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February 8, 2009

Wake bounces back against BC

With a second half turnaround and a career high 26 point performance by freshman Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest marched comfortably to a 93-76 victory over Boston College to snap a two game losing streak. Jeff Teague scored 27 points and had seven assists as well to contribute to Wake's second victory over the Eagles this season.

"It was a terrific win for us against a team that was really playing well," said head coach Dino Gaudio. "It was a real character win for our guys. Getting beat like we did on Wednesday night, I thought the kids did a terrific job."

The first half provided many positive signs for the Demon Deacons, while also showing one glaring error. Despite shooting 48 percent from the field and going 4-6 from beyond the arc, Wake Forest found themselves trailing at the half, 47-46 after being outrebounded by the Eagles 21-11. Ten of those rebounds were on the offensive end, allowing Boston College to take six more shots than the Deacons in the half and grab 16 second chance points. Wake was able to keep things close by hitting 18-10 foul shots and getting 21 points from Jeff Teague.

After an uneventful start to the second half, the two teams were tied at 52 after two minutes of play. Over the next seven minutes Wake went on a 19-9 run and jumped out to a 10 point lead. The lead would grow from there, as the Deacs focused on their rebounding, nearly eliminating the lead Boston College had in that department thanks to much improved performances from James Johnson and Aminu. The Deacs shooting and defense also improved in the second half, as Wake made 65.5 percent of their shots from the field while holding Boston College to only 37.5 percent.

"The difference was that we outrebounded them in the second half. They only had four second chance points in the second half, and we did a terrific job on the defensive end of the floor holding them to 29 points."

After losing three of their last four games, Wake Forest knew they needed to get back to what got them here in the first place. It always starts with defense for the Deacs, and that was exactly what they focused on. After giving up six three pointers in the first half, Wake started switching all of Boston College's ball screens, eliminating the outside shot and containing the scoring onslaught Joe Trapani and Tyrese Rice had led for the Eagles in the first half.

Wake also pounded the ball inside, scoring 48 of their points in the pain, in large part due to Tony Woods' contributions off the bench and the interior play of L.D. Williams and Al-Farouq Aminu.

Jeff Teague did an excellent job taking what Boston College's defense would give him. In the first half Teague found plenty of scoring opportunities, hitting 3 three pointers and making all eight of his free throw attempts on the way to 21 points. With the defense keying on him in the second half Teague changed gears, helping his teammates with eight assists after having none in the first half. Teague finished the game with 27 points.

"I knew going into the second half they would probably key on me shooting the ball," said Teague, "so I knew guys were going to be open because I had a pretty good first half. Coach Gaudio came out and told me there are going to be guys open, to just hit the open guys. So we did, and everyone made shots and was on the same page."

There is no doubt this was a big victory for the Demon Deacons. Although the game was not a "must win" in the purest sense, another loss could have been catastrophic for Wake. Even today it was clear the fans were not quite as excited as they were a couple of weeks ago, and it was important for Wake to bounce back and get a victory.

"It was big," said Gaudio. "I went in there and I said 'you know what boys, we have a pressure game tomorrow. We have got to win tomorrow. We are in the ACC, and it is important that we win tomorrow. If you feel pressure, I'm glad, because there is pressure to win tomorrow.'"

Wake Forest will travel to NC State on Wednesday night.

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