WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — An undermanned Citadel basketball team made it a contest for about 30 minutes at Wake Forest on Thursday night, but the ACC squad pulled away for an 82-54 victory before 6,234 fans at Joel Coliseum.
Coron Williams scored 12 points to lead the 5-0 Demon Deacons, who led by just 34-27 at halftime.
Freshman Brian White scored 18 points and sophomore Matt Van Scyoc added 12 for the Bulldogs (2-4), who have managed their first six games with just nine players.
Coach Chuck Driesell said after the game that forward C.J. Bray (shoulder) and guard Warren Sledge (ankle) should be available for Monday’s home game against Montreat.
“I believe that is the prognosis and we’ll keep our fingers crossed,” he said.
Against Wake Forest, the Bulldogs fell behind 14-4 early, but closed to within 29-27 on White’s layup with 2:22 left in the half. The Citadel couldn’t score again, and Tyler Cavanaugh’s 3-pointer at the buzzer made it 34-27 at the break.
“We broke down and made some mental mistakes at the end of the half,” Driesell said. “We break down and they hit a three at the end of the half, and instead of being down four, we’re down seven. It carried over and kind of snowballed from there.”
The Citadel hung within nine points on a Tom Koopman layup with 14:23 left before Wake Forest began to pull away. The Deacons closed the game on a 35-16 run.
“I was pleased with their effort for 40 minutes,” Driesell said. “We didn’t turn it over a lot, but we turned it over at critical times. There are some really good things coming out of this game, but some things we have to learn to be the type of team we want to be this year.”
White, a 6-6 freshman, hit 9 of 13 shots and grabbed five rebounds. Van Scyoc was just 3 of 11 from the field and 1 of 7 on 3-pointers, with a team-high five turnovers.
Guard Ashton Moore, who averaged 20 points in two home games, was 0 of 7 from the field and did not score.
“We had one guy playing at a high level (White), but Matt didn’t play at that level tonight,” Driesell said. “It’s frustrating, but I’m confident we’ll have three guys playing well every night, and then we’ll be where we want to be.”
Wake Forest made 9 of 18 from 3-point range, but shot just 53 percent from the foul line.
“We’ve got to focus on the defensive end,” Driesell said. “Offensively, I think we’re getting the shots we can. It’s all defense and we’re going to keep grinding on that end.”