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Wake Forest Basketball: Key Matchup vs Miami Hurricanes

Two great scorers battle it out

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Miami-Florida Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After losing in Raleigh in what can only be described as a “turnover-fest,” Wake Forest is back at home at the Joel Coliseum to take on the Miami Hurricanes (not to be confused with ACC Network advertiser HurryCane). The Canes are 6-9 overall and 13th in the conference with a 2-8 record. A win would tie the Deacs with both Miami and Notre Dame in the conference and move the Deacs out of last place, where they are currently tied with the only other 1 win ACC team, Boston College. To do that, they will need to be on the better end of the matchup between 2 high volume scorers.

Isaiah Wong is easily one of the most improved players and one of the best scorers in the ACC this season. The sophomore from New Jersey has improved his scoring average almost 10 points per game, from 7.7 points as a freshman to 17.6 this season, and is currently 5th in the conference in scoring. It goes without saying that in order to score a lot, a player is going to have to shoot a lot, and Wong is no exception; he is currently 1st in the conference in both field goal attempts and field goals made and 5th in the conference in 3-pointers attempted. While Miami has played an extra game over many ACC teams, only a handful of players are averaging more than his 13.7 field goal attempts per game.

Wong has scored in double digits in all but 2 of Miami’s 15 games this season and has hit 20+ points 7 times, including a career high 30 points in a win over a ranked Louisville team 2 weeks ago. He does most of his scoring off the dribble, using screens and an array of dribble moves to create space and score in the midrange (He also has a great step back jumper). He is not a great 3-point shooter but is still very confident in his ability to score from beyond the arc. In his last 3 games, Wong has attempted a whopping 27 3-pointers—he only made 7 of those attempts.

For the Deacs, Ismael Massoud has become the best pure scorer on the team, with those points coming almost exclusively from catch and shoot 3-pointers. Because of his 6-8 frame, the height of his release, and how vertical he gets on his jump shot, he can basically shoot no matter how close a defender is when he catches the ball. He is currently 11th in the ACC in 3-point percentage and 6th in 3-pointers made per game at 2.3. If the Deacs are unable to stop Wong scoring points in bunches, they are definitely going to need Massoud to get hot and match him. It is a known fact that the Deacs are undefeated in the ACC when Massoud makes 8 or more 3-pointers, so I feel pretty confident that if he does that again, Wake Forest will win this game easily.