Seton Hall’s 4-game win streak on line for against Wake Forest

After four straight wins at home, the Seton Hall men’s basketball team is back in action this Saturday against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Seton Hall (7-1) is 3-2 all time against Wake Forest (6-3).

The two schools last met in 1989 on the Wake Forest campus in Winston-Salem, N.C., with the Pirates prevailing in overtime, 76-74.

The Demon Deacons have not defeated Seton Hall since 1957.

Wake Forest is led by sophomore Travis McKie, who averages 18.8 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game.

McKie has scored at least 20 points in a game three times this season.

The Demon Deacons also rely on the scoring of junior C.J. Harris, who averages 18.6 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game, and 2.6 assists per game.

Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik, now in his second season, has struggled to take control of a program that was once a national powerhouse.

Under former head coaches Dave Odom, Skip Prosser and Dino Gaudio, the program reached the NCAA Tournament 14 times, including three Sweet 16 appearances, and won an NIT Championship in 1999-00.

The Demon Deacons finished last season 12th in the Atlantic Coast Conference with an 8-24 record and were ousted in the first round of their conference tournament by Boston College.

Wake Forest is one of the youngest teams in the ACC this season with nine underclassmen, including four freshmen.

Despite the overall record last season, Wake Forest was ranked 16th in the nation with 5.4 blocks per game, 32nd in free throw shooting with a mark of 74.6 percent from the line, and was fifth in their conference from beyond the arc at 35.9 percent.

This season, Wake Forest shoots 45.8 percent from the field which ties them for No. 126 in the nation.

Seton Hall enters the game with one loss on the season and a perfect 5-0 record at home.

The team’s success is due in large part to the play of seniors Jordan Theodore and Herb Pope.

According to head coach Kevin Willard, Theodore’s ability to control the game has been integral to their game on both ends of the court.

“I don’t think there is a better point guard than [Jordan Theodore] in the country right now,” Willard said. “From the Virginia Commonwealth game on, I think we’ve been passing the ball really well, and it’s been contagious because Jordan has done such a great job.”

Theodore recorded a career-high 11 assists in the Pirates’ victory over NJIT on Tuesday and is sixth in the nation, averaging 7.6 assists per game on the season.

In addition to Theodore, fellow senior Herb Pope is ranked 11th in the nation in both scoring and rebounding, averaging 21.4 points per game and 11 rebounds per game.

According to Pope, he is too focused on the team’s current win streak to worry about his personal statistics.

“I really don’t pay any mind to that,” Pope said. “That’s for you guys to look at and write about. I just want to win. As long as we get the win, I’m satisfied.”

Tip-off on Saturday is scheduled for 8 p.m.

Assistant Managing Editor Tim LeCras contributed to this story and can be reached at timothy.lecras@student.shu.edu.

John Lopiano can be reached at john.lopiano@student.shu.edu. Follow John on Twitter @JohnLopiano

Author: Staff Writer

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