Defense decides Wake Forest-Richmond game

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A basketball game in which neither team scores over 50 points or shoots better than 30 percent is ugly in anyone's book.

Except Skip Prosser's.

"I'll tell you what, that was a beautiful win," the Wake Forest coach said after his 22nd-ranked Demon Deacons escaped with a 47-40 victory over Richmond on Thursday night. "We knew we were in for a dogfight."

The Demon Deacons (9-2) struggled against the stingiest defense in Division I, shooting just 30 percent against the Spiders' matchup zone. Richmond has held all 10 of its opponents to under 60 points and entered the game giving up just 51.3 per game.

Justin Gray had 21 points for Wake Forest, which set a modern school record for the fewest points in a victory. The previous record was a 48-42 victory over Maryland on Feb. 20, 1982.

The Spiders (5-5) continued to struggle in first-year coach Chris Mooney's Princeton offense, however, shooting just 26 percent. Oumar Sylla had nine points to lead Richmond, which is averaging less than 50 points per game.

"We're not a great shooting team, but these are shots we could make," Mooney said. "We need to put ourselves in position to get great shots."

But even the point-blank shots weren't falling for the Spiders, especially early in the game. Richmond was only 2-of-17 over the first 16:29 as Wake Forest built a 21-4 lead with the help of a four-point play by Gray and a three-point play by Michael Drum.

Richmond closed the half with a 10-0 run, hitting 6-of-6 from the line, to make it 21-14.

"I thought our effort was tremendous except at the start of the game," Mooney said. "From late in the first half on, our energy picked up."

Richmond tied the game at 34 on a 3-pointer by Sylla with just over six minutes left, but two free throws by Drum put Wake ahead to stay.

Eric Williams, who had 13 points, hit both ends of a 1-and-1 before Sylla hit another 3 to cut the lead to 38-37. Richmond's Jermaine Bucknor, who was only 1-of-13 from the field, missed a 3-pointer that would have put the Spiders ahead, and Gray hit a 3 to make it 41-37.

Trent Strickland hit two free throws for Wake, but a 3-pointer by Drew Crank of Richmond made it 43-40.

Gray was 4-of-4 from the line over the final 26 seconds to seal the victory.