Deacons Honor Prosser; Win Opener

Skip Prosser surely would have been proud of this season-opening showing by Wake Forest.

Harvey Hale and freshman James Johnson each scored 17 points to help the Demon Deacons rout Fairfield 85-60 Friday night in their first game since Prosser's death and in Dino Gaudio's debut as his replacement.

Hale made 5-of-6 3-pointers, Johnson added 10 rebounds, L.D. Williams had 12 points and Jamie Skeen scored 10 for Wake Forest, which unveiled a banner bearing Prosser's likeness and then turned in exactly the kind of determined, disciplined play that he valued and that Gaudio vowed to maintain in Winston-Salem.

The Demon Deacons (1-0) never trailed, forced 23 turnovers, scored 33 points off those miscues and used an 11-0 run early in the second half to build a 26-point lead. After Chas McFarland's free throw pushed the Wake Forest lead to 57-31 with 16:20 left, Fairfield didn't get closer than 16.

Mike Evanonvich scored 20 points and was 6-of-7 from 3-point range for the Stags (0-1).

It was a night for Wake Forest to remember Prosser, who died July 26 of an apparent heart attack at age 56. The banner that bears his likeness hung from the rafters behind the team's bench, and he received a posthumous, 80-second standing ovation from the crowd, including the tie-dyed "Screaming Deacons" student section he helped create.

Then the Demon Deacons showed the kind of promise that had Prosser so excited about the program's future -- and two members of his final recruiting class showed why they were considered such hot prospects.

Shortly after slashing across the lane and flicking in a layup with his left hand, freshman Jeff Teague stole the ball from Devin Johnson and drove downcourt before delivering a behind-the-back bounce pass to James Johnson. His subsequent dunk capped a 17-2 run that made it 40-19 with about 3 minutes before the break.

Wake Forest shot nearly 56 percent during a dominant first half in which the Demon Deacons led by 21. Ish Smith's 3-pointer from the key in the final seconds gave Wake Forest a 45-25 lead.

Fairfield made its first visit to Winston-Salem since the Stags' most recent appearance in the NCAA tournament. They were a No. 16 seed in 1997 but gave top-seeded North Carolina fits before falling 82-74.

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