Deacs Down UNC-A

Justin Gray paced a balanced offense with 16 points, Trent Strickland scored 14 and No. 24 Wake Forest finally got a breather with a 79-63 victory over pesky UNC-Asheville on Monday night.

The Demon Deacons (4-1) finished third in the 2K Sports College Hoop Classic, and their run of four games included two that went to overtime. The loss came to Florida in the semifinals of the event, another one that went down to the wire.

For the first time this season, Gray started at his more familiar off-guard spot, with freshman Harvey Hale playing point. The change was designed not only to give Gray more scoring opportunities, but to cut down on his turnovers.

He had 27 in the previous three games, including 10 in a double-overtime victory over Texas Tech in the consolation game of the tournament. It worked for the most part - Gray still produced on offense, and his only turnover came on a double-dribble in the waning seconds of the first half.

Michael Drum, a walk-on who initially took Chris Paul's spot in the lineup, came off the bench for the first time and provided a spark in the second half.

The transfer from Division II Presbyterian scored eight of his 10 points in a 2-minute span of the second half to help the Deacons pull away. Drum swished a 3-pointer to make it 62-47, then added a layup off a nifty feed by Gray. After Omar Collington had a shot blocked by Eric Williams, Drum fed Gray for a 3 and later drove inside for a three-point play

That made it 70-48, and the Bulldogs (0-2) never recovered. Joe Barber scored 17 points for Asheville, and teammate Oliver Holmes had 11.

Kyle Visser finished with 13 points for the Deacons, Williams scored 12 and freshman Kevin Swinton pulled down 12 rebounds.


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