Demon Deacons present inside-outside threat for Pitt in ACC Tournament
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Coron Williams watched as Robert Morris' NCAA Tournament dreams were dashed, then kept Wake Forest's postseason hopes alive.
Williams experienced the desperation and one-and-done drama of March Madness with the Colonials.
Now in his first season with the Demon Deacons, the 6-foot-1 guard had his best performance in the ACC Tournament first round.
Williams scored a game-high 25 points, making 7 of 8 shots from the field and 4 of 5 3-pointers, to lead Wake Forest to an 81-69 victory over Notre Dame on Wednesday.
“If you don't come out here and play your hardest, you can be done for the year,” Williams said.
“For me, it's going to be my career, so I want to keep on playing. There's a focus. There's a focus about it for me,” said sophomore forward Devin Thomas, a Harrisburg native whose 17 points and 10 rebounds opened the perimeter for Williams' 3s.
“He's got great strength around the bucket,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said of Thomas, a Central Dauphin graduate. “He's able to drive it from 15, 18 feet. We've had no answers for him twice. You know, we tried a lot of different guys on him, three or four big bodies on him. We came down a couple times and doubled, and they'd kick and hit a 3.”
Thomas had 17 points and nine rebounds in an 80-65 loss to Pitt on Jan. 11, but Wake Forest is 6-1 when he has double-doubles this season.
“When we he gets double-digit rebounds, our record is very, very good,” Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “He was very aggressive going to the rim. He felt very confident. His quickness and explosiveness was to our advantage around the paint area. We utilized that, coupled that with really good perimeter shooting started by Coron here.”
Williams is a 3-point specialist who made 209 in three seasons at Robert Morris. He transferred for his graduate year to Wake Forest, where 3-pointers have accounted for 60.9 percent of his field goals. It proved to be a big blow for the Colonials, who lost to Mount St. Mary's in the NEC championship game Tuesday.
Defending 3-pointers has been a weakness for Pitt, which allowed ACC opponents an average of 6.4 a game. Its past three opponents — Notre Dame (12), N.C. State (seven) and Clemson (nine) — have exploited the perimeter defense. But Pitt held Wake Forest to 25.9 percent shooting (7 of 27) and had a 38-28 rebounding advantage in the first meeting.
The Panthers led by as many as 22 points as Lamar Patterson scored 27 points and Talib Zanna had 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.
“What I remember is getting beat very badly on the boards,” Bzdelik said. “I can't remember specifically the numbers, but they pretty much manhandled us around the rim. Obviously, we're going to have to really do a great job of finding bodies, hitting them first, carving out space. Most definitely, that's the biggest thing that I remember about the game.”
Kevin Gorman is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @KGorman_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt swingman Jones ready for breakout season
- Clemson’s Stoudt is one of the unheralded ACC QBs trying to break out
- ACC notebook: Pitt predicted to finish 6th in Coastal Division
- Pitt safety Vinopal hopes extra conditioning pays off
- Motivated by his upbringing, Pitt’s Boyd exceeding expectations
- ACC bracing for NCAA rules changes involving coaches and athletes
- Pitt hoops team will play in Bahamas
- Nothing is sweeter for Pitt’s Jeter than summer league
- Zanna among players working toward NBA goal in summer leagues