Deacs Crush Yale 99-72

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest celebrated its first appearance at No. 1 with an easy victory.

Chris Paul, Eric Williams and Kyle Visser each scored 15 points to lead the Demon Deacons past Yale 99-72 Monday night.

Chris Ellis added 14 points for Wake Forest (3-0), which had five players in double figures. The Demon Deacons had little trouble on offense in the first half and maintained a comfortable lead throughout against the Bulldogs (1-2).

Just hours earlier, the Demon Deacons climbed into the top spot of The Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in school history. They jumped past Kansas from No. 2 after the Jayhawks trailed much of the way in their season-opening 68-61 win against Vermont.

The Demon Deacons opened the season with double-digit wins against George Washington and Virginia Commonwealth in the Preseason NIT, advancing to Wednesday's semifinals against Providence. They had been ranked No. 2 for 12 weeks - 10 coming in Tim Duncan's senior season of 1996-97 - which was the third-most for a school that had never reached the top spot.

Their debut at No. 1 was marked by a solid offensive first half that helped them to a 17-point lead at the break. Nine players scored in the first 14 minutes, with the Demon Deacons scoring 58 points and shooting 48 percent from the floor.

They did it from everywhere on the court. Paul and Justin Gray combined to hit six 3-pointers. Trent Strickland completed two three-point plays late in the half, including a hanging reverse layup off an offensive rebound.

The Demon Deacons also made their free throws, something they had trouble doing in their first two games. After missing 25 foul shots in two games, they went 16-for-18 in the first half and 23-of-30 for the game.

Though Yale pulled within 12 early in the second half, the Demon Deacons were never in danger of losing a November game for just the second time in five seasons. They had 12 dunks - four by Williams and two by seldom-used reserve Richard Joyce - and shot 50 percent for the third straight game.

They also scored 44 points in the paint and had a 47-30 edge on the glass.

The biggest danger they faced all night was when coach Skip Prosser nearly slipped walking out of the locker room before the game.

Wake Forest got a boost from Ellis, a junior who missed the opener and much of the second game after he was suspended for violating team rules. The 6-foot-9 forward, the son of former NBA player Dale Ellis, even hit two 3-pointers - the first of his career - in the final four minutes.

Casey Hughes had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Yale, and Edwin Draughan added 19 points.

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