Teague leads Wake Forest past Bucknell, 72-56
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP)—Mark Prosser gave new Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio a pregame hug. Then, the public address announcer recognized the young Bucknell assistant—and son of the Demon Deacons’ late coach—before he received a long standing ovation.
The scene was a reminder that there would be no more memorable father-vs.-son coaching matchups—just another reason to remember Skip Prosser.
His old Wake Forest team pulled away late during a 72-56 victory against Bucknell on Sunday behind a season-high 18 points from freshman Jeff Teague.
“You hate to keep referring back to this, but, again, emotional day, obviously, with Mark being here,” Gaudio said. “I know their kids were trying to play very, very hard for Mark to come back here, and I know our kids were playing very, very hard. … I know it was difficult for him.”
L.D. Williams scored 11 points, Harvey Hale added 10, and James Johnson had 12 rebounds for the Demon Deacons (6-3), who shook off an eight-day layoff and snapped a two-game losing streak with a late 10-0 run.
Wake Forest won the second meeting of a home-and-home series that started last year to match Prosser against his son Mark, an assistant to Bison coach Pat Flannery. But this matchup took on a somber meaning when the elder Prosser died of an apparent massive heart attack in July.
Before the game, Mark Prosser exchanged hugs with several members of Wake Forest’s coaching staff, including Gaudio, Skip Prosser’s protege and best friend. He was recognized by the LJVM Coliseum public address announcer during introductions.
“It was hard, I guess, to focus on (this) basketball game even in the two weeks leading up to this,” Mark Prosser said. “It seemed so far away … it snuck up on me.”
John Griffin, the only senior in Bucknell’s starting lineup, had 16 points on 5-of-18 shooting—but was just 4-for-14 from 3-point range for the Bison (3-5). Josh Linthicum added 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Bucknell, coming off a 13-day layoff, was denied its first victory against an Atlantic Coast Conference team since 1961 and its first victory against Wake Forest in four tries.
For the most part, Bucknell followed the upset formula: shooting 32 percent from 3-point range and staying within striking distance. But the Demon Deacons took control late with 10 straight points, a solid stretch that was dominated by their guards.
“Tied game, second half, on the road at an ACC school, that’s good for us,” Prosser said. “I thought that might propel us to a little bit different conclusion to the game, but there were a couple of minutes after that didn’t go so well.”
Ish Smith started the run with a banked runner in the lane that snapped a 45-all tie and put Wake Forest ahead to stay, then followed it with a 3. Teague ended the burst with another 3-pointer to make it 55-45 with 8:19 remaining.
“Ish in the huddle was like, ‘Just play like it’s an open gym … like you’re going against me,”’ Teague said. “I hit a couple shots, and Ish, he takes over the game when he needs to.”
Teague surpassed his previous high of 15 points set against North Carolina Central and has reached double figures in two of his last three games.
“I told Jeff Teague, ‘You’re going to play well today, because you’ve practiced well and practiced hard for two days,”’ Gaudio said. “That’s exactly what I told him, and he did. Maybe with those young guys, the light switch goes on and they see that hard work pays off.”
The game was delayed 20 minutes at halftime because of an arena-wide power outage.