College Basketball: Wake Forest 87, Winston-Salem State 71

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 6, 2007

By Bret Strelow

Salisbury Post

WINSTON-SALEM — Winston-Salem State’s

23-game road schedule features plans for 12 plane trips and 25,000 miles of travel.

A 7-mile bus ride provided the Rams with a reprieve from their rigorous itinerary, and Wake Forest accepted a break from ACC play.

Kyle Visser (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Jamie Skeen (11 points, 13 rebounds) posted double-doubles to lead the Demon Deacons to an 87-71 home win against crosstown rival Winston-Salem State in the Twin City Shootout on Tuesday night.

Harvey Hale, L.D. Williams, Anthony Gurley and Michael Drum also scored in double figures for Wake, which visits North Carolina on Saturday for the first of six straight ACC contests to conclude the regular season.

“I’m a big believer in this game,” Wake coach Skip Prosser said. “I think it’s something that can be really, really good for our city. Many of my colleagues question my sanity on a lot of things, especially this game.

“This is my hometown now, and I think it’s a good thing for the city of

Winston-Salem. I think I would rather play it prior to the ACC season.”

Wake (11-12) hasn’t played in Chapel Hill since 2003, and Winston-Salem State likely has an extra map if the Deacons have forgotten how to reach the Smith Center.

The Rams (4-21) have played only five home games so far in their first season as a Division I independent. A 1-18 start included visits to Fresno State, Auburn, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Kansas and Georgia Tech.

Wake led 44-38 at halftime.

“I’ve never seen our guys so focused and so wanting to win,” WSSU coach Bobby Collins said. “I told them if they gave the maximum effort, we’d definitely have a maximum opportunity to win this game.”

Eight straight points in a 60-second span from Gurley gave Wake a 23-9 lead, and his third 3-pointer left the Rams facing a 38-26 deficit.

Winston-Salem State closed the half with a small run and trailed by 11 points with 12:30 remaining. It managed one field goal during the next eight minutes.

“It irritates me for everybody to say we can’t play defense at all,” Skeen said.

WSSU went 11-for-33 from 3-point range, including 4-for-19 during a second half in which it shot 28 percent from the field.

It enjoyed a 10-for-21 showing on 3-pointers in an 88-84 exhibition loss to Wake last season.

“That was a stat that was addressed at halftime in a rather vociferous manner,” Prosser said.

The Deacons held guard Brian Fisher to seven second-half points, and he finished with 25 thanks to 6-for-9 shooting from 3-point range. Darrell Wonge scored 17 points.

Prosser praised the way the Rams competed late in their season, which he compared to an Ironman Triathlon.

“Carolina plays that hard,” Prosser said, “for much longer.”

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Contact Bret Strelow at 704-797-4258 or bstrelow@salisburypost.com.

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