Winston-Salem, NC - Devin Thomas left the first half early due to a stomach ailment and Jeff Bzdelik wanted to throw up at halftime after seeing the way his team played before the break, but Wake Forest (9-2) recovered from its abysmal start and eight-point deficit to outscore St. Bonaventure (7-4) by 23 in the second half on its way to a 77-62 win.
"We're not looking in the rearview mirror," Bzdelik said. "All I know is that we've got a group of guys that are growing up and they've shown great resolve the last couple of games."
"We're trying to be tougher and play through mistakes. We need to be tough for all 40 minutes, because it's not always going to go the way you want it to go."
Wake, which trailed by as many as 11 points in the first half, showed greater focus on both ends of the court by cutting down on turnovers (nine in the first half, six in the second half), and forced the Bonnies into nine second-half turnovers and limited them to only three offensive rebounds.
The Demon Deacons were ignited by a combined 37 second-half points from Thomas, Travis McKie and Codi Miller-McIntyre to outscore the Bonnies by 23 following the intermission. Miller-McIntyre finished with 20 points, while Thomas added 18 points and McKie scored 16.
"We can't get comfortable with being down," Miller-McIntyre said. "We can't continue to fall back, because teams are going to take advantage of that. But it shows our maturity and the fight that we have."
St. Bonaventure was dealt a significant blow when its floor general, point guard Charlon Kloof picked up his fourth foul at the 12:41 mark in the second half, which forced him to the bench for four minutes. The Deacs outscored the Bonnies 13-2 during that span to take a 58-51 lead.
"He's our leader and he needs to be out there," St. Bonaventure head coach Mark Schmidt said. "So yes, it hurt us, but at the same time when someone gets in foul trouble someone else has to step up."
"That wasn't the reason why we lost, but we're a much better team when Charlon is on the floor."
Wake made up for its lack of energy and attention to detail on the defensive end early when it held St. Bonaventure to zero field goals from 11:00 to 5:16 remaining in regulation, which helped to create separation.