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Yellow Jackets continue to dominate Deacons

The Associated Press. Georgia Tech's Derrick Favors (14) and Norcross grad Gani Lawal, right, battle Wake Forest's Chas McFarland, center, for a rebound Thursday in Atlanta. Tech won 79-58.

The Associated Press. Georgia Tech's Derrick Favors (14) and Norcross grad Gani Lawal, right, battle Wake Forest's Chas McFarland, center, for a rebound Thursday in Atlanta. Tech won 79-58.

ATLANTA -- While Norcross grad Al-Farouq Aminu likes returning to his hometown to play Georgia Tech, his Wake Forest teammates do not.

The Yellow Jackets posted their sixth straight victory over the Demon Deacons at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on Thursday, this time pulling away in the second half for a 79-58 win before a near capacity crowd of 9,083.

"Give credit to (Tech)," Aminu said. "They played hard with a lot of energy. We know they're a good team.

"We've never been a team that's been a great offensive team this year. We have to rely on our defense, and if our defense is struggling ... we're going to have a tough time winning."

Aminu still had a strong game with team highs of 15 points and eight rebounds, but the 22nd-ranked Jackets (15-5, 4-3 in the ACC) placed five players in double figures, including Aminu's fellow Norcross alum Gani Lawal, who finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.

Nine of the 10 players who took the floor for Tech scored, led by D'Andre Bell's career-high 16 points, while the Jackets held Wake (14-4, 4-3) 19 points under its scoring average in what was a total team effort.

"I'm not really sure we can play much better than that," coach Paul Hewitt said of his Jackets, who have held teams under their season scoring average by double digits in each of their ACC victories. "Obviously in the last six minutes we did some things that we need to improve on, but overall, I thought we did a really solid job (Thursday) night."

Aminu and the Deacons gave Tech a bit of a fight early. The 6-foot-9 sophomore hit his first two shot attempts in the opening 1:19 of the game, and then hit a jumper with 57 seconds left in the first half to cut what had been the Jackets' biggest lead to just 35-29 by intermission.

But Tech turned up the pressure on Aminu after those first two made shots, holding him to just 4-of-14 shooting the rest of the way.

"We really wanted to key on him," Lawal said of his former Norcross teammate. "He's a tremendous talent. We just wanted to key on him and hope he missed."

When other Deacons tried to step up to help Aminu, freshman Derrick Favors was there to swat away. He finished a powerful defensive night with 11 points, nine rebounds and five blocked shots.

Still, Wake managed to stay close, cutting Tech's lead to 35-33 after baskets by Aminu and Ishmael Smith in the first 1:50 of the second half.

But the Jackets got a break when Wake senior L.D. Williams picked up two fouls in less than a minute to send him to the bench with four personals with 17:23 remaining.

In the 5:31 that followed, the Jackets outscored the Deacons 19-4, including five points each from Lawal and Iman Shumpert and four more from Bell to stretch their lead out to 54-37 with 11:52 remaining.

"His fourth foul was a big foul because we had broken the press," Wake coach Dino Gaudio said of Williams' departure. "He is usually very strong with the ball, but we sort of lost it. It got away from us right there. That was a tough fourth foul on him."

By the time the 6-4 senior returned with 11:18 left, Aminu had gone to the bench with his fourth foul.

Wake tried to make a couple of runs, pulling as close as 11 points after three free throws from C.J. Harris with 5:29 left.

But freshman Brian Oliver answered with a 3-pointer and two free throws over the next 53 seconds to push the lead back to 16 points, and the Jackets were never seriously challenged again.

Joining Lawal, Bell and Favors in double figures for Tech were Oliver with 13 points and Shumpert with 11.

Smith was the only other Wake player in double figures with 12 points, 10 of which came in the second half as he tried to keep the Deacons in the game with Aminu and Williams in foul trouble.