Bulldogs Win Sixth in a Row, 73-63 over Wake Forest
Jan. 2, 2011
Body clock trouble and second-guessing aside, Gonzaga was able to pull off the feat of two wins in 39 hours on two coasts. >P>Gray scored 18 points, Elias Harris added 13 points and nine rebounds, and weary Gonzaga overcame a sluggish start to beat Wake Forest 73-63 on Sunday for its sixth straight victory.
"The guys really covered my back," Few said. "It was a silly move to put our team in this position."
Hitting the floor 37 hours after a home win over Oklahoma State, the Bulldogs (10-5) shook off the effects of a cross-country flight and an early tipoff by taking control in the second half.
Gonzaga shot 50 percent (26 of 52) to offset 19 turnovers in its final game before beginning West Coast Conference play.
"We had the right mindset that it was going to be difficult, especially with that travel and playing so late on whatever day it was," said Gray, who's been playing with a sore back. "We knew we would have to come out and just grind one out if we wanted to get a win."
The Bulldogs did enough to send the reeling Demon Deacons (6-8) to their fourth straight loss amid a difficult first season for coach Jeff Bzdelik, who was fuming about the team's shot selection.
Travis McKie scored 16 points and J.T. Terrell added 14 on 3-of-11 shooting for Wake Forest. After winning at Gonzaga a year ago, it didn't have enough offensive firepower this time, shooting 34 percent (19 of 56).
"We didn't make timely shots and, yeah, we've got to make that extra pass," Bzdelik said.
After Gonzaga's home rout of Oklahoma State on Friday, players were on the bus at 6:50 a.m. on Saturday for their ride to the airport ahead of a 4-hour charter flight. The team had a light workout Saturday night, then were back at the arena for the early game Sunday.
"They deserve all the credit in the world," Few said.
Fatigue showed at the start. The Bulldogs committed 14 first-half fouls, with five players recording two as they clung to a 36-35 lead.
"When we pushed the ball in the first half they were definitely tired," McKie said. "We were getting easy points in transition because they were fouling a lot. They were definitely tried; they flew half way across the country to play us. We just didn't capitalize on that in the second half. We started to take quick shots."
Wake Forest, which has home losses to Stetson, Virginia Commonwealth, Winthrop and Presbyterian this season, started to spring leaks in its zone defense. Gray hit consecutive 3s to make it a 62-49 lead with 8:53 left.
The Demon Deacons got within 62-58 on Terrell's 3 with 4:45 left. But Harris, who was ejected from last year's loss to Wake Forest, hit two free throws at the other end to spark a 9-1 run to put it away.
After being even in rebounds at halftime, Gonzaga held a 22-11 edge in the second half. Robert Sacre, who was in early foul trouble, grabbed eight boards to go with 13 points.
Gary Clark scored 13 points for the inexperienced Demon Deacons, who went 4-of-17 from 3-point range in their fifth home loss. The only Atlantic Coast Conference team with a losing record hosts High Point on Wednesday in its final nonconference game.
"We came out of the gate in the second half comfortable, like we exhaled. Like we thought, 'OK, we're in this game,"' Bzdelik said. "Well, it doesn't work that way. We need to value every possession with great intensity."
Gonzaga, which will host Portland on Saturday, played again without forward Mathis Monninghoff (ankle). But it got a big boost from freshman Mathis Keita, who scored a career-high 12 points and provided needed energy for a tired team.
Gonzaga seems to have regrouped following a three-game skid early last month that sent it tumbling out of the rankings. With Few having to go with what he called "crazy lineups" early because of foul trouble, Gonzaga showed off its depth and athleticism.
"The way we were feeling about the (Washington State) loss, to be where we're at now, I think we're real happy," Gray said. "We're excited to go into the conference now."
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