Bzdelik tries to block out negative reactions
WINSTON-SALEM – After two losing campaigns in his first two season and a slow start to his third, Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik continues to be the target of criticism among some of the Demon Deacons supporters.
Some wanted him gone two years ago as Wake crashed and burned on the way to an 8-24 record The patience of others is wearing thin and average attendance so far this season is just above 7,000 per game.
If Bzdelik is aware of what is being said about him in the media and on the internet, he isn’t acknowledging it.
“Personally, I have no idea what has been said or written,” Bzdelik said after the Deacons crushed outmanned Furman 79-55 at Joel Coliseum on Tuesday. “I could care less. There wasn’t a point of emphasis about anything other than we play the kind of basketball that we are capable of, and have these players learn what it takes to win at this level. The point of emphasis was we got down and worked on our mental toughness, out time-and score situations, defending better and rebounding better.”
Taking advantage of a smaller, slower team that has beaten Southern Wesleyan, Brevard and Presbyterian, the Deacons tied their best offensive output of the season and posted by far their biggest margin of victory (12 over Radford was the previous high).
But, before the Deacons started rolling, they got off to another slow start as they trailed by as many as six early before they started knocking the Paladins’ offense off kilter with a zone press late in the first half. Wake trailed by three before going on a 10-0 run to the end of the half and then took full advantage of their superior height and quickness to put the game away in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
“To start off, we were trading baskets and we really can’t have that happen” said C.J. Harris, who led the Deacons with 20 points. “We just weren’t getting stops. They would get an offensive rebound or we didn’t get back on defense in transition. We have to start the game with three straight stops which is our goal.”
With the victory, Wake improved to 5-5 with nonconference games at UNC Greensboro on Saturday and at home against Xavier next Wednesday left before starting conference play at Duke on Jan. 5.
“It was another game in which we could get better,” said Travis McKie, who added 16 points and six rebounds. “it was confidence better especially for our young team,. It was good for the fans to see the ball go through the basket. We’ve got only two more nonconference games and then we go right to Cameron. The real season is about to start. We’ve got to get ready as much as we can so this game definitely helped.”