Wake Forest routs Indiana behind Johnson's 15 first-half points

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Ishmael Smith lobbed the alley-oop pass toward the rim, and two Wake Forest teammates tried to outjump each other for the easy dunk.

"You never know who the ball's going to," eventual dunker L.D. Williams said.

Or who's going to score with it.

With Indiana's defense focusing on top scorer Jeff Teague, James Johnson wound up scoring 15 of his 21 points in the first half, and that was plenty to lead the Demon Deacons (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) to an 83-58 win over the Hoosiers on Wednesday night.

"It all revolved around Jeff, and yet he still had a great game -- moved the ball, wasn't selfish at all, even though he was playing a big-time team, a hometown team," Johnson said. "That's what we need out of him -- we don't need a selfish player. We just need a mature player, and Jeff is that."

Williams added 16 points for the Demon Deacons (7-0), who continued their best start since 2003, when they opened with 11 straight wins in Chris Paul's freshman year.

Teague, an Indiana native who entered averaging a team-leading 21 points, scored all 14 of his points after halftime despite being the focus of the Hoosiers' box-and-one defense. Freshman teammate Al-Farouq Aminu finished with 12.

"We've got so many good players, and they're [playing that defense] on me?" Teague said. "I told L.D., Farouq and James, 'It's your time to shine. I don't know why they're box-and-one-ing, but you all are about to kill them.'"

Wake Forest shot shot 61.5 percent in pushing its record in the made-for-TV ACC/Big Ten Challenge to 5-0 at home and 8-1 overall.

The Atlantic Coast Conference's stingiest defense held the rebuilding Hoosiers (4-3) to 37.7 percent shooting and forced them into a season-high 26 turnovers -- the fifth time that first-year coach Tom Crean's freshman-laden team has turned it over at least 20 times.

"Before we can make strides, we've got to learn to compete at a higher level for a longer period of time, and before we can learn to compete, we've got to learn to talk more to one another," Crean said. "All those things that you expect with a brand new, young team, I'm learning for the first time, too, because it's just different."

Matt Roth scored 12 points, Malik Story scored 10 on 4-of-12 shooting and fellow newcomer Nick Williams had 10 rebounds for Indiana, which had its two-game winning streak snapped.

Wake Forest took its first 20-point lead less than 30 seconds into the second half when Teague's layup made it 51-31, and Indiana didn't get closer than 15 after that.

But playing for the first time since winning a holiday tournament in California, the Demon Deacons showed a few flaws in their game.

They turned it over a season-high 24 times and, after a 62-rebound performance last time out against Baylor, their rebounding advantage was just 34-30 despite having four players 6-foot-11 or taller lining up against an Indiana team with just three who are at least 6-9.

"I thought we played fast, but we didn't play efficient with our turnovers," Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio said. "We had so many squandered opportunities where we might have picked up a steal near midcourt. Instead of just gathering ourselves and throwing a pass -- we would have had a dunk at the other end.

"We've got to do what the game tells us to do. If it says you're supposed to pass, pass. If you're supposed to shoot, shoot."

Still, Wake Forest had more than enough to take care of an Indiana team with one senior -- the only player on the roster with significant minutes in last season -- in its first true road game of the year.

The Demon Deacons held the Hoosiers' leading scorer, freshman Tom Pritchard, to four points -- nearly 12 below his average -- on 1-of-7 shooting.

"They made it hard for him to get it," Crean said. "We didn't feed the post very well today at all. We were just soft with the ball."

Wake Forest took the lead for good during an Aminu-fueled 12-2 run midway through the half before pushing it into double figures by reeling off seven straight points in a minute -- a run highlighted by Smith's alley-oop pass that both Williams and Teague thought was for them, and wound up being dunked by Williams.

"Honest to goodness, if I had known Jeff was running the wing, I would have let him get it -- just because we were playing Indiana," Williams said. "We were joking about it at halftime -- 'L, you took my lob."

Johnson capped that spurt with a 3-pointer from the left wing with just under 5 minutes before the break that made it 39-25. The lead was 47-31 at halftime.