WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Ticker) -- No. 18 Wake Forest enjoyed an easy warmup against David on Tuesday before facing a strenuous test against Goliath on Sunday.
Josh Howard scored 18 points and freshman Eric Williams added 15 as 18th-ranked Wake Forest cruised to a 98-56 rout of Elon.
The Demon Deacons (10-0) matched the sixth best start in school history and remained one of the two unbeaten teams in Division I, keeping pace with idle No. 1 Duke. No. 3 Connecticut suffered its first defeat of the season Tuesday at No. 9 Oklahoma.
Wake Forest plays its first Atlantic Coast Conference game on Sunday, when the team faces a showdown against Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
"It will be the ultimate litmus test to this point," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said. "So much of the game on Sunday will be determined on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at practice. We must be focused."
Taron Downey, who contributed 14 points and eight assists, drained three shots from beyond the arc during Wake Forest's game-opening run. Howard capped the outburst with a 3-pointer to give the Demon Deacons a 20-3 lead just 6:35 into the contest.
"Downey is a good shooter," Demon Deacons coach Skip Prosser said. "He is a kid who throughout his career has found a way to make baskets. He comes to practice early and leaves late."
An all-ACC candidate, Howard went 3-of-4 from the arc. The senior hit more than one 3-pointer for the seventh time in 10 games this season and is nine points shy of passing Delaney Rudd and moving into the top 20 on the Demon Deacons' all-time scoring list.
"We ask him (Howard) to be a leader, score baskets, and guard the opponents' best man," Prosser said. "That's not an easy task, especially for someone who missed the first 2-3 weeks of practice."
Sean Newton scored 11 points off the bench for the Phoenix (4-7), who dropped their fifth straight game.
"It's hard to prepare your kids for the physical nature of the game when you're playing a team like Wake," Phoenix coach Mark Simons said. "But this is such a great experience for our kids to face. They do so many things we can't emulate in practice."
Vytas Danelius chipped in eight points, hitting all six free throws, and pulled down seven rebounds, helping the Demon Deacons win the battle off the glass, 39-32. Wake Forest has outrebounded all 10 of its opponents this season.
The Demon Deacons beat the Phoenix for the 31st time in 37 all-time meetings.