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The Daily Tar Heel

Deacons' Pressure Breaks UNC

After Saturday's game against Wake Forest, the Tar Heels better look again.

The No. 19 Demon Deacons bedeviled the Tar Heels with their defensive press, harassing the team to a 84-62 defeat in front of 21,293 at the Smith Center.

"Obviously it's frustrating, especially when, for the most part, we did it to ourselves," said senior forward Jason Capel, who scored 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting. "Wake Forest did a good job playing defense, but we've got to get the ball past half court. We can't give them free opportunities, free layups. We can't give them three and four opportunities to score on their offensive end. That's our fault."

Wake coach Skip Prosser threw a three-quarter court press at the Tar Heels (5-6, 1-1 in the ACC), and, with the athleticism of the Deacons (11-3, 2-0), North Carolina struggled to get the ball down the court. UNC freshman point guard Melvin Scott suffered the most from the press, coughing up the ball five times in five minutes of play in the first half.

Scott played four minutes in the second half, turning the ball over once more and finishing the game with one assist.

"I turned it over early," Scott said. "I didn't get a real good rhythm. They came out very loose; I think they were very loose in the beginning of the game, and I think that was the key."

The Deacons stormed out of the gate on a 10-2 run that was aided by three of Scott's turnovers. After UNC took a timeout, Adam Boone replaced Scott at the point.

Although Boone provided a steadier hand for the Tar Heels, they still turned over the ball 12 times in the first half en route to a 48-34 deficit. During halftime, Wake coach Skip Prosser told his team not to let up the pressure.

"We kept talking throughout the game, through halftime: 'Don't even glance at the scoreboard,'" Prosser said. "'Just keep attacking and attacking and attacking.'"

Two straight 3-pointers from Capel and Jackie Manuel closed the gap to eight in the opening minutes of the second half, but a thundering follow dunk from Antwan Scott sparked the Deacons to 28-8 run to put the game out of reach. UNC went 11 minutes, 42 seconds during the run without scoring a field goal.

Leading Wake's offense and press was 6-foot-6 junior forward Josh Howard, who led all scorers with 20 points and had nine rebounds.

"Having him up front, 6-6, long arms, quick, he causes problems," said UNC coach Matt Doherty. "He cuts down your vision as a point guard. You're more focused on him than where your looks are. He does an excellent job at the front of that press."

The Sports Editor can be reached at sports@unc.edu.

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