The Wake Forest Men’s Basketball Team moved to 10-1 overall on Tuesday night after narrowly defeating the VMI Keydets 77-70. The Deacs found themselves down by as many as 17 in the first half and only led for about 3 minutes in the whole game. The good news: it was the final 3 minutes.
The Keydets jumped all over Deacs right from the tip off, building a quick 18-4 lead that they would carry throughout most of the first half. VMI spread the court out with great 3-point shooters and then backdoor cut the Wake Forest defense to death. It seemed like every time down the court, the Keydets were getting an open layup off of a cut or an open 3-point shot due to confusion on the Wake Forest defense. Kamdyn Curfman’s 16 first half points, including about three 3-pointers from the Wake Forest logo, gave the Keydets a 42-29 lead going into the break.
The Deacs came back in the second half with a quick 10-0 run to cut the deficit to just 3 points, but Wake couldn’t quite get over the hump. Every time Wake got within striking distance it seemed like someone would hit a big 3 for VMI to push the lead back up to 6 or more points. Late in the second, senior Alondes Williams simply decided to take over the game, fueling Wake Forest on an 11-0 run to finally take the lead with just 3:10 remaining. Williams scored 23 of his 36 points in the 2nd half as VMI was basically unable to stop him from doing whatever he wanted down the stretch. The Deacs held on to win the game 77-70.
Without junior Jake LaRavia (health and safety protocol), Wake Forest played just 7 players throughout the game. Williams led the way with 36 points on 11-20 shooting and also added 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Isaiah Mucius and Cam Hildreth finished with 11 and 12 points respectively; they were the only two other Wake players to make it to double figures. The Deacs shot just 36% from the floor and 25% from downtown for the game. It was definitely not a good offensive performance from Wake Forest.
This was an ugly win, but there’s no such thing as a bad win. The Deacs were missing arguably their most important player in Jake LaRavia and still managed to come back from 17 points down on a night where it seemed like they couldn’t buy a basket. It wasn’t pretty, but I think this game showed that this Wake team has a lot of fight in them. The Deacs now head to Charlotte to take on the 49ers in the Basketball Hall of Fame Shootout in what is the final non-conference game of the season. Go Deacs!