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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 22, 2:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Greensboro Coliseum (23,000) -- Greensboro, North Carolina. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Wake Forest 4-2, UNCG 2-3. Away Record: Wake Forest 0-1, UNCG 0-4. Neutral Record: Wake Forest 1-2, UNCG 0-0. Conference Record: Wake Forest 0-0, UNCG 1-0. Series Record: Wake Forest leads, 6-0.
GAMES NOTES: A Tar Heel State showdown will take place at the UNC Greensboro Coliseum on Saturday afternoon when the Wake Forest Demon Deacons collide with the UNC Greensboro Spartans.
Wake Forest wrapped up a three-game homestand on Tuesday with a 79-55 victory over Furman. The Demon Deacons are now an even 5-5 this season but have lost three of their last five contests. This will be just the second true road test for Wake Forest, which lost in its first trip in a deflating 62-60 setback against Richmond. A 10-day layoff awaits the Demon Deacons before facing Xavier in a tune up for the Atlantic Coast Conference opener against top- ranked Duke.
On the other side, UNC Greensboro is returning from a two-game road trip. The Spartans dropped both decisions in almost identical fashion with an 85-73 loss to James Madison followed by an 87-73 setback against UNC Wilmington. Overall the Spartans have managed just a pair of wins in nine games. UNC Greensboro will be off until Jan. 31 when it takes on another intrastate foe from the ACC in NC State.
The all-time series between these two squads has gone entirely the way of Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons have earned six wins in six tries. The last meeting ended in a 69-67 victory for Wake Forest during the 2010-11 season.
In a season that hasn't featured many routs for Wake Forest, the win over Furman certainly fell into that category. The Demon Deacons shot at a 53.8 percent clip in the game, while limiting the Paladins to just 36.5 percent shooting. The battle inside was not much of a contest as Wake Forest outscored Furman by a massive 46-12 margin in the paint. C.J. Harris led the way by scoring 20 points and handing out five assists.
Wake Forest has been scoring just about as many points as it has allowed this season. Harris (14.5 ppg) and Travis McKie (13.6 ppg, 8.3 rpg) are the top scorers on the squad and the only ones averaging in double figures. Harris shoots at a relatively high percentage for a guard (52.3 FG percentage) and is averaging 19.3 points per game over the last three contests. McKie provides a nice complement in the frontcourt and at 6-foot-7, takes most of his shots closer to the basket. McKie has scored in double figures in back-to-back games after a three-game slump and has recorded a double-double this year. Codi Miller-McIntyre (7.9 ppg) and Tyler Cavanaugh (7.4 ppg) are the only other players scoring more than six points per game.
UNC Greensboro was on the opposite side of a lopsided affair in its loss to UNC Wilmington. The Spartans hit on just 36.8 percent of their shots from the field including a 4-of-20 effort from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, the Seahawks were successful on 50.8 percent of their shots from the floor and 9-of-16 from 3-point range. An 11-rebound deficit on the boards didn't help matters. Derrell Armstrong came off the bench to post an 18-point, 10-rebound double- double.
Despite shooting at just a 42.3 percent clip, the Spartans have actually been a highly successful offensive team at 78.1 ppg, which is good enough to top the Southern Conference. What has been most disappointing is UNC Greensboro's efforts on the defensive end. The Spartans are getting scorched for 80.1 points per game on 46.4 percent shooting. The defensive scoring average is among the 10 worst in the country. UNC Greensboro hasn't helped itself by committing the fourth most fouls in the country (22.8 pg). Normally, UNC Greensboro is an effective rebounding team (40.2 pg) ranking at the top of the Southern Conference. Combo guard Trevis Simpson (19.8 ppg) is the leading scorer in the league. The junior has scored in double figures in every game this season and has only twice failed to stay on the court for more than 30 minutes. Armstrong (15.4 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Kayel Locker (11.1 ppg) provide additional scoring depth.
If Simpson erupts, UNC Greensboro could pull off a minor upset. However it won't matter how many points Simpson scores if the Spartans continue to be so generous on defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wake Forest 81, UNC Greensboro 70
12/22 10:35:54 ET
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