Sophomores lead Wake past VMI, 98-71
During their brief college careers, Devin Thomas and Codi Miller-McIntyre have shown they can carry Wake Forest.
The sophomores did all the heavy lifting for a while, and it added up to the Demon Deacons' biggest offensive outburst under their fourth-year coach.
Thomas had 20 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, Miller-McIntyre added a career-high 23 points and Wake Forest routed VMI 98-71 on Tuesday night.
Thomas and Miller McIntyre combined to score 31 of the Demon Deacons' 32 points during a 17-minute stretch of the first half, and helped start the run that turned a tight game into a blowout.
"When guys are going well," coach Jeff Bzdelik said, "you want to ride that hot hand."
The 98 points set a high for scoring under Bzdelik, and the 27-point margin was his second-most lopsided win — surpassed only by a 29-point rout of Boston College two seasons ago.
"They were able to get any shot they wanted," VMI coach Duggar Baucom said.
Travis McKie and Tyler Cavanaugh each scored 11 for the Demon Deacons (2-0) — who led by 30, shot 53 percent, outrebounded VMI 57-37 and outscored the Keydets in the paint 58-18.
Thomas had 14 defensive rebounds — as many as the entire VMI team had on the offensive glass.
"When we get stops and we finish — and the culmination of defense is defensive rebounds — when we do that, we're a handful in the open court," Bzdeilk said. "We really are. ... We've got a team built to do that."
Freshman QJ Peterson had 16 points, Rodney Glasgow scored 15 and D.J. Covington had 13 for VMI (2-1).
The Keydets, who haven't beaten Wake Forest since 1941, didn't get closer than 11 in the second half and were held to 29 percent shooting. In their two wins, they shot 40 percent.
The 6-foot-9 Thomas, who had 14 rebounds twice during his freshman season, had 15 in the first half.
He played just 25 minutes, needed only 12:09 to reach double figures in both stat categories, and had his way inside against a VMI team with only one player — the 6-9 Covington — who matched his height.
"Thomas, he was a beast," Baucom said.
Thomas had 23 points and Miller-McIntyre — who showed flashes of promise during an inconsistent freshman season — matched his previous career high with 21 in the Demon Deacons' 89-78 win over Colgate in the opener five nights earlier.
"Last year, I didn't recognize what I could do. I was indecisive, I was questioning myself a lot, which is why I would show spurts here and there in games," Miller-McIntyre said. "And now, there's no more questioning where I should be at or where I belong."
And for a significant stretch of the first half of this one, those two were the only players on their team who could score.
McKie hit a layup on Wake Forest's second possession, but for a long while after that, it was all Thomas and Miller-McIntyre.
"That's what coach expects from us — he stresses to get the ball inside, so I try my best to be efficient with it," Thomas said.
And once their teammates got involved, the Demon Deacons pulled away.
Wake Forest broke a 28-all tie in the final 5 minutes of the half by closing with a 16-3 run that pushed its lead into double figures to stay. Thomas — who else? — hit a layup with just under 30 seconds left to make it 44-31.
Miller-McIntyre's jumper with just under 14 minutes left put Wake Forest up by 20 for the first time at 64-44.