By JENNA FRYER
AP Sports Writer
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The goal was to contain Josh Howard and Florida
State did it for most of the game. Then Howard stepped it up and led No. 17
Wake Forest to another victory.
Howard overcame an unusually poor game with big baskets and solid free throw
shooting while scoring 24 points to lead the Demon Deacons to the 71-60 win.
“I don’t think it was vintage Josh, but he’s played so well for us in so
many big games that he’s entitled to maybe not play so well,” coach Skip
The only senior in the starting lineup for Wake Forest (13-2, 3-2 Atlantic
Coast Conference), Howard has had to carry the Demon Deacons this season.
He almost couldn’t do it against Florida State (10-7, 1-5).
Howard committed seven turnovers and played spotty defense, allowing Tim
Pickett to score 27 points – the most an opponent has scored against Wake
Forest this season.
But with the game and Wake Forest’s 11-game home winning streak on the line,
Howard stepped it up late in the second half.
“You’re not going to hold a guy of that caliber down an entire game,”
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said. “He’s an outstanding player, he’s
destined for greatness and for the most part, I thought we did a pretty good
job on him.”
After turning the ball over on four straight possessions, Howard was briefly
taken out of the game and Florida State took a 39-38 lead while he was out.
He went back in with 12:08 to play and immediately turned the ball over when
his pass to Vytas Danelius went out of bounds.
Howard shook his head in disgust when he headed to the bench for a timeout
after the turnover, then came out of the break determined to pick up his play.
“I’ve got to get my motor running for these games,” said Howard, referring
to the 1 p.m. start, the earliest this season for Wake Forest.
“I just don’t think I was mentally ready at the start of the game and it
took me some time to get into it.”
He did in the second half, scoring seven straight points, making a jumper,
two free throws and a 3-pointer in an 11-4 run that put Wake Forest ahead
The Demon Deacons fell into another scoring drought after that and Florida
State cut the score to 54-52 with 4:12 to go.
Then Howard made two free throws and a 3-pointer that made it 59-52. He
sealed it from there with strong drives to the basket that sent him to the free
throw line, where he went 5-of-6 down the stretch and 10-of-12 for the game.
His dunk with 1:13 to play when he sprinted ahead of the defense as the
teams came out of a timeout made it 68-59.
“He showed how remarkable he is for this team,” Wake Forest guard Taron
Downey said. “He became Superman for us when we needed him and we got the
Danelius, who was benched at the start of the game for arriving late to the
morning shootaround, finished with 18 points.
After Wake Forest missed its first six shots, Danelius entered, hit a jumper
and then caught a pass under the basket and hooked it in over his head for the
Deacons’ first two field goals.
He started the second half and opened up Wake Forest’s 27-23 lead with
consecutive 3-pointers and two free throws to stretch the score to 35-27.
Florida State was hampered by its inability to get the line – the Seminoles
were 4-of-7 while Wake Forest was 21-of-27.
“They went to the line more than we did,” Pickett said. “Coach said it
would come down to free throws and we didn’t get a chance to make any.”