Deacons Advance To Round Of 32

Wake Forest's Craig Dawson scored 19 points in his first ever NCAA Tournament contest to lead Wake Forest to a tough 83-74 win over tenth seeded Pepperdine Thursday afternoon in Sacramento.

One year ago in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Wake Forest was a seventh seed taking on Midwestern Collegiate Conference champions Butler. The Bulldogs were an underrated ten seed ready to garner respect from the nation as they faced off with the Deacons from the ACC.

As well documented, that game turned out to be one of the worst affairs in Wake Forest history as Butler embarrassed the Deacs.

One year and one coach later, however, Wake Forest was prepared. With Skip Prosser at the helm, the Deacons got off to a 9-0 start and improved that lead to 15-2 early in the contest.

While Pepperdine was down at that point, the Wave edged back in the first half. Behind a barrage of three-pointers, the Wave climbed back to trail 38-35 at the half.

The second half was a dog-fight. Pepperdine and the Deacons traded baskets much of the half. However, midway through the second, Wake Forest came on strong with a 10-2 run to take a 66-58 lead.

Pepperdine tried to edge back into the game, but the Deacons were just too strong down the stretch. Craig Dawson's 19 points including hitting 5-9 three-pointers was too much for Paul Westphal's Pepperdine squad.

Behind Dawson, Darius Songaila's 18 points and Broderick Hicks' 15, the Deacs took out the Wave 83-74.

Now, the Deacs will face off against Oregon Saturday afternoon in Sacramento.

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