The last time Wake Forest started a season 12-0, its streak included a win over Radford.
The sixth-ranked Demon Deacons will try to keep their perfect record intact on Tuesday when they meet the visiting Highlanders for the first time since the 2000-01 season.
Backed by one of the nation’s best offenses and defenses, Wake Forest (11-0) is off to the seventh 11-0 start in school history, and a win over Radford (4-8) would mark its fourth 12-0 start and first since 2000-01.
Its previous victory over the Highlanders, 92-52 on Dec. 18, 2000, was the ninth in a row, a stretch that ended at North Carolina. The Demon Deacons began 13-0 in 1996-97, 14-0 in 1980-81, and had a school-record 15-0 start in 1926-27.
Wake Forest, one of eight remaining unbeaten Division I teams, is equally strong at both ends of the court, averaging 84.6 points per game while shooting 52.1 percent from the field. The Demon Deacons have also held opponents to 62.3 points and 35.6 percent shooting.
“We felt like we earned it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s like we didn’t prove ourselves yet,” guard Ishmael Smith said. “We didn’t have that big win where you sit back and say, ‘This team is for real.’”
Wake Forest has also seemed to get one of its glaring weaknesses under control. Before their 95-54 win Dec. 22 at East Carolina, the Demon Deacons averaged 18.3 turnovers per game.
Against the Pirates, they committed a season-low eight with none in the second half, and had a season-best 28 assists.
Smith played a large role in that success, contributing 11 points and nine assists in a season-high 25 minutes off the bench. Last season, the junior was Wake Forest’s starting point guard with current leading scorer Jeff Teague at shooting guard. However, preseason foot surgery meant Teague, a point guard in high school, had to take over Smith’s spot at the point.
While the sophomore has scored a team-leading 18.7 points per game, he has also averaged 4.2 turnovers per contest. Teague, however, tied a season low with two against East Carolina after committing 14 in the two previous games.
Freshman forward Al-Farouq Aminu has averaged 17.5 points and 10.0 rebounds over the past two games, while junior center Chas McFarland has averaged 17.0 points and 11.5 rebounds in that same span.
After facing Radford, Wake Forest’s gets two major tests. The Demon Deacons, coming off consecutive road wins at Richmond and East Carolina, visit BYU on Saturday before opening ACC play against top-ranked North Carolina on Jan. 11.
BYU currently holds a Division I-record 53-game home winning streak.
With a 104-66 victory Saturday over Division III Shenandoah, the Highlanders snapped a four-game losing streak and won for the second time in their last 10 games.
Junior center Artsiom Parakhouski, who has averaged a team-best 14.4 points and 9.4 rebounds, led the way with 18 points and 13 boards for his fifth double-double this season.
The Highlanders are 0-14 against ACC opponents, but narrowly fell at Virginia 68-66 on Nov. 21.
Wake Forest leads the all-time series 3-0.