For the first time since the 1979-80 season, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons has started a basketball season 0-2. The ‘79 team at least lost to N.C. State and Duke. This year’s iteration lost to Georgia Southern and Liberty.
Liberty defeated Wake Forest 79-66 in front of one of the smaller crowds that I have seen in quite some time at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
There is really not much to say about this game except that it was a pathetic effort from the team overall against a Big South opponent that Wake should beat 90 out of 100 times.
A lackadaisical performance on both sides of the ball from Wake Forest brings up more questions than answers at this point in the early season, but one thing is certain—-the effort and intensity will have to improve by loads if this team wants to reach double digit victories, much less the 20 wins that was set out as the goal before the season.
It’s one thing to lose to a team that is better than you because they execute better, or are simply the better team, but it’s another thing completely to lose because you are simply disinterested in guarding your man, boxing out your man, or putting forth the effort required to win a game against a Division I opponent.
Doral Moore led the Deacs with 14 points and 9 rebounds, while Liberty was led by Lovell Cabbil with 23 points.
The Deacs shot 2-17 from behind the three-point line. The Flames shot 9-21.
I give a lot of credit to Liberty for doing what it does well—-slowing the game down and making shots when it needs to. It benefited tremendously at times from Wake Forest being thoroughly disinterested in securing a defensive rebound to end a possession after a stop.
In a pretty big shocker, Liberty out-rebounded Wake Forest 39-28, which highlights pretty much everything wrong with what the Deacs did tonight since Liberty has one guy over 6-8, while Wake Forest has three that got playing time tonight.
Defending the pick and roll looked like the hardest thing that Wake Forest has ever done and Liberty exploited the poor lateral foot speed of the Demon Deacon interior all night long.
Unlike Friday night, where I felt like Georgia Southern was a legitimately good team, this Liberty team is not one that I expect to make much noise this year. It played hard, competed all night, and got the win on the road against an incredibly poor playing Wake Forest team.
I’m not going to call out any individuals because we all know who they were, but there were some really bad performances tonight and there needs to be a lot of reflection and introspection about what the hell is going on out there through two games. This is unacceptable for Wake Forest basketball.
The saddest thing at this juncture is that I see no quick fixes based on the personnel. There are a lot of deficiencies that need to be remedied before Wake can even beat an average D1 team, much less ACC teams.
The Deacs play again on Friday in the Paradise Jam first round against Drake, and it will need to figure out a lot of things if it wants to avoid a third straight loss to start the year. It would be the first 0-3 start since 1967.