The Richmond Spiders (3-5) had a rough past couple of weeks, losers of four straight, but as many teams will likely find out this season, the cure was simply to face the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-3) and its horrific defense.
Turnovers were a problem all night long for the Deacs as the Spiders racked up 25 points off of them en route to an 84-74 victory at the Robins Center in Richmond, Virginia.
Wake turned it over 15 times compared to just 3 from Richmond and in a game that was moderately close throughout the second half that was a killer. The Spiders had a remarkable 21 to 3 assist to turnover ratio.
The Deacs out-rebounded the Spiders 35-20 and held them to 6-22 (27%) from behind the arc, but Richmond shot 24-34 (71%) from inside the three point line, which probably should never happen against a team with as much length as we have.
Transition defense and turnovers continue to be a baffling problem for Wake Forest. I guess I mean “baffling” in the sense that it is amazing that a team with this much athleticism and talent can continue to make the same silly mistakes over and over again and allow a team like Richmond to have such success in getting to the basket.
Both of these issues cause a ton of fouls that Wake simply should not be picking up. Poor lateral foot speed by defenders at the perimeter cause too much penetration and fouls on the big men. Also, the pick-and-roll defense is still unspeakably bad, as most the time the players have no idea when they are and are not switching.
In addition to the bad transition defense, the closeouts on three point shots are just non-existent too, and even when we get out to challenge a shot there is hardly ever a hand in the face of the shooter. Too much ball-watching, poor IQ, and slow moving feet to get stops with any type of consistency.
On the positive side of things, Chaundee Brown and Isaiah Mucius both played probably the best game that I have seen either play. Brown was hot from the get-go, and finished with 16 points and 4 rebounds.
Mucius chipped in 17 points and 7 boards off the bench, and was a spark plug for the Deacs when he was in the game. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he gets a serious bump in minutes soon for this team.
Freshman Jaylen Hoard hit double-figures again for the seventh straight game to open his collegiate career, ending up with 11 points and 6 boards. At some point he’s got to get it going in the middle of the game though because he is extremely laid back during times when Wake needs him to be aggressive.
Brandon Childress led the Deacs with 17 points, 15 of which came after the break.
Sophomore center Grant Golden of the Spiders was the biggest threat coming in and he proved that right off the bat, drawing two quick fouls against Wake’s Olivier Sarr, which caused the Deacs to play odd lineups most of the half.
Golden was the best big guy on the court from either team, finishing with 24 points and 4 rebounds on 20 shots.
Outside of Golden, Nathan Cayo really hurt the Deacs in the second half with his ability to get by any defender Wake had on him throughout the night. His 17 points on 7 shots was a big difference in the second half.
I don’t have a lot to say about this one because really it was quite similar to what we are going to be seeing the rest of the year, but it is frustrating, once again, to continue to see the same problems over and over again with no fix in sight.
One thing that made the game even more infuriating to watch was the horrendous commentating from the NBCSN announcers. They had no idea who was who for Wake, called players by the wrong name, were obviously pulling for Richmond, and are somehow getting paid to do this.
With the loss Wake falls to 10-4 under Danny Manning in non-conference road games.
Wake Forest hosts Charlotte on Thursday night in Winston-Salem, while Richmond welcomes Coppin State to the Robins Center on Wednesday night.