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Cougars stomp Red Rams

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WAKE FOREST - Wake Forest's boys basketball team only trailed once the entire game as they pounded Franklinton 61-47 at home Tuesday.

The Cougars were down 3-0 to start the match, but then pulled off an 11-0 run to take an 11-3 lead in the first quarter. After that, it was smooth sailing for Wake Forest.

Wake Forest scored most of their points off of 3-point shots in the first quarter. The Cougars made four 3-pointers in the first quarter, with three of them coming from A.J. Smalls. 

Wake Forest head coach Todd Seymour said that hot shooting from outside helped the team get ahead early and they never looked back from there.

"We knew Franklinton was going to play a lot of zone defense," Seymour said. "We knew we had an opportunity to hit some 3-pointers. We hit seven in the first half, which is great. That brought Franklinton out of the zone and forced them to play man defense the rest of the second half."

After going into the second quarter with a 16-9 lead, Wake Forest extended that advantage to 24-11. The Cougars went into halftime up 33-24.

In the third quarter, Wake Forest only scored 12 points, but held Franklinton to seven to go up 45-31. The Cougars took their first 20-point lead of the night up 52-32 in the fourth quarter. Wake Forest cruised to victory from there to finish with a 61-47 win.

"I was a little upset that we didn't put this game away sooner," Seymour said. "We were up 14 points at one point in the first half. Franklinton got back in it after calling a timeout. I was proud of the guys for how well they fought in the second half and playing well defensively. They did what we need to do to win."

Wake Forest's offense did a great job sharing the ball around against Franklinton. The Cougars had four players score in double digits. Two freshmen, Smalls and Nigel Lucas, led the way with 12 points each. Andres Prince, a junior, chipped in 11 points and junior T.J. Walton scored 10 points.

"Two of our top scorers are injured right now," Seymour said. "We've had to become more balanced offensively out of necessity. The guys have to find ways to be more balanced. A.J. Smalls shot the ball really well in the first half. Seth Clifton shot the ball really well. Isaiah Pipkin has given us a boost as a big man inside. Nigel Lucas played great as well. The two freshmen who started for us did a lot of great things."

With the loss, Franklinton dropped to 2-7 overall. The Red Rams have still not won a game on the road this season at 0-4.

With the win, Wake Forest improved to 3-4 overall and 3-1 at home. The Cougars have also struggled on the road with an 0-3 record. Wake Forest has also been having a difficult time scoring the basketball with their injured starters out, as the team as yet to score more than 65 points in a game this year.

"I want us to work on paying attention to details," Seymour said. "We're still missing some things offensively. We have little things to work on. Our guys are young and growing up. They are playing better every night. If we keep improving, I'll be happy with it."

Wake Forest will play Grace Christian in the Bunn Holiday Classic tournament Dec. 26 at 4:30 p.m. Franklinton will take on South Granville on the road Friday Dec. 20 at 7:30 p.m. Then the Red Rams will play Middle Creek in the South Granville Holiday Tournament Dec. 26 at 12:30 p.m.