The Wake Forest Demon Deacons were up by as many as 14 points in the second half, and saw their lead evaporate down to just 2 points, but made enough plays down the stretch to defeat the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers 83-77. Wake Forest limited Coastal to just 27 points in the first half, but allowed a whopping 50 points in the second half. The Chanticleers were led by Badou Diagne, who went 4-5 from deep and finished with 24 points. Bryant Crawford had arguably his best game for the Deacs, and finished with 19 points and 9 assists.
Wake Forest limited Coastal Carolina to just 35% from the field during the first half, but the defensive intensity went missing in the second half. Coastal shot a whopping 69% from the field in the second half, and in no way was that nice for the Demon Deacon defense. Wake Forest could have gotten blown out of the gym in the second half, but for the most part they were able to respond to Coastal Carolina's punches.
Wake Forest had a 7-point lead with 2:51 remaining after Codi Miller-McIntyre connected with John Collins for a dunk. Coastal, as was the trend tonight, would not go away. The Chanticleers went on a 5-0 run, and found themselves trailing by just 2 points with 1:23 remaining. Dinos Mitoglou responded on the next possession by drawing a foul and nailing two free throws to give Wake a four-point lead with just over a minute remaining. Had Wake Forest lost this contest, free throws certainly would have been a culprit. The Deacs went just 12-22 from the charity stripe, and Devin Thomas went 0-5.
After Mitoglou's free throws, Wake got a stop, then Greg McClinton converted on a layup after a pass from Codi Miller-McIntyre. Wake followed that up with another stop, and another Greg McClinton layup off of a CMM pass. That gave Wake an 8-point lead, and then surrendered a meaningless bucket to Coastal with 5 seconds remaining and won by 6 points. Dinos, Greg McClinton and John Collins each scored in double-figures and combined for 38 points. Those three contributions were much-needed tonight.
There were a lot of positives from this game, but there was the continued trend of allowing teams to crawl back into games. A major plus for Wake is that the Deacs scored 80 points, while only getting 6 from Devin Thomas. He had his worst game of the season, as he finished with just 6 points, 6 rebounds, and fouled out with about 4 minutes to go. Bryant Crawford made 5 of 9 threes, and the three he hit in the second half were massive in terms of holding off Coastal Carolina's run.
Wake outrebounded Coastal Carolina 34-25, and also had just 11 turnovers to Coastal's 13. Wake was also very unselfish with the basketball, and had 23 assists on 31 made field goals. Codi Miller-McIntyre looked much more comfortable than he did on Tuesday night, so I'm optimistic about his performances moving forward.
Wake Forest played very well in stretches, and quite poorly for stretches. Still, they advanced to 8-2 on the season. Wake Forest will now host #10 Xavier on Tuesday night. It is arguably the biggest game that Wake Forest has played in more than 5 seasons. Blogger So Dear will have a lot of coverage to get you all ready for that game.