Winston-Salem, NC - Wake Forest (7-2) broke a 40-40 tie with a 10-0 second half scoring run on its way to a 72-57 win over Tulane (4-5) in its first game since a rough Thanksgiving holiday weekend at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.
Coron Williams, who finished with a team-high 18 points, and the rest of Wake's bench combined for 34 points, outscoring Tulane's reserves by 29 to overcome a slow start.
"I was really proud of our bench; not only did they jumpstart us off offensively and keep us going, they did a great job defensively," Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik said.
"He [Williams] has the green light. He shoots it quick and takes good shots and can make shots. I think in the first game he wanted so hard to make shots, so he was pressing. Now he's in a groove. This is who he is. He likes shooting in the Joel and that's a great thing."
The Green Wave jumped on the sluggish Demon Deacons early to take a 10-7 lead and tie at 40-40 when Louis Dabney scored two of his game-high 29 points with 15:00 remaining in regulation.
Despite yielding much to Dabney the Deacs held him to one field goal the final 9:45 once Bzdelik assigned Aaron Rountree to him.
--- Wake won the battle on the boards with a convincing 39-26 edge.
--- Devin Thomas' struggles in the Battle 4 Atlantis carried over against Tulane, going scoreless in the first half. However, he did bounce back to finish with seven points, a team-high six rebounds and a block.
--- The Demon Deacons must improve their decision-making and focus after turning the ball over 13 times. Tulane scored 14 points of Wake's misques.
Post-game Q-&-A's …
Wake Forest guard Coron Williams
On Wake's bench play: "We needed a lot of energy. We have some energetic guys coming off the bench. We did what we needed to do tonight."
On his great shooting performance: "I found some seams in the defense. I found a lot of gaps, especially in transition. They were kind of losing me."
Wake Forest guard Codi Miller-McIntyre
What do you think the team as a whole was lacking going into the game all the way into the second half? "I think it is a mindset. Everybody, including myself, did not come out ready to play in the first few minutes and we can't continue to do that."
"We're getting better and not allowing teams to go up by so much and then having to coming back, but in order for us to be a great team, like we know we can be, we have to come out and punch early. We have to start off the game throwing punches and I don't think it really clicked until a few minutes after in the second half."
On Coron Williams' shooting: "He's a great shooter. He is the best shooter I've ever seen and ever played with. When he gets on the court he just opens up so much for us, so much for Madison and I who love to drive and if they're crashing on us he's wide open and every time we almost know it a bucket."
What does the team as a whole need to work on to eliminate 20 plus point games for opposing shooters? "We have to be more focused and physical. We can't have guys going for 30, but tonight this team had three very good guards and they scored the bulk of their buckets. So we were able to limit them.
"One guy got off unfortunately, but the other two they weren't real factors in the game. Looking into the future we can't have that happen. We have to have all five guys locked in and focused for 40 minutes."
Tulane head coach Ed Conroy
On Wake Forest's play: "Well first, credit Wake. I thought they, they did a couple things. They hit some shots early when we were changing defenses, especially Williams. He got loose a couple times and then I thought we kind of got them there at the start of the second half. We got it tied up and I thought we had some things going our way but they kept pushing the break at us and got too many easy baskets late. They've been great in transition all year."