Wake Forest’s Al-Farouq Aminu is not producing like your typical freshman. Neither is Indiana’s Tom Pritchard.
The two talented first-year forwards will face off on Wednesday night at Lawrence Joel Coliseum as the No. 15 Demon Deacons host the Hoosiers in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
After its 87-74 victory over Baylor on Sunday in the championship of the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., Wake Forest (6-0) has a chance for its first 7-0 start since 2003-04, when it opened with 11 straight wins.
Aminu posted his third double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds, L.D. Williams had 15 points and 10 boards and James Johnson added 14 points with 14 rebounds against the Bears as the Demon Deacons grabbed 62 rebounds in all.
It marked the most rebounds in a game for Wake Forest since it had 66 in a 78-73 double overtime victory over Texas Tech on Nov. 18, 2005.
“I thought we played incredibly hard, with a lot of energy and a lot of emotion,” said Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio, whose team is averaging 46.0 rebounds per game - third in the nation. “It manifested itself on the defensive end and it showed itself on the backboard.”
Aminu averaged 14.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and shot 59.3 percent from the field in three tournament victories to earn ACC Rookie of the Week honors. On the season, he is averaging 13.3 points and leads Wake Forest with 9.5 rebounds per game.
Jeff Teague, the Demon Deacons’ leading scorer at 21.0 points per game, had 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Chas McFarland added 11 points as all five starters scored in double figures for the first time this season.
Indiana (4-2) tries for its third consecutive win after defeating Cornell 72-57 on Sunday, just three days after returning to Bloomington from its seventh-place finish at the Maui Invitational. Pritchard, who averaged 13.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in three games in Maui, led the Hoosiers with a career-high 23 points and made all seven of his field-goal attempts versus the Big Red.
It was the top shooting performance by an Indiana player since Jared Jeffries went 8-for-8 against Wisconsin on Feb. 24, 2001.
“It was a long trip,” said Pritchard, who is the Big Ten’s leading freshman scorer at 15.8 points per game and is shooting 64.8 percent from the floor. “We were pretty quiet in the locker room and coach was worried about that, but we started off strong.”
Fellow freshman Nick Williams scored a season-high 18 points and went 8-for-12 from the field as the Hoosiers shot 55.3 percent as a team - the second straight game they’ve shot better than 55 percent.
Indiana, though, will have a tougher task on Wednesday as it faces a Wake Forest team that has held five of its six opponents below 36 percent shooting. The Demon Deacons are among the nation’s leaders in field goal defense at 34.4 percent.
Wake Forest defeated Indiana 100-67 on Dec. 2, 2003, in the only previous meeting between these teams.