The Wake Forest Demon Deacons found themselves down 11 points at halftime, but outscored the Bucknell Bison by 19 points in the second half and won 90-82. With the win, the Deacs moved to 2-0 on the season. The Deacs were led by freshman Bryant Crawford, who finished with 21 points and 5 assists.
The Deacs trailed 48-37 at the half, after an onslaught of threes from Bucknell. Bucknell is a good shooting team, but Wake Forest did them a lot of favors by leaving their shooters open early and often. In the first half, Wake Forest got a lot of good looks inside, but failed to convert some easy opportunities.
The guards struggled a lot early on, but the team finished the game with just 10 turnovers. The key to this game was Wake's performance to start the second half. Wake got started by a Bryant Crawford three-pointer and went on a 16-3 run during the first 5 minutes of the half. Crawford was excellent in the second half. He made jumpers, attacked the basket, and had a number of gorgeous passes down the stretch that led to easy buckets inside for the Deacs. This is what he displayed coming out of high school, and I believe this game will give him a tremendous amount of confidence moving forward.
Devin Thomas had another excellent game. He finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 blocks, while making 6 of 8 free throws. He gave great effort, and had a number of nice moves around the basket. It's clear to see his improvement, and he is going to be huge for Wake Forest this season.
I was also very impressed by John Collins, Doral Moore, and Mitchell Wilbekin. Through two games, Wake's freshman class has been quite good. Collins finished with 8 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 blocks, while Moore finished with 6 points and 3 rebounds. Collins had a gorgeous post move, and Moore had a beautiful hook shot. Those two have very promising futures at Wake. Mitchell Wilbekin has significantly improved his game in the offseason. Last year, he was almost exclusively a shooter, but this afternoon he routinely put the ball on the floor, and attacked the basket. He finished with 17 points.
Finally, I'd like to give credit to Trent VanHorn, who finished with 9 points. Aside from a hilariously bad layup attempt, he played a very solid game for Wake.
Wake was lackluster early on, but dominated the glass. They won that battle 45-35. Their length also allowed them to block and/or alter a lot of shots. This meant that Bucknell shot just 39% from inside the arc, while the Deacs converted 51% of their shots.
For Bucknell, Chris Hass led the way with 26 points, while Zach Thomas had 18, and Ryan Frazier had 14.
This was a big win for Wake Forest. They have been atrocious on the road over the past five seasons, so it's great to see the Deacs build some early confidence. Bucknell has a very legitimate chance to win their conference this season. Wake Forest won't have much time to celebrate, however, as they host Richmond on Wednesday night. The Spiders are 0-1 on the season and lost their opener to James Madison 87-75. The action starts at 7:00 p.m. As always, go Deacs!