Deacons Return Home To Face Yellow Jackets Tuesday

Game #14

#4/3 Wake Forest Deacons (11-2/2-1) vs. #12/14 Georgia Tech (14-2/2-1)

Tuesday, Jan. 20 / 9:00 p.m. / Lawrence Joel Coliseum (14,665) / Winston-Salem, NC / Raycom/JP

Tip-Off: 9:00 p.m.

Television: Raycom/Jefferson-Pilot Sports.

Radio: Deacon Radio Network (ISP). Stan Cotten (play-by-play) and Mark Freidinger (color analysis) call the action.

Records: Wake Forest is 11-2 overall and 2-1 in the ACC after losing at second-ranked Duke, 84-72, Saturday afternoon. Georgia Tech is 14-2 and 2-1 after beating visiting Maryland, 81-71, Saturday night.

Rankings: Wake Forest is ranked 4th in the Associated Press poll and 3rd in the ESPN/USA Today poll. Georgia Tech is is ranked 12th in the AP poll, 14th in the Coaches poll.

Coaches: Wake Forest head coach Skip Prosser (U.S. Merchant Marine Academy '72) is 57-21 in three seasons with the Deacons, 222-99 in 11 seasons overall. Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt (St. John Fisher '85) is 62-46 in five seasons with the Yellow Jackets, 128-73 in eight seasons overall.

SID Contacts: Wake Forest assistant athletic director/media relations Dean Buchan; Georgia Tech Basketball SID Mike Stamus.

Websites: Wake Forest -- WakeForestSports.com; Georgia Tech -- Ramblinwreck.com.

The Series: Wake Forest leads, 29-25. Officials: Announced on game day.

On Deck: Wake Forest travels to Florida State on Sunday. Georgia Tech plays at NC State Saturday.

Deacons Return Home To Face Jackets

Wake Forest, coming off back-to-back road losses to nationally-ranked teams, plays its third straight ranked foe -- 12th-ranked Georgia Tech -- late Tuesday night at Lawrence Joel Coliseum (9 p.m./Jefferson-Pilot Sports).

The Demon Deacons, 11-2 overall and 2-1 in the ACC, lost at 18th-ranked Texas (94-81) last Tuesday and at then-No. 2 Duke (84-72) Saturday. Sophomore guard Justin Gray scored 45 points and made 12 three-point field goals in those two games combined.

Georgia Tech, 14-2 and 2-1, owns a two-game winning streak after beating visiting Virginia (75-57) on Thursday and Maryland (81-71) Saturday night.

The winner of Tuesday's game will move into a tie with NC State for second place in the ACC standings.

Wake Forest leads the all-time series, 29-25.

Noteworthy

- Wake Forest has a home court winning streak of 24 games and a win Tuesday night would tie the school record for consecutive home court victories. The last time Wake lost a home game was on Feb. 21, 2002 vs. Duke.

- The Deacons will try to avoid losing three straight games for the first time since Feb. 21-27, 2002.

- Remarkably, Tuesday's game will mark the first Wake-Tech meeting when both teams were nationally-ranked since the 1996 ACC Tournament title game.

- Wake Forest, 1-2 against ranked teams this season, will play a ranked team at home for the first time this season.

- The Deacons, who have won the last three meetings with the Yellow Jackets, have not won four straight in the Tech series since 1981 to 1983.

More From Saturday's Game At Duke

Wake Forest ran into a hot-shooting Duke team Saturday and came away with an 84-72 loss in Durham. More on the loss to the Blue Devils:

- Wake Forest shot a season-low 35.3 percent but managed to shoot a season-high 53.8 percent from three-point range.

- The Deacons tied season lows for field goals (24), three-point attempts (13) and assists (12).

- Junior Jamaal Levy had his second double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds, including eight offensive boards.

- Junior Vytas Danelius, recovering from a high ankle sprain, saw his most extensive action (19 minutes) in more than a month.

- Duke's 12 blocked shots were the most by a Wake Forest opponent since 2000.

Deacons Hope Injury Bug Is Behind Them

Wake Forest head trainer, assistant athletic director Greg Collins, has been one of the most active people on the Deacon staff this season as Wake has suffered more than its share of injuries.

Four different Deacons have missed a combined 14 games. Junior Vytas Danelius (high ankle sprain) missed five straight games before returning to action Jan. 13 at Texas. Sophomore Chris Ellis is back in the fold after breaking a bone in his foot on the first day of practice. Two other Deacons missed games earlier this season, including freshman Kyle Visser (ankle), who did not play against Indiana on Dec. 2.

Deacons Up To 4th/3rd In National Polls

Wake Forest owns its highest national ranking in three years after inching up to fourth in the Associated Press poll (up from fifth) and to third in the ESPN/USA Today poll (up from fourth). More on Wake in the polls:

- The Deacons have their highest AP ranking since being ranked 4th on Jan. 1, 2001. - Historically, Wake Forest has been ranked as high as No. 2 (10 times), but has never been ranked No. 1.

- There are three ACC teams in the AP top 10 -- (2) Duke, (4) Wake Forest and (9) North Carolina. Georgia Tech is ranked 12th.

- Wake Forest has been ranked in the AP top ten 75 times in its history and 14 times since the Tim Duncan era ended in 1996-97.

- The Deacs have been ranked in the top five of the AP poll 28 times in their history.

- The Deacons have been ranked in the AP poll for 23 consecutive weeks dating back to last season. Duke is the only ACC team with a longer current streak.

- Wake has been ranked in the AP poll 37 times in 44 weeks under Skip Prosser.

- In other polls, Wake Forest is ranked 3rd by Blue Ribbon Yearbook, 4th by CBS Sportsline, 9th in the Sagarin Ratings and 24th at CollegeRPI.com.

Deacons To Face Fourth Ranked Foe

- Wake Forest will play its fourth nationally-ranked opponent Tuesday against 12th-ranked Georgia Tech. Wake's first three games against ranked teams were all on the road. The Deacons went 1-2 in those games.

- The Deacons have won their last two home games against ranked teams -- wins over No. 8 Duke and No. 17 Maryland last season. Wake's last home loss against a ranked team was also its last home court loss -- Feb. 21, 2002 against third-ranked Duke.

- Tuesday's game will mark the first between the Deacons and Yellow Jackets when both teams are ranked in the top 25 since No. 12 Wake Forest beat No. 18 Georgia Tech in the championship game of the 1996 ACC Tournament.

Tough Stretch? That's An Understatement

The most difficult stretch in the Wake Forest schedule to date continues Tuesday against nationally-ranked Georgia Tech:

- Wake Forest will play its third consecutive nationally-ranked opponent Tuesday. The Deacons have played three straight ranked teams several times previously, including once last season and twice in 2001-02.

- This marks the fourth time in three seasons that Wake has played three straight ranked teams. Prior to Skip Prosser's arrival at Wake, the Deacons did not have to face three straight ranked foes from 1995 to 2001.

- Using this week's AP poll as a guide, Wake Forest's remaining regular season schedule is surely one of the nation's most difficult. Five Wake opponents -- (2) Duke, (9) North Carolina, (10) Cincinnati, (12) Georgia Tech and past opponent, (18) Texas -- are ranked in the AP poll. Four other Deacon opponents -- Maryland, Memphis, Florida State and NC State -- are receiving votes for one or both national polls.

- Eleven of the Deacons' final 14 regular season games come against teams either ranked or receiving votes for one or both polls.

Deacs Have Eye On Home Court Streak

Wake Forest has not lost a home game since Feb. 21, 2002 -- a streak of 24 consecutive wins. The Deacons won their final home game in 2001-02, went 16-0 at home last season and are 7-0 in Lawrence Joel Coliseum this year. The 24-game streak ties for the fourth-longest current streak in Division I.

The Wake Forest school record for consecutive home court wins is 25 from 1995-97. That 25-game streak by the Deacons ties for the eighth-longest in ACC history. Wake Forest will get a chance to tie the record Tuesday against 12th-ranked Georgia Tech.

Deacs One Of Nation's Youngest Teams

Wake Forest may have lost just one starter from last year's 25-6 team, but youth still rules the Deacons.

- There are no scholarship seniors on the Wake roster and the Deacs have just three juniors. Nine of 12 scholarship players are either freshmen or sophomores.

- Wake Forest is one of just six schools in Division I with no scholarship seniors.

- Wake is the only ACC team with no scholarship seniors on the roster.

- The oldest players on the team are 22-year olds Vytas Danelius and Taron Downey.

- Wake Forest will likely not start a senior this season. The last time the Deacons did not start a senior all season came in 1987-88.

Deacon-Yellow Jacket Series History

- Wake Forest leads the all-time series, 29-25.

- The Deacons have won the last three meetings, five out of the last six and eight out of the last 10.

- Wake has won the last five meetings in Winston-Salem and holds an 11-3 series advantage in Lawrence Joel Coliseum. Tech last won in Joel Coliseum in 1998.

- The Demon Deacons have won all three meetings with Georgia Tech in the ACC Tournament.

- The two teams first met in the 1949-50 season, long before Georgia Tech joined the ACC.

- The Wake-Tech series (29-25) is the fourth-closest series in the ACC. Georgia Tech (51 wins) vs. Clemson (50) is the closest series currently.

- Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser is 4-1 all-time against Tech, with all five meetings coming while coaching the Deacons.

- Yellow Jacket coach Paul Hewitt is 2-5 all-time against Wake Forest.

Wake Forest-Georgia Tech Connections

- Deac sophomore Chris Ellis grew up in Marietta, GA. - Ellis and fellow Deacon sophomore Trent Strickland were both born in Atlanta.

- Both teams have two foreign players on its roster: Wake Forest's Jamaal Levy (Panama) and Vytas Danelius (Lithuania) and Tech's Jim Nystrom (Sweden) and Luke Schenscher (South Australia).

- Former Deac Josh Howard and former Jacket Travis Best are teammates on the Dallas Mavericks.

- Ed Ellis and Matt Sinclair of Georgia Tech's strength and conditioning staff, previously worked in similar capacities at Wake Forest.

- Yellow Jacket assistant women's basketball coach Kyle Snipes previously worked as director of basketball operations in the Wake Forest men's basketball office.

Deacs Rank High In National Statistics

Through games of Jan. 17, Wake Forest ranks among the nation's leaders in four different statistical categories:

Scoring Offense

- Despite being held to under their average in five straight games, the Deacons rank fourth in the nation in scoring offense (86.5 ppg.) behind North Carolina, Texas and Arizona.

- Wake already has two 100-point games this season. In Skip Prosser's three years with the Deacons, Wake has scored 100-plus points six times. Before his arrival, the Deacons reached the century mark just five times in the previous 13 seasons.

- Wake's scoring average is the second-highest in school history and the highest in more than 25 years.

- Wake Forest ranks 12th in the nation in scoring margin (+15.6).

Steals

- Wake Forest leads the ACC and ranks fourth in the nation in steals per game (11.8).

- The 11.8 steals per game would shatter the school record of 10.5 steals per game set in 1977-78.

Winning Percentage

- The Deacons rank 23rd nationally in winning percentage.

Assists

- Wake Forest no longer ranks among the national leaders in assists, but the Deacons' assist average (17.2 apg.) would be the second-highest in school history.

Turnover Margin

- Wake Forest leads the ACC in turnover margin (+6.92).

Better With Time

Wake Forest has improved its winning percentage each of the last five decades. In the 1960s, the Deacons won just 50.7 percent of their games. That percentage increased to .535 in the 1970s, .537 in the 1980s, up to .666 in the 1990s and is at .704 this decade.

In the 1980s Wake won just 34.3 percent of its ACC games, compared to 56.9 percent in the 1990s and 62.7 percent this decade.

Thinner "Big E" Tries To Get Back On Track

Sophomore center Eric Williams weighs about the same as he did last year (275 pounds), but he has gotten stronger and lowered his body fat. The Wake Forest (NC) native has also re-shaped his game.

Last season as a freshman, "Big E" battled more than just a weight problem. He was foul-prone and inconsistent. This year he is establishing himself as one of the premier players in the ACC. More:

- Williams scored in double figures in the first 11 games of the season, but scored just 10 points in two Deacon losses last week while going 4-of-15 from the field.

- The 6-9, 275-pound Williams has improved his scoring average from 8.7 ppg. last season to 15.3 ppg. this season.

- He ranks first in the ACC in field goal percentage (.556).

- Williams ranks 13th in the ACC in rebounds per game (5.8) and he ranks sixth in the ACC in offensive rebounds per game (3.0).

- The big guy even ranks 10th in the ACC in free throw percentage (.722).

- Williams has started all 44 games of his career.

- He was named ACC Player of the Week Dec. 22.

- He was instrumental in Wake's triple-overtime win at 4th-ranked North Carolina. He hit what proved to be the game-winner in the third overtime and scored 24 points against the Tar Heels.

Gray Holding The Hot Deacon Hand

Guard Justin Gray, a star on the rise in the ACC, wears No. 1 but is becoming known for the three.

- Gray made a career-high eight three-point field goals Jan. 13 at Texas en route to a career-best 27 points.

- He followed that effort with four three-pointers and 18 points in the Jan. 17 loss at Duke.

- His eight three-pointers at Texas were the most by an ACC player this season and tied for the 11th-most in ACC history.

- His 18 three-point attempts at Texas broke a Wake Forest single-game record and tie for the third-most in ACC history.

- Gray has made at least one three-point field goal in 24 out of his last 25 games.

- With 38 three-point field goals in 13 games this season, Gray ranks second in the ACC behind only to Florida State's Tim Pickett for three-pointers per game.

- Gray ranks 10th in the ACC in scoring (14.7), second in three-point field goals per game (2.92), seventh in three-point percentage (.373), ninth in assists (3.46) and 11th in assist-turnover ratio.

- He is shooting 86.2 percent from the free throw line, but has gone to the line only 29 times.

Downey Climbs In Record Books

Junior guard Taron Downey, at his current pace, will have his name in the Wake Forest record books.

- Downey's career free throw percentage (.844) is the fourth-highest in Wake Forest history. He is shooting 86.1 percent from the stripe this season, which would rank second in the ACC if had enough attempts to qualify.

- He is two three-point field goals away from becoming the 11th player in school history to make 100 career three-pointers.

- With 233 career assists, Downey will become the eighth player at Wake to record 300 career assists.

- He scored his 600th career point Jan. 17 at Duke.

- This season, he ranks fifth in the ACC in assist-turnover ratio, 11th in assists per game, 11th in three-point field goals and 11th in three-point percentage.

1,300 In Sight

With 1,294 all-time victories, Wake Forest is six wins shy of reaching the 1,300-win milestone. The Deacons are 1,294-992 all-time.

"Mayor" One Of The Nation's Top Rookies

Chris Paul has established himself as one of the nation's top freshmen and one of the top point guards in a conference loaded with talented players at that position. Consider:

- Paul ranks second in the nation in steals per game (3.92).

- He leads all ACC freshmen and ranks fourth in the ACC in assists per game (5.92).

- He leads all ACC freshmen and ranks third in the ACC in assist-turnover ratio (2.69).

- Paul has 77 assists and just 28 turnovers in a team-high 419 minutes of action. That equates to just one turnover every 14.96 minutes.

- Paul has been named ACC Rookie of the Week four times (Dec. 8, Dec. 22, Jan. 5 and Jan. 12).

- His six steals at SMU Dec. 15 tied a Wake Forest freshman record held by Rodney Rogers.

- Paul is three steals away from breaking the Wake Forest freshman record of 53 held by Rodney Rogers.

- His free throw percentage (.825) is the second-highest ever by a Deacon freshman, ranks third overall in the ACC and he goes to the line more often than any Deacon.

- He already ranks fourth in Wake Forest freshman history for assists.

- His nine assists at SMU were one short of tying a Wake Forest freshman single-game record. - Paul has at least two steals in every game but one.

- He has started every game and leads the team in minutes played (32.2 mpg.).

- The shortest player on the roster, Paul (6-0) has seven blocked shots.

- Paul (12.4 points per game) ranks second among ACC freshmen in scoring.

- He is attempting to be the first freshman to lead the ACC in steals since NC State's Chris Corchiani in 1988.

- He is attempting to become the first Deacon player, regardless of class, to lead the ACC in steals since Tyrone Bogues did it three straight years from 1985-87.

NCAA Steals Leaders Marques Green St. Bonaventure 4.1 Chris Paul Wake Forest 3.9 Jameer Nelson St. Joseph's 3.7 Obie Trotter Alabama A&M 3.6 Chakowby Hicks Norfolk State 3.4 Louis Ford Howard 3.4 Through Jan. 17

Levy Defies His Lanky Frame

At 6-9 and just 180 pounds, Jamaal Levy is a good example of one of Skip Prosser's favorite sayings: "It's now how big you are, it's how big you play."

Levy uses his thin frame and quickness to his advantage to become one of the ACC's best rebounders:

- Levy leads the team and ranks third in the ACC in rebounding (8.3 rpg.).

- He ranks third in the ACC in offensive rebounds per game (3.46).

- Levy is shooting 57.0 percent from the field. - He leads the team and ranks 12th in the ACC in blocked shots (1.00).

- Levy leads the team in double-doubles (2).

- ESPN's Jay Bilas recently labeled Levy the ACC's most underrated player.

Strickland Makes Most Of Start

Sophomore Trent Strickland is leading the largest and most talented group of reserves that Wake Forest has had in years.

Strickland got his first career start Jan. 13 at Texas when Taron Downey left his jersey in the locker room. He responded with a career-high 22 points (previous high was 15 points). He also had career highs for free throws (7) and attempts (8) and tied a career-best with seven rebounds.

Strickland (8.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game), who also started at Duke Jan. 17, is playing his best basketball. He has scored in double figures in five of his last seven games.

Strickland has nearly doubled his scoring average from last season (from 4.3 to 8.5 points per game). He has made more three-point field goals this season (8) than he did all of last season (7). He credits that to the 500 to 1,000 shots he puts up almost every night, alone in Wake's practice facility.

Three Midgets Quite A Trio

Wake Forest uses a three-guard lineup of 6-0 freshman Chris Paul, 6-2 sophomore Justin Gray and 6-2 junior Taron Downey. While the Deacon lineup may be short, it is extremely quick.

What makes Wake's three-guard lineup somewhat unique is that all three players can play point guard. Paul is the player at the point when he's in the lineup, but Downey played point guard his first two seasons and Gray also handles the ball well enough to play the position. All three players rank among the top 11 in the ACC in assist-turnover ratio.

Combined Statistics Of Paul, Gray and Downey Points Per Game 37.6 Three-Pointers Per Game 5.5 Assists Per Game 12.5 Turnovers Per Game 5.9 Steals Per Game 7.0 Rebounds Per Game 9.0 Minutes Per Game 89.9

Lost Jersey = Lineup Change

Junior Taron Downey was supposed to start at Texas Jan. 13. In fact, he was introduced as a starter. But when the two teams came out for the opening tip, Downey realized his jersey was still in the locker room.

Instead of holding up the game, not to mention a national television audience (ESPN2), sophomore Trent Strickland made his first career start.

Wake Forest has used four different starting lineups this season. The Deacons used three lineups all of last season. Seven different Deacons have started at least one game.

Props To Skip

Did you know this about Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser?

- His winning percentage in ACC league games (.686/24-11) is the highest ever by a coach in his first three seasons in the conference. Vic Bubas (Duke) and Bill Guthridge (UNC) are second at .667.

- Prosser's overall winning percentage at Wake Forest (.731/57-21) gives him the fifth-highest percentage in the 51-year history of the ACC. Only Dean Smith (.776), Mike Krzyzewski (.771), Bubas (.761) and Guthridge (.741) have/had higher winning percentages than Prosser.

- Wake Forest's three-year record under Prosser (57-21) is the best three-year record at the school since 1995-97 (Tim Duncan's final three seasons).

- ABC/ESPN's Dick Vitale recently called Prosser the second-leading early candidate for National Coach of the Year honors.

Deacons Are Balanced Bunch

The Deacons are sharing the spotlight this season:

- Five different Deacons average at least 10.5 points per game and seven players are contributing at least 6.6 points per contest.

- Eight different players have scored in double figures at least twice and five different Deacs have scored 20 or more points in a game.

- Ten different Deacons have made at least one three-point field goal.

- Eleven different Wake Forest players are averaging at least eight minutes of action per game.

This Year Vs. Last Year

Wake Forest went 25-6 last year and captured the ACC regular season title. Along the way, senior Josh Howard was the unanimous ACC Player of the Year.

So, how does this year's team -- minus Howard -- compare to last year?

Last year's team led the nation in rebounding while this year's team owns just a +1.3 rebound margin. This year's team, however, takes better care of the basketball. The Deacons lead the ACC in turnover margin, while last year's club ranked eighth in the ACC. This year's team is also scoring at a higher rate, ranking fourth in the nation in scoring offense.

Category Last Season This Season W-L Thru 13 Games 12-1 11-2 Scoring 77.8 86.5 Scoring Margin +10.0 +15.7 Rebound Margin +9.7 +1.3 FG Percentage 45.3 47.3 3PT Percentage 34.1 35.5 FT Percentage 75.2 70.9 Turnover Margin - 1.1 +6.9 FG% Defense 39.7 41.4

WFU Retiring Howard's Jersey Jan. 29

Wake Forest will retire the jersey of former consensus All-American Josh Howard during a ceremony at the Jan. 29 game against Maryland.

Howard, currently a rookie with the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, has confirmed that he will attend the ceremony at Lawrence Joel Coliseum.

In 2003, Howard enjoyed a remarkable season. He was the first unanimous selection for ACC Player of the Year since NC State's David Thompson in 1975. Howard, a consensus first team All-American last season, is one of five players in the history of the ACC to record 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists, 200 steals and 100 blocked shots. He led Wake Forest to a 25-6 record in 2003 and the Deacons won the ACC regular season title for the first time in more than 40 years.

"I am thrilled for Josh and his family," Prosser said. "This is a wonderful tribute and especially noteworthy as Josh is from Winston-Salem. For Josh to accomplish all of the terrific things he did on the basketball court as well as to earn his diploma is an honor not only for Josh but for Wake Forest University. His leadership and example of courage in his senior season, as he led his teammates to the ACC regular season championship, should always be remembered by those who love Deacon basketball."

Howard's jersey will be the 10th to be retired at Wake Forest and the first since Tim Duncan in 1997. Other Deacons to have their jerseys retired: Tyrone Bogues, Skip Brown, Len Chappell, Randolph Childress, Charlie Davis, Rod Griffin, Dickie Hemric and Rodney Rogers.

The jersey retirement ceremony will take place at halftime of the Jan. 29 Wake Forest-Maryland game, scheduled for 7 p.m. on ESPN2.

Sold Out

Tickets for the North Carolina (Feb. 7), Cincinnati (Feb. 15) and Duke (Feb. 18) games are sold out.

Atlanta Will Carry Deac Radio Broadcasts

The Zone (790 AM) in Atlanta will be airing the following schedule of Wake Forest basketball games:

Jan. 25 -- Wake Forest at Florida State Jan. 29 -- Wake Forest vs. Maryland Feb. 4 -- Wake Forest at NC State Feb. 12 -- Wake Forest at Clemson Feb. 15 -- Wake Forest vs. Cincinnati Feb. 18 -- Wake Forest vs. Duke March 2 -- Wake Forest at Virginia

Wake Signs One In Early Signing Period

Cameron Stanley, a 6-7 senior at Raleigh Millbrook High School, signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball at Wake Forest, Demon Deacon head coach Skip Prosser confirmed November 19.

Stanley averaged 21.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game as a junior in 2002-03 while leading Millbrook to a 26-5 record. He was a finalist for North Carolina's Mr. Basketball, he earned a spot on the all-conference team and he emerged as one of the nation's top prospects at the ABCD camp in Teaneck, N.J.. Stanley was also invited to USA Basketball's Youth Development Festival in Colorado Springs, Colo. As a sophomore, Stanley averaged 19.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.

The current Wake Forest roster includes no scholarship seniors. Assuming the roster remains intact, Stanley will be one of nine North Carolina natives on the 2004-05 Deacon roster.

Downey Made Remarkable Recovery To Lead Deacons To Season-Opening Win

Junior guard Taron Downey was expected to play sparingly -- if at all -- in Wake Forest's season opener Nov. 13 against Memphis in Madison Square Garden.

After all, just eight days earlier, Gray had an emergency appendectomy. He took part in just one practice and avoided all contact drills prior to the team's departure to New York. Freshman Chris Paul started in Downey's spot at point guard.

When sophomore guard Justin Gray got into foul trouble, Downey was inserted into the game. Coach Skip Prosser continually consulted with Downey on his condition and the junior ended up playing 29 minutes.

Downey scored a career-high 20 points, made 4-of-7 three-point field goals and he added five assists, five rebounds and a blocked shot. For his efforts, he was named Coaches vs. Classic game MVP.

A chronological look at Downey's week:

Nov. 4 -- Downey began feeling poorly and had difficulty sleeping.

Nov. 5 -- After consulting with head trainer Greg Collins, Downey's blood was tested. Later that night, an appendectomy was performed.

Nov. 6 -- Downey was released from the hospital.

Nov. 10 -- Downey dressed out for practice but limited only to shooting.

Nov. 11 -- Downey went through a full practice, although avoiding contact drills.

Nov. 12 -- Team takes a turbulent flight to New York.

Nov. 13 -- Downey comes off the bench to play 29 minutes, score a career-high 20 points, make four three-point field goals, dish out five assists, grab five rebounds and block one shot.

Miscellaneous

- The Wake Forest-Texas game on Jan. 13 drew the largest crowd (16,837) in the history of UT's Erwin Center.

- Apparently, the basket is bigger in Texas -- at least for sophomore Justin Gray. In two games this season in the Lone Star State (vs. SMU and Texas), Gray made 14 three-point field goals (6 vs. SMU, 8 vs. Texas).

- Sophomore Trent Strickland is wearing jersey No. 33 this year after wearing No. 34 last season.

- Several members of the Deacon basketball team took part in Santa's Helpers Dec. 12-13. Some 60 Deacon student-athletes from all sports helped purchase gifts for area needy families. They wrapped the gifts and delivered them personally to the families. Wake's Chris Paul dressed as Santa Claus.

- Wake Forest has played against the sons of some pretty famous dads this season -- North Carolina's Sean May (Scott May), Indiana's Patrick Ewing, Jr., and Yale's John Shumate. Last season the Deacons played SC State's Moses Malone, Jr. Of course, Wake's own Chris Ellis is the son of Dale Ellis.

- Four former Deacons -- Tim Duncan (San Antonio), Rodney Rogers (New Jersey), Josh Howard (Dallas) and Darius Songaila (Sacramento) -- are on NBA rosters.

- Deacon head coach Skip Prosser has never lost a season opener in 11 years of coaching.

- Wake Forest has won 15 consecutive home openers, including a 97-55 win over Elon on Nov. 22.

- Wake Forest is 26-23 all-time against the three teams that will soon join the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Deacons are 24-20 all-time against Virginia Tech and last played the Hokies in 1999. Wake is 2-0 versus Miami with the last meeting in 1991. The Deacs are 0-3 all-time against Boston College with the last meeting coming in 1986.


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