7:00 PM ET, January 6, 2004
Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-salem, North Carolina
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) -- Wake Forest aced its final quiz. Now the really hard tests are ahead.Eric Williams scored 14 points to lead the fifth-ranked Demon Deacons to their 23rd consecutive home win, an 86-47 victory over Brown on Tuesday night.It was the final tuneup for Wake Forest (10-0) before a brutal stretch of schedule: The Deacons host Clemson in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup this Saturday, then play at No. 18 Texas, No. 2 Duke and finally, a home game against No. 8 Georgia Tech."Now is the time for us to go to the mattresses," coach Skip Prosser said. "Say goodbye to your wives and sweethearts, its time to leave the home and go to the mattresses."But the Deacons might not want to stray too far from Lawrence Joel Coliseum, where they are 6-0 this season and have not lost since falling to Duke on Feb. 21, 2002.Still, Wake Forest has yet to establish a raucous home crowd to rival many of its ACC foes. So keeping the streak going and turning its home court into a feared place for opponents is still an important goal."I don't think we'll ever make this a tough ticket to get, but we need to keep winning to keep our fans coming," Williams said. "Just to see this many people (10,623) show up to see us play a team like Brown says we are on the right track."Trent Strickland added 13 points and Justin Gray had 12 points, a career-high six assists and tied his career best with seven rebounds for the Demon Deacons.Brown (3-9) was overmatched to begin with and got off to a rocky beginning when leading scorer Patrick Powers didn't start because of a groin injury.Struggling to keep up with Wake Forest's speed proved too difficult as the Bears fell behind 14-7 and allowed the Deacons to pull away with a 15-0 run from there.Brown went almost seven minutes without a basket and had nine turnovers by the time Luke Ruscoe ended the drought with a jumper that cut Wake Forest's lead to 29-9 with 6:20 to play. It was the Bears' only 2-point field goal of the first half as they shot 6-for-23 with five 3-pointers.With 2:45 to go before the break, Brown trailed 41-12 and had more turnovers (17) then shots attempted (16)."Obviously we are an inexperienced team and we are struggling right now," said Brown coach Glenn Miller. "But we thought we had done some things in practice to counter them and didn't execute any of it."Brown's inability to compete allowed Wake Forest to get flashy in the second half when Gray tossed an alley-oop pass to Strickland, who used a reverse spin to dunk it in for a 73-39 lead.Ruscoe led Brown with 14 points. The Bears shot 32 percent for the game and had 28 turnovers that led to 41 Wake Forest points.Because Brown was so overmatched, Wake Forest was able to build a big enough lead to play most of its reserves. It also allowed sophomore forward Chris Ellis to get his most significant playing time of the season.Ellis, who broke a bone in his foot on the first day of practice, came into the game with just 12 minutes of playing time in one appearance this season. But he logged 13 minutes against Brown and scored his first points of the season on a free throw with 13:30 to play in the first half. He received a hearty cheer from the crowd when he dunked just under two minutes later."Chris has not gotten any practice time and there is no way to make that up," Prosser said. "He is not going to get better overnight, but he can continue to help us."
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