The Wake Forest Men’s Basketball Team moved to 11-1 on Friday night after squeaking by the Charlotte 49ers 82-79. This was another game where the Deacs jumped out to a big lead and then kind of fell asleep at the wheel, allowing the 49ers to come back from an 18-point deficit to tie the game with 31 seconds left. Thankfully, Wake executed a perfect final play, with Alondes Williams driving and kicking to Isaiah Mucius for a wide-open shot to win the game.
At the start, it looked like Wake was going to easily run away with this one. The Deacs shot 65% from the floor and 45% from beyond the arc on their way to building a 19-point lead in the first half. It seemed like Wake was just doing whatever they wanted on offense with 30 of their 48 first half points coming in the paint. Senior Alondes Willaims scored 18 of his 34 points in the first half and was putting on a major dunk show.
The 49ers, to their credit, did not go down easily. Charlotte continued to chip away at the lead in the second half until they eventually tied the game up with under a minute remaining. The Wake Forest defense in the second was not great as the 49ers scored 45 second half points on 56% shooting. Clyde Trapp and Jahmir Young both scored 17 points apiece in the second to get Charlotte back in the game.
For the Deacs, it was once again Alondes Williams who simply refused to let Wake Forest lose. Williams scored a game high 34 points with 8 rebounds and 7 assists. He once again just looked like the best player on the court. Williams and Isaiah Mucius, who hit two big threes in the final minute and a half of the game, were the only Wake players that scored more than 4 points in the second half. The game winning 3-pointer gave Mucius a season high 20 points.
This was another ugly win for the Deacs. Despite being up by 18 points on a team ranked in the 200s on KenPom, Wake lost focus and allowed Charlotte to get back in the game and nearly force OT. Obviously, the short bench and the absence of Jake LaRavia for the second straight game played a role in that, but to my eye this is the third game that has followed that same script (W&M, Oregon State, Charlotte). Hopefully this doesn’t develop into a pattern as the season progresses. That said, the Deacs are 11-1 and already have as many wins as they finished with in 3 of the last 6 full seasons. That is a heck of an improvement. Go Deacs!