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February 23, 2012

Bzdelik and player interviews

Winston-Salem, NC - Wake Forest (12-15, 3-10 ACC) has had nearly a week to recoup from its 74-56 loss at Miami Feb. 23, and prepare for its next opponent Boston College Saturday at 1:00 PM ET.

The Demon Deacons defeated the Eagles 71-56 at Chestnut Hill earlier this season.

Jeff Bzdelik, Ty Walker, Travis McKie and C.J. Harris spoke with Deacons Illustrated exclusively before Wednesday's practice.

Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik

You have to be real pleased with the way your team played against Georgia Tech and in the first half at Miami. What are your thoughts? "Yeah, we are getting better. What happened in the Miami game was simply in that second half little things catch up with us that are big things. For example each one of our players didn't block off on a possession and allowed them to get 15 offensive rebounds. Many of which were in the second half, and that adds up."

"They banged a couple of threes off those offensive rebounds, then we missed a couple of shots and turned it over, and next thing you know it was an 13-0 run for them in a short period of time that gave them the separation they needed."

"We can't have those kinds of lapses. We play well, and our intentions are good for a good 30 minutes, maybe even 35, but it's those five minutes or so that we don't play well that becomes very devastating to us."

You said for someone to have confidence they need to have success. Do you feel like your team is beginning to have that success it needs to have a growth in confidence? "Obviously we've got an opportunity with the home game coming up to win our second home game in a row. That's something that's within our grasp, so we need to make sure that we take full advantage of this opportunity."

Do you like to have a week like this this late in the season with such a long gap in between games? "Our guys needed a couple of days off, they did. We've been playing a lot of guys a lot of minutes. I've been out recruiting. I know that [Tuesday] with the individual workouts with the assistants they had great energy. They were there early, stayed late. They did a really good job."

You said Tony Chennault stayed late shooting the other night. You must really like the attitude of this team right now. "The attitude of this team is very, very good. It's been very good. Our intentions are good. We just need to play better longer in games and not have those mental lapses that we have in regard to blocking people off and executing the offense a little bit better when under duress."

I know you said it doesn't matter who plays, but what has this new lineup combination given you? "Again, I think the responsibility of the starting lineup is to get us off to a good start, and it has the last couple of games; no question. It's an ever-changing situation."

What did you like about what your team did the last time you played against them at Boston College? "We defended really well, and we did a good job scoring in the paint. I think we had 40-something in the paint points. I think they hit only four threes, which is something that they thrive on. The reason that we were able to do that was Ty Walker and Carson [Desrosiers] did a really good job on their big guy inside, so we were able to stay attached to their shooters."

Wake Forest center Ty Walker

What's this week been like for you? "I guess the week it's been somewhat relaxing, but we had an individual workout [Tuesday] about 45 minutes, so it was pretty. It was pretty intense. They're just trying to keep us in shape, just ready to get back on the practice floor and get ready to work."

What's it like to have a week like this one this far into the season? Is it good? Do you like it? "I think it plays a significant role, because it gives us a week to prepare our legs, just be ready physically, mentally, emotionally for Boston College."

"We beat them at their place, so they're going to come in with a chip on their shoulder. We have to be ready to take their punches and dish out some as well."

If you look at this Boston College team it's a much-improved team. Since they played you guys they beat Florida State and played so well against Duke. Where would you say this Boston College team is at? What makes them good? "I think they're a sneaky basketball team. Some people write them off. Me personally, I don't write anybody off. Anybody can get beat on any given night. We take them seriously. They're a good basketball program, and I don't take anything away from them. We're going to get their best, and they have to get our best."

What did you guys do well against them last time that helped you all out? "We took away much of their interior and their three-point shooting. Their big man on the inside he's a second move, third move kind of guy, so we limited him offensively. We stopped their three-point shooting. We closed out, made them run off the three-point line and come into the lane where I try to do the best I can in terms of blocking shots."

Is there anything else that you would like to share about you, this season, or what Saturday's game means for you guys? "Saturday's game is big. I hope there's a good crowd out here to enjoy the basketball game. We're going to get their best. They're going to get our best, and it's going to be an all-out brawl."

Wake Forest forward Travis McKie

You guys had a good win against Georgia Tech, and played well in the first half against Miami. Do you guys feel encouraged? "Oh yeah, we're definitely positive, because we can't change the past. All we can do is learn from it. The only thing that matters is Saturday at 1:00, how we're going to respond to the way we played last Saturday. That's the only thing that's on our mind right now."

You already beat this Boston College team. Coach said you all defended real well. What are some of the other things that you all did well that you feel like you all need to continue to be successful again this weekend? "Just play defense and rebound. That's all we've got to do. Defend for 35 seconds, and finish the possession off by getting the rebound. I think if we do that against any team in this conference we'll be able to compete and have a chance to win the game. That's basically what it comes down to."

"I think Boston College is a very young team like we were last year, but they're very good. They have very good conference wins. They beat Florida State, so they're not a team to be taken lightly at all. We just got to come out here and prepare ourselves and execute the game-plan."

Wake Forest guard C.J. Harris

What's this team doing well that you like the past couple of games against Georgia Tech and especially in the first half against Miami? "Georgia Tech, I think we did an extremely good job of fighting the entire game. They made their runs and we had our runs where we didn't score that much, but we kept fighting. We fought back."

"The Miami game, we played extremely well that first half. When they made their run in the second half we didn't retaliate. That's what we've got to work on now."

Boston College, you beat them last time, did some real nice things up there. It seems like they've really improved quite a bit, beating Florida State, played Duke pretty tough at least for that first half. What are they doing well? "The biggest thing they're doing is they're playing extremely hard. For freshmen and young guys like that that's all they know, they know how to come out and play extremely hard, buy into what their coach is saying and they're doing a great job of that. I think that's where a lot of their success is coming from."

Coach said you all defended really well last time. What are some other things you think you did well that you need to continue this time around? "I think we rebounded pretty well. I think we won the rebounding battle. Anytime we rebound well, don't turn the ball over a lot we usually win."


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