On a night where Duke and UNC are dominating people's focus, Wake found themselves down 20 points in the second half on the road to a lower tier NC State team. While Wake Forest made a valient effort in the last 4 minutes, it was just a little too late for the Deacons to pull out a victory in Raleigh. This loss came down to a few key issues: Rebounding, Free Throws, and Defense (subcategory: Turnovers). Let's look into these areas:
Rebounding: Defensive rebounding continues to be a problem for this team. With the size that Wake Forest puts on the floor this bothers me to no end. There needs to be a more concerted effort by the entire team before we will see improvement. There were multiple times this team failed to box out on a missed free throw giving NC State additional opportunities to score. FREE THROWS. You have a designated spot clearly labeled on the floor, just protect that spot. Until Wake improves here they will continue to put themselves in compromising situations against teams with less talent.
Free Throws: Wake fouled early and often, sending State to the free throw line 31 times, to Wake Forest's 16. Additionally the Demon Deacons only shot 56% from the line. They need to convert on those points more often. Wake was -14 points from the free throw line and that really hurts a team.
Defense: State did an excellent job switching defenses often to confuse the Wake offense. Showing several different zone looks, including a box-and-one on Teague, the Pack was able to force the Deacs into 18 three-point attempts. Furthermore, Teague was clearly less assertive due to the zone and only attempted 3 shots the entire game. Combine these stats with 17 turnovers and it is easy to see why State was able to upset a struggling Wake Forest team.
Silver Lining: FSU is ranked and coming to the Joel on Saturday, which is usually a good recipe for Wake. Let's hope we can get things turned around in time to finish February strong and gain some momentum going into March. Things are certainly going to have to change significantly for this to happen though. Additionally, James Johnson had a very good night and was almost able to pull the team over the hump when others were struggling.