Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Florida State's Xavier Rathan-Mayes makes a steal against Wake Forest's Mitchell Willbekin and heads for a breakaway score during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2016, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State won 88-72. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)
AP Photo/Steve Cannon

Second-half run powers No. 20 Florida St. over Wake Forest

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State rarely trailed in non-conference play. So when the 20th-ranked Seminoles found themselves down by eight points less than 6 minutes into Wednesday’s Atlantic Coast Conference opener against Wake Forest, coach Leonard Hamilton knew he was going to find out who on his young team could handle playing from behind.

After one test, FSU could say it handled itself well.

After trailing for most of the game, the Seminoles went on a run of 17 straight points over a 4-minute span in the second half as they posted an 88-72 victory over the Demon Deacons.

“I think we are growing and maturing through the process. The quality of our depth was a big factor,” Hamilton said.

Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes each scored 23 points and led the Seminoles during the decisive run as Bacon had seven points and Rathan-Mayes five. Florida State trailed 66-61 before making seven straight shots from the field and forcing Wake to commit four turnovers as it took a 78-66 lead with 4:50 remaining.

“We were able to get out and run and play in the full court set. I think we did a really good job of locking in defensively,” said Rathan-Mayes, who had a season-high in points. “Once we were able to do that it sparked our offense and we were able to go on a little bit of a run.”

Jonathan Isaac added 13 points and CJ Walker had 12 for Florida State (12-1, 1-0), which has won nine straight for the first time since 2003-04 and is off to its best start since going 16-1 in 1988-89.

The Demon Deacons (9-3, 0-1) were looking for their first road win in a conference opener since 2006-07 but couldn’t contend with Florida State’s size. Center Doral Moore suffered a leg injury 2 minutes into the game and did not return and leading scorer John Collins was held to two points.

Keyshawn Woods and Bryant Crawford led Wake with 16 points each.

“We definitely let them off the hook,” Woods said. “We were up by one at halftime, then had a five-point lead (in the second half), and they hit us in the mouth and we didn’t respond.”

BIG PICTURE

Wake Forest: If the Demon Deacons are going to be competitive in the conference this season, they can’t have any bad games from Collins. The sophomore forward, who came into the game averaging 17.3 points and 10.4 rebounds, spent most of the second half in foul trouble and was 1 of 3 from the field.

Florida State: Instead of forcing things like they did last season, the Seminoles worked their way back and were able to eventually take control in the second half. Things now get more difficult as five of FSU’s next six opponents are ranked.

MILESTONE

A layup by Rathan-Mayes with 15:47 left in the first half made the junior the 46th player in school history to go over 1,000 points for his career. Rathan-Mayes’ father, Tharon, played at FSU from 1988-90 and scored 1,260 points. According to Florida State, this is the first father-son duo in ACC history to both score 1,000 points.

“It feels amazing. When I committed to Florida State I wanted to do something special in honor of my dad,” Rathan-Mayes said. “Just to be in the 1,000-point club, and be the first father-son duo to do that in ACC history it means the world to me.”

TIP-INS

Bacon has scored in double figures in 23 straight games, which is the longest current streak in the conference. … After making 16 3-pointers in a win over LSU on Dec. 22, Wake Forest was 10 of 21 from the perimeter. It is the fifth time this season they have had 10 or more 3-pointers. … Florida State made its first seven shots from the line but were 16 of 24 the rest of the game.

UP NEXT

Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons host Clemson on Saturday in the first of two meetings between the teams this season.

Florida State: The Seminoles have their first ACC road game on Saturday against No. 12 Virginia. FSU has not defeated a ranked conference foe on the road since 2012.

More AP college basketball at http://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

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Pregame Shootaround: No. 1 North Carolina back in action

Kennedy Meeks, Joel Berry II
Associated Press
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GAME OF THE DAY: Richmond at Wake Forest, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN3)

Wake Forest picked up a result over the weekend that is better than some may realize, coming back to win at Bucknell after going through a 2014-15 season in which they went 2-10 on the road. Now Danny Manning’s Demon Deacons host a Richmond team that should be a factor in the Atlantic 10 race, one that’s led by forwards Terry Allen and T.J. Cline and guard ShawnDre’ Jones. Wake, which is still without the injured Codi Miller-McIntyre, will counter with talented forwards Devin Thomas and Konstantinos Mitoglou and a freshman guard in Bryant Crawford who’s gotten off to a good start to his college career.

THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Illinois at Providence, 7:00 p.m. (FS1)

Look, you don’t pass up any opportunity to watch Providence’s Kris Dunn do his thing at the point; he’s appointment television. Tonight’s matchup with the Fighting Illini should be interesting, as John Groce’s team has faced two solid opponents in North Florida (loss) and North Dakota State (win). Mike Thorne Jr. has played well thus far, and Illinois has junior wing Malcolm Hill as well. They aren’t at full strength, but Illinois has the pieces to challenge the Friars if not leave Providence with the win.

SIX THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. Top-ranked North Carolina is back in action, as they’ll host Wofford in Chapel Hill (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Guards Joel Berry II, Nate Britt and wing Theo Pinson have gotten off to good starts, but it would be nice to see UNC get Justin Jackson going after two quiet outings to begin his sophomore campaign.

2. After having their season-opening game in Okinawa cancelled after one half of basketball, No. 10 Gonzaga opens its season at home against Northern Arizona (10:00 p.m.). How the Bulldog guards deal with NAU’s Kris Yanku will be interesting to watch, not to mention how Mark Few uses the triumvirate of Kyle Wiltjer, Przemek Karnowski and Domas Sabonis on the court at the same time.

3. No. 21 Purdue will look to win its third straight game, as they host Incarnate Word (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Will senior center A.J. Hammons, who’s been held out of Purdue’s exhibition and first two regular season games for unspecified reasons, be available to play? If so, this is a good opportunity to see how head coach Matt Painter will juggle the rotation of Hammons, Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan.

4. What has been a tough day for Arkansas on the recruiting front could be even tougher tonight, as the Razorback host 2-0 Akron in Fayetteville (8:00 p.m., SEC+). Moses Kingsley accounted for 22 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in the Hogs’ season-opening win, and he’ll have to be a force throughout the season given Arkansas’ limited front court options.

5. Cincinnati, which has won its first two games in blowout fashion, hits the road to take on Bowling Green (7:00 p.m., ESPN3). Mick Cronin’s Bearcats are a team to keep an eye on this season, not only in the American Athletic Conference but nationally as well.

6. Just a couple days removed from picking up a win at rival New Mexico State, New Mexico hosts Loyola-Chicago (9:00 p.m.) in what should be an entertaining matchup. While UNM’s Cullen Neal and Loyola’s Milton Doyle are two players to watch so is UNM guard Elijah Brown, who won Mountain West Player of the Week honors after scoring 31 points Sunday night.

OTHER NOTABLE GAMES

  • UC Irvine at UCF, 7:00 p.m.
  • IUPUI at NC State, 7:00 p.m.
  • Buffalo at Saint Joseph’s, 7:00 p.m.
  • Southern Utah at UNLV, 10:30 p.m.

Wake Forest suspends Hudson, Watson from hoop team

Donte Grantham, Cornelius Hudson
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) Wake Forest coach Danny Manning has suspended sophomores Cornelius Hudson and Rondale Watson from the team for violating athletic department rules.

Manning announced the suspensions Saturday but did not specify what the violations were. He says they can return once they meet the undisclosed criteria for reinstatement.

Hudson is a forward who started 10 of 31 games last season and averaged 7.5 points and 3.1 rebounds. Watson is a guard who averaged 1.5 points and 0.8 rebounds while appearing in 12 games in 2014-15.

Wake Forest’s Codi Miller-McIntyre out 4-to-6 weeks

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Wake Forest will potentially begin the 2015-16 season without starting point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre. Head coach Danny Manning announced on Monday that the 6-foot-3 senior will miss 4-to-6 weeks following surgery on his foot to repair a fracture.

An honorable mention All-ACC selection as a junior, Miller-McIntyre averaged 14.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game last season. Without Miller-McIntyre, Wake Forest can turn to freshman Bryant Crawford to handle point guard responsibilities while their star player recovers.

If Miller-McIntyre is back in the time mentioned in the Wake Forest release, then he shouldn’t miss much game action for the Demon Deacons. It also might give Crawford more run in practice with first-team players and build up chemistry that could help the team down the road.

After a 13-19 record during the 2014-15 season, Wake Forest is hoping for a turnaround year behind four seniors and a couple of solid recruiting classes. The loss of Miller-McIntyre won’t make things easier, but this shouldn’t derail the season.

Wake Forest lands four-star 2016 center Samuel Japhet-Mathias

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 10:  Head coach Danny Manning of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons reacts during action against the Virginia Tech Hokies during a first round game of the ACC basketball tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 10, 2015 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
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Wake Forest added the fourth piece to its 2016 recruiting class on Tuesday as 6-foot-10 four-star center Samuel Japhet-Mathias committed to the Demon Deacons.

Head coach Danny Manning has his center of the future to go along with a class that includes three-star forward Donovan Mitchell, three-star point guard Brandon Childress and three-star shooting guard Richard Washington.

Japhet-Mathias was a backup on the PSA Cardinals this EYBL season and he was productive in the minutes he saw. Playing in 11 games this spring and summer, Japhet-Mathias averaged 13 minutes a game and put up 4.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. A native of England, Japhet-Mathias spent last high school season at Vermont Academy, but opted to go to England and be a member of the Class of 2016.

Wake Forest will take Japhet-Mathias’ natural size, as he’s already 240 pounds and possessing good strength and along with 2015 recruit Doral Moore, the program has two big men to work with in the future.

Wake Forest dismissed senior point guard for rules violation

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Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning announced on Tuesday that Madison Jones has been dismissed from the program.

Manning cited a violation of athletics department policy as the reason for the dismissal.

Jones, a 6-foot-1 senior, averaged 4.7 points and 3.0 assists and started six games as a junior. He started the first three games of the year before being replaced by freshman Mitchell Wilbekin. Jones was suspended from all basketball-related activities on March 24th of this year, after Wake Forest’s season had come to a close, and was reinstated in late-May.

Manning said that Jones “needed to make better decisions” in order to earn his place back on the team, but in May, when Jones was reinstated, noted that he had “made great strides.”