Last night was a lot of fun. I know it was a loss, and I know it hurt, but damn did it feel good to have a chance again. This website was never shy to display the ACC road record of previous head coach Jeff Bzdelik. That road record was 2-32, with only 5 of those losses being within single digits and 20 of them being by 15 or more points. I'm not here to rub salt in old wounds, I'm merely pointing out how unbelievably difficult Wake Forest basketball fans have had it over the past four seasons. What used to be the best time of the year for Wake Forest fans, caused Demon Deacon fans to hibernate in recent years.
That's all changed now, because there's a new Man(ning) in town. Perhaps I should say out of town. Wake Forest went up to Syracuse, New York last night and damn near came away with a victory. They started off sluggish and fell behind 19-9. At that point I'm sure a lot of Wake fans were thinking, "here we go again...another road game, another game I can probably turn off by halftime." But then Wake Forest showed something that I haven't seen from them on the road in years - resiliency. They calmed down, limited turnovers, and fought back to take a 37-36 lead headed into halftime. They believed.
Obviously the Deacs lost in the end, but they did not go down without a fight. Wake Forest would see a nine-point second half lead evaporate and they found themselves down three with just 26 remaining. Freshman Cornelius Hudson had been cold all night, but he stepped up and drained a three that helped send Wake Forest to overtime against the Orange. With 8 seconds remaining in overtime, Wake Forest was trailing by 5 after two Rakeem Christmas free throws. Codi Miller-McIntyre would not go away and drained a 30-footer to cut the deficit to two with just 5 seconds remaining. Trevor Cooney made just one of two free throws, and then Cornelius Hudson's half-court attempt came within an inch of sending the resilient Deacs to double-overtime.
Wake Forest has road games remaining against Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Notre Dame, Duke and Boston College. There's not a doubt in my mind that we can win more than half of those. If we continue to play with the same effort and discipline, the results will come. The process is there. Wake Forest fans need to change their mindset about Wake Forest playing hoops on the road, much like the team already has. It's time to turn our televisions on for the full two hours again. What a difference a year and a coach can make.