WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. - Wake Forest's tendency to play down to its opponent reappeared Saturday evening as the Demon Deacons dropped its 8th game in the last nine outings, this time 80-72 to Boston College. The Deacs were out-rebounded by double-digits once again, this time to a foe ranked last in the ACC in the rebounding category.
At one point, the Eagles scored on 11 straight possessions, as Wake Forest simply couldn't get a defensive stop. Boston College's largest lead was only 11, and the Deacons were within striking distance for most of the game. However, the Joel Coliseum crowd saw better defense during the mascot game played at halftime, where only the creepy Mother Deacon made a shot from the field.
Boston College (8-21, 4-12 ACC) was led by forward Ryan Anderson's 24 points and seven rebounds, as well as 17 points from Olivier Hanlan. Lonnie Jackson (12 points) and Patrick Heckmann (10 points) also reached double figures for the Eagles, who shot 42 percent from the floor and 76.2 percent from the free throw line for the evening.
"In a lot of ways, when things don't go well offensively we have a tendency to put our head down, and we still haven't gotten over the hump of having the maturity to not allow when things aren't going well offensively affect the other areas of our game that matter," head coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "And that is it in a nutshell."
Wake Forest (15-14, 5-11) got 18 points apiece from Travis McKie and Devin Thomas, while Coron Williams (13 points) and Codi Miller-McIntyre (10 points) provided most of the remaining offense. The Deacs turned the ball over 12 times, 10 of which occurred in the first half. Williams agreed with his coach's assessment of his team's maturity.
"I don't know if guys thought we were just going to come in and beat them, but I felt like they were very good offensively," Williams said. "We have to be more mature about our situation. We cannot allow this adversity to hinder how we play."
An obviously emotional Thomas was very frank about who was to blame for the Deacs' struggles, and it wasn't his coach. In fact, he said, coaching has very little to do with the adversity the Deacs are facing.
"Everyone's just going to throw it back on coach," Thomas said. "It's probably 30 percent coach's fault. The rest of the 70 percent is our fault. It's all on us. It's our fault. You shouldn't have to say that about ACC players. As an athlete in the ACC, as a competitor in the ACC, there's no way you can coach competitiveness, toughness and energy, passion. You should already have that. That's what's happening right now- that's what Coach is trying to do, he's trying to coach that. He can't. No coach can."
"Coach gets us prepared every day, and some guys can't go out and play hard for him? It's really sad that it has to be like this."- Wake Forest forward Devin Thomas
Williams, a transfer graduate student, said this situation was new to him, saying he played at Robert Morris with older players who were quick to say something to make sure everyone was on the same page.
"Guys are just walking around here like zombies," he said. "I don't know what it is. Everybody has to bring it every single day. We have a few individuals who bring it, but not the whole team. That's what it is. We need a team effort, it's not individual. We need to stay together. That's the whole problem."
The Deacons have a few days to regroup before Duke comes to town on Senior Night. That game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. tip Wednesday night and will be broadcast on ESPN2. One thing is for sure: the effort shown against Boston College will result in a nationally televised disaster for the Deacs on Wednesday. The Deacs wrap up their season in Coral Gables next weekend.