Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
As conference play draws near, the need for a third reliable, consistent offensive weapon is more apparent than ever before.
The Wake Forest basketball team shook off any post-exams rust and washed away the aftertaste of their meltdown against Seton Hall by way of beating Furman 79-55 in Joel Coliseum. The Deacons were led once again by C.J. Harris and Travis McKie, who posted 20 and 16 points respectively. The Deacs received an invaluable spark from freshman Tyler Cavanaugh, who provided 12 points and 5 rebounds, none more important than a half-ending three-pointer that extended the Wake Forest lead to 7 at the break.
Cavanaugh's production marked the third time in the past four games that he has been in double figures, which may be a ray of offensive hope for the scoring-plagued Demon Deacons. Through ten games, Wake Forest has only two players averaging in double figures (Harris and McKie). The next-closest scoring total belongs to Codi Miller-McIntyre with 7.9 a game. By comparison, Duke and North Carolina State boast five players averaging double figures per game while Boston College and Clemson each have three.
Last year's 13-18 campaign ended with only two players averaging in double figures, as well. Three guesses who they were. While there were plenty of Deacons with more than a few nights above 10 points, nobody ever assumed a consistent role as a third scorer for Jeff Bzdelik's team. That team, by the way, finished 4-12 in the ACC.
Each of the ten games played thus far has been, in many ways, an audition for the expansive cast of Freshmen we have welcomed to Winston-Salem. Make no mistake, this is going to be a difficult season with or without the emergence of a consistent third offensive threat. However, despite the team's much talked-about youth, it's imperative to find that reliable supporting cast now.
A quick look at the last two years' worth of statistics bears out how effective Wake Forest is with only two proven offensive weapons. While it's great to have players like Miller-McIntyre, Aaron Rountree and Madison Jones who have shown they can score, not knowing where the points are coming from most certainly will worry a coaching staff (much less a fan base). Nobody wants to open the season at Duke with that many question marks.
Saturday's game against UNC-G looms. Xavier looms larger. Who is it going to be?
Who's number three?