The Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-1) fell to the Richmond Spiders (2-1) 91-82. The Deacs won the rebounding battle by 16 and had 11 more free throw attempts than Richmond, but also had 20 turnovers to Richmond's 6. The Spiders attempted 13 more field goals than Wake did, and also made 48% of threes. Ultimately, the turnovers proved to matter the most.
(Numbers are in percentages)
Wake Forest found themselves down just two points at halftime. This was despite Mitchell Wilbekin playing limited minutes due to foul trouble, and playing two walk-ons together for not insignificant stretches of the game.
Richmond scored 37 points during the first 12 minutes of the 2nd half. Wake Forest repeatedly got beat on backdoor cuts, or the slow rotations allowed Richmond to get cleaner looks. The Deacs also did a very poor job of staying in front of their man and denying penetration. T.J. Cline caused a serious matchup problem. Dinos Mitoglou did a nice job early in the second half of keeping pace, but few offenses were going to keep up with a 3 point per minute pace.
Wake Forest was down by as many as 11 in the second half, but several Bryant Crawford threes made it interesting down the stretch, and the Deacs even cut the deficit to two at 84-82. Wake, however, failed to score after that moment. On the following defensive possession, Wake allowed a basket to Trey Davis. Wake Forest's next three offensive possessions consisted of two missed three pointers from Dinos Mitoglou, and a Bryant Crawford turnover.
Wake Forest Key Stats: Devin Thomas 12 points, 10 rebounds. Dinos Mitoglou 14 points, 11 rebounds. Bryant Crawford 21 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds. Greg McClinton 12 points. John Collins 13 points.
Richmond Key Stats: T.J. Cline 19 points, 7 rebounds. Trey Davis 17 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists. ShawnDre' Jones 16 points. Marshall Wood 15 points. Terry Allen 12 points.
Turnovers absolutely crushed Wake Forest tonight. Forget about Richmond only having six, but Wake had so many unforced turnovers. Bryant Crawford was fantastic tonight. He finished with 21 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. He made several gorgeous passes to Greg McClinton early on in the game, but he also had 7 seven turnovers. On multiple occasions he started to jump without knowing what he was going to do with the ball, and that typically resulted in Richmond getting the ball. Dinos also had 5 turnovers, including a few careless entry passes into the post.
The four factors of basketball are ranked (in order of importance): effective field goal percentage, turnover percentage, rebounding percentage, and free throw rate. Wake won effective field goal percentage, rebounding percentage, and free throw rate, but were obliterated on turnover rate, and awful once they actually got to the foul line.
The substitution patterns tonight were interesting to say the least. John Collins, who had 13 points, 4 rebounds and a block, somehow only played 12 minutes. I know that there are downsides to playing Devin, Dinos, and John Collins at the same time, but John played so well, that I would be okay with having him out there. Honestly, he is fast enough to defend some small forwards. Trent VanHorn played very hard, but he got beat on backdoor cuts a lot tonight. Yet, he played 28 minutes. Devin Thomas only played 29, and Greg McClinton played 22. At some point you just have to put the best players on the court regardless of positions.
Moving forward, Wake Forest cannot get Cornelius Hudson back soon enough. I say Cornelius and not Codi Miller-McIntyre just because I expect (hope) Hudson to return sooner. Obviously CMM is vitally important as well, and is Wake's best played when healthy.
It's frustrating that the roster is in the position that it's in right now. For the first time in years, Wake actually has some quality depth and talent on the roster, yet suspensions and injuries force Wake to play walk-ons.
Wake Forest will now travel to Maui. The Demon Deacons begin play in the Maui Invitational on Monday at 5 p.m. ET against the #14 Indiana Hoosiers. Cornelius Hudson is traveling with the team. Let's hope he suits up.