Wake holds off Yale
Posted: Saturday November 29, 2003 5:31PM; Updated: Saturday November 29, 2003 5:31PM
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (AP) -- Jamal Levy made sure Wake Forest didn't let up against Yale.
Levy led four Wake Forest players in double figures with 19 points as the No. 18 Demon Deacons rolled to a 86-61 victory over Yale on Saturday before 4,031 at the Arena at Harbor Yard.
Levy also had a game-high seven rebounds for Wake Forest, which had 11 team steals and forced 20 turnovers.
Justin Gray added 15 points, Eric Williams 12 and Vytas Danelius 10 for the Demon Deacons, who shot 33-for-66 from the field.
"I thought we played very hard today," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "We were fighting for every rebound and every loose ball. We paid great attention to the basketball today."
Wake Forest, off to a 3-0 start for the fifth straight year, hosts Indiana on Tuesday in the ACC/Big Ten challenge. The Demon Deacons have been ranked in the Top 25 for 15 consecutive weeks under Prosser.
Yale (3-2) gave No. 1 Connecticut a scare in its season opener 12 days earlier before succumbing 70-60. On Saturday, the Bulldogs couldn't solve Wake Forest's suffocating defense.
"We know Yale is an NCAA-caliber team and we expected an NCAA tournament caliber game," said Gray, a 6-foot-2 sophomore guard. "We knew they would give us their best shot.
"They gave UConn their best shot and we knew they'd give us a good fight. But we were up for the fight and gave them a knockout blow early before making the first run of the second half."
Dominick Martin led Yale with 15 points, and Edwin Draughan added 11.
"If [Wake Forest] does what they did tonight in terms of execution it's going to be hard to beat them," Yale coach James Jones said. "They are certainly a team to be reckoned with in the ACC and the NCAA tournament."
Yale had won three straight since its loss to UConn, but Jones was discouraged by his team's inability to handle Wake Forest's pressure defense.
"I was real disappointed that we didn't step up and handle pressure," Jones said. "We backed down from it. We turned the ball over and threw the ball out of bounds on the first couple of possessions and it set a terrible tone for the basketball game.
"We're a much better basketball team than that but we didn't prove it today. Wake Forest is a very good basketball team but nobody is 26 points better than us."
Wake Forest took a 41-27 lead into the break when Justin Gray made a 3-pointer from the top of the key at the buzzer.
"Without question, that was deflating for their kids," Prosser said.
The Demon Deacons forced 13 Yale turnovers in the first half and had eight steals. Yale hung tough early despite the sloppy play, trailing 27-20 on a Casey Hughes 3-pointer with 5:18 remaining.
"Playing strong defense was our game plan today," said Levy, a 6-9 junior forward. "The coaching staff told us we had to take away their passing lanes. We did a good job of that and forcing turnovers."
The lead grew to 20 points as Wake Forest scored the first six points of the second half, capped by a Gray jumper that made it 47-27 with 18:48 remaining.
The lead grew to a game-high 29 points for Wake Forest when Danelius made two free throws for a 65-36 advantage with 12:42 left.