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November 8, 2013

Miller-McIntyre and Thomas carry Deacs past Colgate

Winston-Salem, NC - Codi Miller-McIntyre, who spent halftime talking to himself after a frustrating first half, exploded in the second half, including a spurt of 14 straight points to finish with 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists and a steal to help lead Wake Forest (1-0) to an 89-78 win over Colgate (0-1).

He had more time to think about his rough start when he spent the beginning of the second half on the bench.

"I was like all the hours you put in the gym, all the working out, all the training you've done with you and your teammates you need to play, like go out and play your game, stop worrying about little things, like those first two free throws that I missed," Miller-McIntyre said.

"When Coach [Jeff Bzdelik] sat me down on the bench that showed me we have a deep team. I produce or I sit, so when I got the opportunity I produced."

Miller-McIntyre was not the only player who produced for the Demon Deacons. Devin Thomas scored led all scorers with a 23 points, and pulled down six rebounds, blocked a shot and made a steal.

Thomas' 14-first half points kept Wake in the game, as the Raiders blistered the Deacs from three-point range (9-19) to take a 40-38 lead into halftime.

"He was very workman like down low," Bzdelik said. "Shooting 11-for-15 is very special. He has a tremendous will down low to score. When you talk about determination, he is going to find a way to score down low. He did a great job for us."

Austin Tillotson extended Colgate's lead as high as eight when he converted an and-one opportunity at the 16:46 mark in the second half.

Wake Forest began to whittle away at its deficit when Travis McKie scored five consecutive points before Miller-McIntyre went on his 14-point tear.

Observations …

--- If it was not already clear tonight made it completely obvious that the best place for Miller-McIntyre is not the role of facilitator of the offense, but rather scorer. He thrived when was able to look for own shot and create for himself instead for others. It translated with 17 points in the second half compared to a quiet four points in the first half.

--- Thomas, who added muscle in the off-season, also improved his ball-handling. More than once he put the ball on the floor and drove the lane for layups. The highlight of the night came when he made a steal near half-court and drove the rest of the way for a dunk.

--- The Demon Deacons had a 50-22 edge in points in the paint, which largely due to Thomas' efforts.

--- Wake valued the basketball. The Deacs only turned the ball over five times, and forced the Raiders into 14 turnovers. Wake scored 21 points off Colgate's blunders.

Post-game Q-&-A's …

Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik

Opening statement: "It was a gutty win tonight. There were a lot of good things and obviously things that we need to work on. I give Colgate a lot of credit. They shot very well, especially from the three-point arc. We showed a lot of grit out there. Our depth was a factor."

"We had nine players play double-digit minutes tonight. We shot it well offensively and only turned the ball over five times. We need to step it up defensively and contain the ball better as well as guard the arc better. We are fortunate to get the win and move on and get better tomorrow."

Coach, obviously you must have been displeased with Codi's effort in the first half, but the second half coming from the bench he played great. What changed? "We have depth and I shook it up a little bit in the second half, but Codi is a pro in terms of his attitude and his work ethic. He really responded big time. It's because of who he is as a young man. He put the team on his back for a while there and we rode him."

Were you trying to send a message to Codi? "No, I wasn't sending a message to anybody. We were just trying to win the basketball game, and just tried a different combination right out of the gate. That's all."

Wake Forest forward Devin Thomas

Did you feel like they couldn't guard you? It's okay to say yes. "I didn't think they could guard me. They kept giving me the ball. I shot 11-for-15, which is an alright percentage. I was just trying to make sure I didn't force anything or turn the ball over. My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball."

Colgate head coach Matt Langel

Coach, you all shot the ball really well in the first half, especially from outside. What changed in the second half in terms of what you saw from Wake Forest defensively? "They picked up the pressure a little bit in the half-court. They were a little bit more physical by not letting us get the ball to certain spots that we felt like we were going to get some shots and to be honest we missed some shots."

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