The Wake Forest Demon Deacons found themselves with an 8-point lead at halftime, but the Clemson Tigers absolutely blitzed them in the second half and the Deacs lost by a final score of 76-62. The Deacs dropped to 10-12 overall and 1-9 in ACC play. The Tigers improved to 14-8 overall and 7-3 in ACC play. Clemson scored just 20 points in the first half, which was their lowest total of the season. They responded, however, by dropping 56 in the second half, which was their highest total of the season. Clemson has now beaten Wake Forest 7 of the past 8 times. In basketball. That is all.
Wake Forest came out playing some very lethargic basketball and quickly fouled themselves down 11-2. Fortunately Mitchell Wilbekin hit enough shots to keep Wake within striking distance, otherwise it could have been a complete disaster from the very beginning. Doral Moore was subbed in and had a monstrous alley-oop. His energy helped ignite the rest of the team and the Deacs finished the half on a 26-9 run.
Clemson stormed out of the locker room and quickly went on an 11-0 run, and almost never looked back. Wake tied it at 33, took a 37-36 lead, tied it at 39, but then found themselves down 46-39 after Clemson's Avry Holmes made a three-pointer after a brutal turnover from Cornelius Hudson. Hudson responded with 6 points, and then had a gorgeous assist to bring the Deacs within 1 and forced Clemson's Brad Brownell to take a timeout. Unfortunately, Wake Forest never got any closer than that.
Clemson used Wake's over-playing against them, and converted a number of dunks and layups. They also finished transition opportunities. They also made nearly every one of their free throws it seemed like. For the record, they officially went 26-30. Meanwhile, Wake Forest went 13-23.
Jaron Blossomgame was a matchup nightmare tonight and finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds. He's playing like a first team all-ACC player. In fact, Blossomgame, Avry Holmes, Jordan Roper, and Donte Grantham combined for 70 of the team's 76 points. Each scored at least 15 points.
Bryant Crawford led Wake Forest with 13 points, while Devin Thomas had 12.
The Indiana game feels like it might as well have been in 2003. Credit to Ned for bringing up a great point on Twitter. Wake Forest was right in the thick of it at Louisville, but could not finish down the stretch. We've all seen what has happened since then. If Wake had won that game, then maybe it's an entirely different season?
It's so frustrating to see the team play the way they are. We all saw the wins over legitimately good teams either on the road or at neutral sites, and then we see how they play in the second half today. This team has talent, they just don't value the basketball and they have far too many mental lapses.
Clemson will travel to Virginia Tech on Saturday. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons will host the Florida State Seminoles.