WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Al-Farouq Aminu snatched an alley-oop pass and dunked it. Wake Forest's star freshman grabbed rebounds and slammed those home, too.
Aminu had 21 points and 10 rebounds in his college debut, and the 24th-ranked Demon Deacons opened their season of high expectations Friday night by routing North Carolina Central 94-48.
"He showed you guys why he was ranked so high, and why he came with all the hype," guard Jeff Teague said. "He proved it."
So did the rest of the Demon Deacons, who led by 31 points before the Eagles made their second field goal.
"If we could bottle that and keep that intensity up for 40 [minutes], that would be outstanding," coach Dino Gaudio said.
The Demon Deacons (1-0) didn't just take the second-year Division I program out of the game early. They made it look easy, with a 16-3 run that pushed the lead into double figures for good by the first media timeout. The lead was 20 by the 8-minute mark.
"They were real quick, real crafty ... They just weren't shooting good," Aminu said.
Wake Forest finished shooting 60 percent, a marked improvement after it was an ACC-worst 43.3 percent shooting team last year.
Two of the rookies -- the 6-foot-9 Aminu and 6-11 Woods -- teamed with the 7-foot McFarland and 6-11 David Weaver to provide an overpowering post presence against an N.C. Central team that didn't dress anyone taller than 6-9.
"It was like, 'Run the floor, and don't settle for jump shots," Aminu said.
That strategy led to the kind of dominating performance that Wake Forest had been missing since Chris Paul left for the NBA after the 2004-05 season.
Ranked in the preseason for the first time since '05, the Demon Deacons were picked to finish third in the ACC behind rivals North Carolina and Duke largely because they added one of the nation's best recruiting classes to a team that returned 99 percent of its scoring and went 17-13 last season.
Making his debut with the Demon Deacons, Aminu didn't disappoint. He scored 11 points in the first 15 minutes while coming away with highlight-reel baskets on three straight trips down the court.
"We knew he was the man," Johnson said.
He certainly showed it during that signature stretch, dunking an alley-oop pass from Teague before slamming home the follow-up of Teague's miss, then slashing through two defenders for a layup to make it 39-8 with 5 minutes before the break.
By that point, N.C. Central was just 1-for-23 from the field with 11 turnovers. The Eagles finished shooting 27 percent and turned it over 22 times.
"We had a lot of inexperience that you can tell them all you want to tell them, but once you step on that floor, it's totally different," N.C. Central coach Henry Dickerson. "The inexperience and not knowing what to expect, they never recovered from that, but it would be very difficult -- even if we had made some shots -- it still would have been a situation where they would have worn us down."
N.C. Central, which went 4-26 in its first season at this level, had just eight players make the 85-mile trip from Durham and constantly kept an eye on the foul situation. Ultimately, nobody fouled out, though as Wake Forest's Gary Clark went coast to coast for a layup late in the half, Dickerson screamed at guard Michael Glasker, "Don't foul!"
Wake Forest won its 45th straight home game against instate, non-ACC opponents, and improved to 38-0 against them at the 19-year-old Joel Coliseum.
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|South Carolina State||12-4||1||19-15|
|North Carolina Central||7-9||6||13-19|
|North Carolina A&T||7-9||6||10-22|