GAME NOTES: Both the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and Pittsburgh Panthers will put their winning records to the test Saturday as they square off in Atlantic Coast Conference action at the Petersen Events Center.
Wake Forest jumped out to a strong start on the season, but has lost two of its last three games, including its most recent contest against Virginia. The Deacons dropped the game to the Cavaliers Wednesday, 74-51, for the team's first defeat in conference play.
Pittsburgh started the season 10-0, then suffered a crushing one-point loss to Cincinnati. The Panthers have rebounded nicely, winning four in a row including double-digit defeats of ACC squads NC State and Maryland. Pittsburgh downed Maryland, 79-59, in the team's last outing on Monday.
This is the first time these two teams have met, not only in ACC play but in the two programs' history. It's the first and only time they'll play each other this season.
Wake Forest was shut down by Virginia on Wednesday. The Cavaliers scored the first 11 points of the game and never trailed against the Deacons. Coron Williams was the leading Wake scorer, and the only player for his team in double digits, netting 11 points on 4-of-11 shooting off the bench. The Panthers as a team shot 35.4 percent from the floor, and were 4-of-17 from 3- point range in the contest. The Deacons only managed to grab 25 rebounds as well, with Travis McKie finishing as the team's top rebounder at four.
Codi Miller-McIntyre leads the team this season in scoring with 15.9 ppg on 46.7 percent shooting from the field. The guard is the team's leading passer as well, dishing out a total of 59 assists this season. Devin Thomas is second in scoring at 10.7 ppg, and leads the team in rebounding with an 8.9 rpg clip. The Panthers as a whole are averaging 73.8 ppg this season.
Pittsburgh didn't have much trouble handling ACC opponent Maryland Monday, as the Panthers raced to a 79-59 victory behind 53 percent shooting from the floor. Lamar Patterson paced the Panthers with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting, and added five rebounds in the win. Durand Johnson netted a career-high 17 points for Pittsburgh, burying 3-of-4 3-point attempts in the contest. The team shot 60 percent from beyond the arc, hitting 6-of-10 3-point attempts.
Patterson has been one of the more consistent players in the country, helping the Panthers out to a 14-1 record as they move into the thick of their conference schedule. Patterson averages 17.3 ppg and tops the squad with 66 total assists this season. Talib Zanna is next on the roster at 12.1 ppg, but paces Pittsburgh with 7.7 rpg and 11 blocked shots. The Panthers are shooting 48.3 percent from the floor and holding opponents to a mere 58.9 ppg.
Wake Forest played pretty lousy in the team's last outing. That effort can't be duplicated against a tough Panthers squad in Pittsburgh. Otherwise the results could be equally embarrassing.
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