseum.

    Terrell Excelling In Reserve Role
    J.T. Terrell started eight of the Deacons' first nine games of the season, but the freshman guard has excelled off the bench over the team's last six contests.

    Terrell has scored in double figures in all six games and is averaging 15.7 points during the stretch. He is shooting 42 percent (31-74) from the field, 44 percent (12-27) from 3-point range and 80 percent (20-25) from the free throw line during the six-game period.

    He has hit at least one 3-pointer in all six games and is averaging almost 26 minutes during the stretch. The Burlington, N.C. native has been Wake Forest's first player off the bench in five straight games.

    Terrell's bench performances include 27 points at Xavier and 18 against High Point. He leads a Deacon bench that is averaging 22.5 points per game as a unit.

    What's Up Next...
    Following the NC State game, Wake Forest will host Maryland on Wednesday, Jan. 12, at 8 p.m. The Terrapins are 10-4 and have won seven of their past nine games entering Sunday's game at Duke.

    Wake Forest has won two of its past three meetings with Maryland, including an 85-83 overtime win in Winston-Salem last season. The Deacons will play in College Park on Feb. 5.

    Following the Maryland game, the Deacons will travel to Blacksburg to face Virginia Tech on Saturday, Jan. 15, at 8 p.m. The Hokies are 9-4 and have won five straight since losing their ACC opener at home to Virginia on Dec. 5.

    The all-time series between Wake Forest and Virginia Tech is tied 26-26. The Hokies have won three straight in the series, including an 87-83 victory last season in Blacksburg.

    Walker 10th on School's Season Blocks List
    Junior center Ty Walker has moved into 10th place on Wake Forest's single-season blocked shots list. Walker has 53 blocks on the year, which puts him eight blocks behind Larry Harrison (1977) for ninth place.

    Walker's 53 blocks are already the most by a Deacon since Tim Duncan had 102 blocks in 1997. Duncan holds the school's single-season record with 135 blocks as a sophomore in 1995.

    The highest block total in Wake Forest history by a player not named Duncan is Harrison's 80 blocks in 1978.

    Walker already broke Duncan's single-game blocks record with 11 blocks against Marist on Nov. 23.

    Deacons Shuffle Starting Five
    Head coach Jeff Bzdelik has used seven different starting lineup combinations this season. He has used the seventh lineup in each of the past two games: C.J. Harris and Gary Clark at guards, Ari Stewart and Travis McKie at forwards and Carson Desrosiers at center.

    Bzdelik went small at Richmond, beginning the game with no player standing taller than 6-8. Harris and Clark started at the guard positions, while McKie, Nikita Mescheriakov and Stewart started at the three forward spots. Mescheriakov was the Deacons' tallest player on the court at 6-8.

    Harris and McKie are the only Deacons to have started all 15 games this season. Stewart has started 11 games, while Gary Clark and Ty Walker have started nine apiece. Clark has started six straight games after getting three starts in the Deacons' first nine contests of the year.

    McKie Earns 2nd ACC Rookie of the Week Award
    Wake Forest's Travis McKie was named the ACC Rookie of the Week after averaging 17.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in Wake Forest's two games last week.

    In Wake Forest's loss at Richmond last Wednesday, McKie led the Deacons with 19 points and seven rebounds. A Richmond native, McKie went 7-for-13 from the field and 4-for-4 at the free throw line in the return to his hometown.

    In Wake Forest's loss to Gonzaga on Sunday, McKie scored a team-high 16 points and also had three rebounds and a block. McKie did most of his damage at the free throw line, going 9-for-11. He scored the Deacons' final 13 points of the first half to pull Wake to within one, 36-35, at the break.

    This marks McKie's second ACC Rookie of the Week award this season. The 6-7 forward also earned the honor on Nov. 22 following his performances against Hampton, VCU and Elon.

    On the season, McKie leads the Deacons with 8.0 rebounds per game and is second on the team in scoring with 13.6 points per game. He leads all ACC freshmen in rebounding and double-doubles and is just one point behind teammate J.T. Terrell for the rookie lead in scoring.

    Wake Forest Owns ACC Rookie of the Week Award
    Wake Forest has dominated the ACC Rookie of the Week award over the past four seasons. Since 2007-08, the Deacons have earned the honor a league-high 17 times.

    That total easily out-distances Duke, who is second during that time frame with eight rookie awards. Georgia Tech, NC State and Virginia have earned the honor seven times apiece.

    Wake Forest is the only team in the ACC with multiple ACC Rookie of the Week awards in each of the past four seasons. The Deacons earned the honor five times in each 2008, 2009 and 2010.

    Six Deacons have combined to earn the 17 awards: James Johnson (1) and Jeff Teague (4) in 2008, Al-Farouq Aminu (5) in 2009, C.J. Harris (4) and Ari Stewart (1) in 2010 and McKie (2) in 2011.

    Deacons Getting Big Bench Contributions
    Despite limited depth, Wake Forest has been getting significant contributions out of its bench so far this season. The Deacons are averaging 22.5 points off the bench on the year.

    The Deacon bench has scored 20+ points in six of its past seven games and 10 times overall this season. At least one reserve has scored in double figures in seven straight games.

    Wake's reserves scored a season-high 45 points on Dec. 18 at Xavier. The total was buoyed by J.T. Terrell's 27 points, which stands as the most points scored off the bench by an ACC player in 2010-11 and the ninth-most in ACC history.

    Gary Clark has three of the top 10 bench-scoring performances in the ACC this season, including 23 vs. Winthrop, 20 vs. UNC Wilmington and 17 vs. Elon.

    Terrell leads Wake with 14.3 points per in seven games off the bench, while Clark has averaged 13.3 points in six games.


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