No. 6 Wake Forest Holds Off Elon

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser sent starting forward Vytas Danelius to the locker room with 16 minutes left in the game, angered at some undisclosed transgression.

Chris Paul had 14 points and a career-high 11 assists and Kyle Visser added 13 points, helping No. 6 Wake Forest hold off Elon 85-67 on Wednesday night.

"Rather than talk about what we didn't do, Elon deserves credit," Prosser said. "I thought the Elon kids played really, really played hard. I thought they took it to us the whole game."

He declined to say what Danelius did to deserve his banishment from the bench, and Danelius didn't seem to know. He admittedly was frustrated with his play, even though he made all four of his shots and finished with nine points in 14 minutes.

"It was Coach's decision," he said. "I didn't conduct myself as a Wake Forest basketball player."

When asked if Danelius' status for Saturday's game against No. 14 Texas was affected, Prosser said he didn't know.

As if all that wasn't bad enough for Wake Forest, forwards Eric Williams and Jamaal Levy left the game with injuries, although neither appeared to be serious. Williams sprained his ankle and said he expects to play against the Longhorns.

Levy came down hard on his left arm while committing a charge to foul out. "I don't feel bad," Paul said. "A win's a win."

The Demon Deacons (8-1) struggled to put away Temple on Monday night and also played sloppily in this game, trailing about 4 minutes into the second half. But Justin Gray made a 3-pointer, Trent Strickland followed with two free throws and the defensively challenged Demon Deacons actually showed some bite.

Elon (2-7) ended five of its next six possessions with a turnover, and the other featured a badly missed 3-pointer by Montell Watson. Twice, Wake Forest's press forced traveling violations before the ball reached midcourt.

Still, the Phoenix hung in, getting within eight points on a layup by Chris Chalko with about 8 minutes left. The Deacons finally sealed it with seven straight points, including a basket by Visser that gave Paul his final assist.

Paul, a sophomore, also tied a career-high with six steals.

Chalko had 16 points and Scottie Rice added 15 for Elon, which has lost seven of eight.

"There is no such thing as a moral victory," Elon coach Ernie Nestor said. "The best thing you do in a season cannot be a loss, you must win games. But we're not going away from tonight feeling that this was a total wasted effort."

The Phoenix announced earlier Wednesday that leading scorer Jackson Atoyebi would miss the rest of the season because of a shoulder injury suffered last month. He is scheduled to have surgery in early January.

Last week, they lost their top outside shooter when guard Matt Nowlin quit, and their rotation Wednesday night was depleted further by foul trouble. Forwards Colin Wyatt, Rasmi Gamble and Simon Harris all had four fouls early in the second half, and the Deacons took advantage.

They continually pounded the ball inside and outscored Elon 48-22 in the paint, with Visser leading the way. The 6-foot-11 center nearly matched his season- and career-high of 15 points that he had earlier this season against Yale, the only previous time he scored in double figures.

"When he plays like he's 6-11, he's a very positive asset for us," Prosser said. "He tries hard, he listens, he's very bright and he gives great effort in practice every day."

Elon took its final lead at 47-46 after Levy was called for a technical foul. Seconds earlier, he chased Harris to halfcourt and thought he had forced a backcourt violation. He demonstratively gestured to referee Karl Hess when it wasn't called.

Later, Levy reached around Harris to try for a steal and Hess quickly whistled a foul. When Levy again disagreed, Hess gave him the technical.

In the first half, Gray and Elon's Steve Harvin were given technicals after trading shoves in a scrum going after a loose ball.

"That was less than pleasing and it should not have happened," Prosser said. "I think the officials made the right calls in both instances."

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