Wake Forest has improved to 6-8 overall and 3-8 in the ACC after defeating the shorthanded Boston College Eagles by a score of 69-65. The Deacs looked like they were going to win this one comfortably, but after a late run from the Eagles, Wake Forest survived to pick up the win.
The big story in this game was the return of graduate transfer guard Ian DuBose, who had not played in a game since November 27th due to the coronavirus. And what a return it was, as DuBose finished the game with a team high 17 points, 3 assists, and 5 rebounds.
For Boston College, this was just their 2nd game back after the program went on pause due to covid back in January—the Eagles were forced to postpone 5 straight games in that time. As a result, BC was playing shorthanded for their 2nd straight game, with just 6 scholarship players available.
This game started off pretty terribly, as neither Wake Forest nor Boston College seem to be able to put the ball in the basket; at the under 12 minute timeout, Wake Forest held an 11-7 lead. The Deacs settled for too many 3-pointers early on against the BC zone, which resulted in just 6 points as Wake finished the half shooting 2-12 (17%) from deep. As the half progressed, the Deacs got a much needed boost from Ian DuBose, who finished the half with 8 points on 4-8 shooting, and used a 14-3 run to take a 30-22 lead into halftime.
Things got too close for comfort in the 2nd half. After leading by double digits consistently for 15 minutes in the half, CJ Felder hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead to single digits, 61-52, with a little over 5 minutes remaining in the game. Things went from bad to worse after that, as the Eagles starting pressing full court—something Wake Forest has not handled well at all this season—and promptly stole the ball and scored on a fast break layup. On the spurs of a 15-2 run, the Eagles cut the lead to just 1 point on a Jay Heath 3-pointer with 2:51 remaining in the game. Thankfully, with the help of some free throws and good defense, Wake was able to escape with the win.
Outside of DuBose, the Deacs got a big contribution from Ody Oguama, who finished the game with 13 points and 10 rebounds off the bench. Oguama helped Wake Forest absolutely dominate the Eagles on the board 52-34—that was likely the biggest factor in helping the Deacs secure the victory. Isaiah Mucius was the only other Wake Forest player in double digits with 10 points on 4-4 shooting.
The Eagles got big games from Jay Heath and CJ Felder in the loss. Heath finished with a game high 20 points on 8-22 shooting. Felder had a double-double with 14 rebounds and 17 points. The Eagles played just 7 players in this game and finished with just 2 bench points from Makai Ashton-Langford.
On the negative side, the Deacs gave up 43 second half points to a shorthanded team and almost blew a double digit lead in the final 5 minutes. That is probably not something that Forbes will be happy about. On the positive side, Wake Forest won the game and got Ian DuBose back after missing the past 2 and a half months. DuBose quickly proved just how much the Deacs have missed him this season in his first game back.
ACC road wins are hard to come by, so let’s just enjoy the victory as the Deacs prepare to take on #17 Florida State on Saturday.