The Demon Deacons concluded their holiday basketball week with a crippling loss at the hands of MEAC opponent Delaware State by a 72-65 margin. The loss to the Hornets followed a fantastic effort against Mount St. Mary's where Wake romped to an 83-49 win over the Mountaineers. Following the final two games of the week, Wake will square off against Minnesota on Tuesday night in Winston-Salem with a 4-3 overall record.
Wake Forest looked confident throughout the contest with the Mountaineers, jumping out to a 42-14 first half lead behind a stifling defensive performance by the young Demon Deacon team. Wake had 17 different players see the court while 15 of them scored, led by Codi Miller-McIntyre's 11 points, 7 assists, and 6 rebounds. Mount St. Mary's was outmatched from the get-go, continuing to take contested shots and letting the Deacons run in transition which resulted in the Mountaineers shooting a putrid 35% for the entire game. Freshman Cornelius Hudson chipped in 10 points and 4 rebounds while junior Devin Thomas contributed 6 points and 6 rebounds in a limited 17 minutes.
The great effort against Mount St. Mary's was widely expected to roll over to Friday's contest against the Hornets, however the Deacons looked like they suffered a Thanksgiving hangover from the start and allowed the Hornets to hang around in the first half a bit as Wake took a 38-36 lead into the break. Despite a quick start by the Hornets, Wake looked to be playing aggressive defense throughout the first twenty minutes and were just continually burned by contested jumpers falling, predominantly by guard Amere May who ultimately put up 33 points overall.
Both teams got off to a slower start in the second half and the game was knotted at 46 five minutes into the second half before a 12-6 Hornets' run gave Delaware State a 58-52 lead with ten minutes left. Wake was unable to get into a constant rhythm on offense, underscored by Devin Thomas being held scoreless on seven shot attempts, but managed to trim the lead to 63-61 with three minutes left as the Hornets couldn't get the ball in after a couple of inside Wake baskets. Ultimately the Hornets were able to stretch the lead out in the final two minutes, capitalized by a traditional three point play with just over thirty seconds left to give the heavy underdogs a six point lead with thirty seconds to play. Wake fell by a final score of 72-65 and dropped to 4-3 on the season.
The loss to the Hornets marked one of the worst losses in at least the KenPom Era (dating back to 2003), overshadowed only by the opening loss of the Jeff Bzdelik era to 300+ ranked Stetson. Following the game Delaware State moved up to 265th in the nation and the Demon Deacons fell to 111th. The Demon Deacons were largely led by the freshmen class and Aaron Rountree who put in an effort-filled performance. Rountree played arguably his best game as a Demon Deacon with 9 points and 3 rebounds and was seemingly everywhere on the defensive end. Miller-McIntyre led Wake in scoring with 15 points while Madison Jones and Cornelius Hudson both finished with ten points. Despite Wake only turning the ball over eight times they were unable to convert opportunities on the offensive end, shooting 21-59 from the field - a large reason why they were outrebounded by a 38-34 margin.
Wake will return to action on Tuesday night against Minnesota at the LJVM as a part of the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. Minnesota stands at 4-2 through their first six games with the two losses coming against Louisville and St. Johns. Most recently the Golden Gophers beat Georgia 66-62 on Friday night.