It might have been closer than most fans would have liked, but at the end the day, Wake Forest got to 1-0 on the basketball season with a 90-78 victory over N.C. A&T.
A balanced scoring effort across the board for the Deacs proved to be too much for the Aggies to overcome.
Freshman stud Jaylen Hoard was by far the best player on the court, and despite being hampered in the first half with two fouls, finished with 19 points and 13 rebounds. The second half was a dominant individual performance though.
Notching a double-double in your first start is not easy to do, so kudos to him for what will hopefully be the first of many.
His ability to get the ball into the lane and where he wants it to be is impressive to see, as is the strength he has in pulling down boards. When his motor is going at a high level he is very hard to stop.
Junior guard Brandon Childress led the Deacs in the first half with 14 points on just 5 shots before deferring in the second half to Hoard. He finished with 18 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds.
Isaiah Mucius, another freshman, had a pretty good debut as well, finishing with 13 points and 5 rebounds off the bench He is not gun shy at all and plays with a ton of enthusiasm and energy.
The Aggies were led by Terry Harris who had 15 points on 4-7 shooting from downtown.
Overall the offensive performance was good to see and expected, and although it’s early, rebounding and defense are going to need some improvement if the Deacs are going to make any noise this season.
Help defense and “help-the-helper” was slow at times and is likely a byproduct of getting up to game speed and also getting used to playing with one another.
The length and athleticism on the court this year is noticeably different from the past, but the technique, particularly when it comes to boxing out, will have to continue to improve.
There were also some spells of really sloppy play on both sides. One thing that was good to see was a lot of energy and effort across the board. That is something that had been sorely missing last year at times.
The Deacs take the court next on Thursday at 11:30 AM on ESPNU against St. Joseph’s in the first round of the Myrtle Beach Invitational. Phil Martelli’s Hawks are currently 1-0 with a 15 point win over Old Dominion. It will host Monmouth on Monday night as well. The Deacs will be a slight underdog in this one.