NEWARK, N.J. -- Senior forward Herb Pope continued his dominant play by scoring 26 points and grabbing 14 rebounds, leading Seton Hall to a 68-54 victory over Wake Forest Saturday night.
The victory was the fifth straight for the Pirates (8-1), with all five wins coming at home. Wake Forest fell to 6-4.It was the seventh time in nine games that Pope, averaging 21.4 points and 11 rebounds entering the game, has reached double figures in both points and rebounds. Pope made 8 of 9 shots from the floor.The Pirates broke open a close game with a solid 14-1 first-half run and never looked back, then put the game away with a 10-1 run in the second half.Fuquan Edwin fouled out with 14 points and Jordan Theodore also scored 14 points for the Pirates, who will close out a string of six straight home games with a game against Mercer next Sunday.Travis McKie paced Wake Forest with 17 points and C.J. Harris added 12.The teams met for the first time since Dec. 5, 1989, when Seton Hall won 76-74 in overtime in Greensboro, N.C.After a closely contested first 12 minutes, the Pirates pulled away with a 14-1 run, giving the Pirates a 28-15 lead with 4:47 left. Theodore and Pope had four points each in that stretch and Aaron Cosby and Freddie Wilson each nailed long 3-pointers.Seton Hall held Wake Forest without a field goal for 7:02 of the first half. The Demon Deacons broke the drought when Travis McKie hit a driving shot to cut the lead to 30-19 with 2:21 left. Seton Hall led 32-22 at intermission, with Pope leading the way with 11 points and seven rebounds.The Pirates connected on 53 percent (11 of 21) from the floor in the first half, compared to just 36 percent for Wake Forest (8 of 22).McKie hit a power layup with 16:43 left in the game to slice the Pirates' lead to 35-29, but the Demon Deacons could get no closer, as Pope continued to dominate inside on both ends of the floor.The Pirates put the game away with a 10-1 run. Edwin began it with a long 3-pointer and capped it with a driving layup, giving the Pirates their biggest lead of the game at 56-40 with 7:15 remaining.The Pirates could have cruised to an easier win if they had converted better from the free-throw line, but they made just 16 of 28 from the stripe.Wake Forest, which entered the game shooting 40 percent from 3-point range, connected on just 2 of 16 (12.5 percent) from beyond the arc.