Early in Friday’s contest, the Demon Deacons used stout defense to hold Winston-Salem State to just six points in the first eight and a half minutes of the first half. With improved defense and a strong performance from L.D. Williams, the Deacs pulled out a 73-53 victory over their cross-town rival.
“I was really, really pleased with our defense,” Coach Gaudio said of the team’s play Friday night. “I thought our kids did a terrific job of sitting down and guarding. That’s what we’re trying to, make that a cornerstone of the program. Wow, holding them to 26% from the field and [18%] from three is a pretty good job, pretty good job – and I told our kids that.”
On the evening, Wake Forest was led by L.D. Williams, a sophomore from nearby Yadkinville, North Carolina. Williams led Demon Deacon scorers with 19-points and also brought down a team-high 13 rebounds to help Wake Forest to a 3-0 start to the season.
“He is a high energy [player,”] Gaudio said of Williams after the game. “If our other guys fed off of him a little more. He played really, really hard tonight. He had a practice two days ago when he walked in and Jeff Battle told him ‘L.D., that’s the hardest I’ve seen anybody go in practice since we’ve been here.’ Seven years. He’s a hard working kid.”
Williams, who played with confidence and intensity offensively and defensively on Friday, consistently pounded the boards, giving the Deacons a much-needed boost in rebounding and helping Wake Forest win the rebounding battle 45-44. Prior to Friday’s contest with the Rams, Williams had just ten boards on the season, averaging five rebounds per game for the Demon Deacons.
“Coach Prosser used to always say that rebounding is a mentality,” Williams noted. “Today, I just hustled and got to a lot of loose balls. Like Coach said, it’s a mentality and I feel like I really wanted the ball today.”
Still, Coach Gaudio was unhappy with the team’s performance on the boards. “What we didn't do a good job of was on the backboard,” said Gaudio, whose parents were in Winston-Salem for the Deacs’ showdown against Winston-Salem State. “We knew coming in that they were going to shoot a lot of threes and long shots equal long rebounds. We've got to run down those 50-50 rebounds and we have to do a better job of that.”
With the win Friday evening, Wake Forest improves to 3-0 heading into the ACC-Big Ten Challenge at the University of Iowa. Wake Forest will face off with Iowa on Monday evening at ESPN2. Game-time is 7:05.