CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Wake Forest coach Danny Manning likes bringing Olivier Sarr off the bench because of the energy he brings to the floor.
Sarr — and his self-proclaimed alter ego — don’t mind the role one bit.
The 7-foot center provided energy and in a decisive second half for the Demon Deacons, who blew a 3-point game at halftime into a second-half advantage that reached as many as 24 points and rolled past Davidson 82-70 Friday night in a neutral site game. Brandon Childress led the Demon Deacons with 18 points and seven assists, while Sarr added 15 points and 12 rebounds off the bench.
Sarr was the difference in the second half, dominating the glass on both ends. On one play he grabbed an offensive rebound, scored and drew the foul, prompting him to clench his fists, tip back his head and scream at the ceiling.
Sarr laughed when thinking about his reaction, saying that when he’s on the basketball court he becomes a “second person.”
“It’s not me, it’s somebody else out there,” Sarr said with a laugh.
When asked if he likes that second person, he replied, “I do!”
Manning likes it too.
He hasn’t considered moving Sarr into the starting lineup because he feels like the big man plays better off the bench.
“He’s still playing starter minutes,” Manning said. “To me that doesn’t matter. I played 15 years in the NBA, so coming in off the bench, starting, it’s all a part of it. He’s going to get his opportunities.”
Isaiah Mucius added 11 points and 10 rebounds and Andrien White had 11 points as the Demon Deacons (3-2) held Davidson to 28% shooting from 3-point range.
Wake Forest broke open a tight game by making 11 of their first 12 shots from the field to the start the second half, including a barrage of 3-pointers from Childress, White and Mucius.
“Some of those 3-point shots just sent the dagger right into your heart,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. “We had a difficult time responding to that.”
Kellan Grady had 20 points and Jon Axel Gudmundsson had 17 for Davidson (2-3), which had its two-game winning streak snapped. McKillop said he’s a little concerned how the loss will affect his team’s confidence moving forward.
Wake Forest: This was a bit of redemption after losing to Charlotte 67-65 in overtime on Sunday. Sarr didn’t start but despite Manning’s comments, it’s fair to wonder how long that will last. He was extremely difficult to stop in the paint and has the potential to be one of the ACC’s top big men.
Davidson: The Wildcats received some votes as a preseason top 25 team, but they are off to a disappointing start with three losses in five games and McKillop may need to mix up his lineup. The Wildcats aren’t shooting the 3 as well as they have in the past and don’t seem to be attacking the hole enough to keep teams honest.
BROWN TO HAVE MRI
Demon Deacons guard Chaundree Brown, the team’s second-leading scorer at 15.8 points per game, sat out with a left ankle injury. Brown sustained the injury in Wednesday’s practice and Manning said he will have an MRI on Saturday.
Sharone Wright Jr. missed the game due to an illness.
STOPPING THE 3
Childress said the goal coming into the game was to speed up the Wildcats and guard the 3-point line. That seemed to work as Davidson never really got in sync on offense and shot 7 of 25 from 3-point range.
“We tried to run them off the line,” Childress said. “Kellan Grady is a tough player and he made some shots, but we wanted to make other guys put the ball in the basket.”
SPECTRUM CENTER WOES
The Wildcats never seem to play well at the Spectrum Center, home of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, falling to 1-7 in the arena
Wake Forest: Travel to Anaheim, California to face Charleston in the first round of the Wooden Legacy.
Davidson: Face Marquette Thursday night as part of the Orlando Invite.
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