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January 2, 2012

Terriers upend Harris-less and effortless Deacs

Winston-Salem, N.C. - Jeff Bzdelik referred to getting his team motivated and disciplined as a "horse crap job" after Wake Forest (9-5) allowed nine more offensive rebounds and 15 more shots for the Terriers in a 56-52 loss to Wofford (8-6).

The Demon Deacons were without their leading scorer C.J. Harris (18.7 points per game), who is nursing a strained groin. Harris' absence was no excuse for the Deacs lack of focus (14 turnovers, which was five more than Wofford), or for why the Terriers beat Wake to loose balls and rebounds.

"We were shooting the gap instead of locking and trailing and stunting appropriate like we're taught to do, and we took shortcuts," Bzdelik said. "Throw it all on me."

Wake Forest's nonchalant play manifested itself most glaringly when Wofford outscored the Demon Deacons 14-6 in the final 5:40 of the first half to lead 32-22 at the intermission.

"We played with great energy, great teamwork, and great unselfishness throughout," Wofford head coach Mike Young said. "It's a big win for our team."

Teamwork is another phase the Deacs were lacking in. Travis McKie carried the mantle of responsibility nearly by himself with 25 points until Ty Walker answered the bell in the second half when Carson Desrosiers seemed to disappear. Walker finished with an impactful six points, 12 rebounds, three assists and three blocks as a substitute.

Only three players [Tony Chennault, McKie and Walker] scored for the Demon Deacons in the second half.

"We just didn't play well together as a team," McKie said. "We gave up 17 offensive rebounds. We just didn't play hard all 40 minutes. We were lackadaisical. I must take responsibility for that, because I'm the leader of this team. Everything falls upon me."

McKie may feel he deserves the brunt of the blame, but responsibility also falls on Tony Chennault and Anthony Fields to facilitate the offense and keep confusion from gaining a foothold.

Fields did not see any second-half action after playing eight minutes in the first half, reaching the box-score with two turnovers and a rebound. Bzdelik played rarely used walk-on Aaron Ingle as Chennault's backup following the intermission. Ingle did not turn the ball over a single time in his six precious minutes, which was better than Chennault (three), Fields and Fischer (four).

"I just got to do a better job talking to my guys more throughout the game," Chennault said. "This was a perfect opportunity for the guys to step up, since C.J. wasn't playing. Unfortunately we couldn't get the win tonight. We need him. He's a vital part to this team."

Down eight with 2:31 left in the game Wake battled back, trimming its deficit to 54-50 with 1:01, but Nikita Mescheriakov's turnover in the lane killed any last-ditch hopes for a miracle win.


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