Welp. After two straight blowout losses in the Joel last week, it appears things are not getting any better for Wake Forest. The Deacs picked up their third straight double digit loss at home tonight, falling to the Clemson Tigers by a score of 60-39. Wake’s 39 points were their 3rd fewest in the shot clock era.
This game was pretty awful, so this recap will once again be brief. The Deacs led this game exactly 1 time, after Isaiah Mucius made his first 3-point attempt to take a 3-0 lead. That was the first shot of the game. It was all downhill from there, as the Deacs missed their next 6 shots and fell behind, never to regain the lead. At the half, Wake Forest had 15 points, 6 made field goals, and 8 turnovers. Yes, it was that kind of game.
The Deacs once again struggled to find any open looks on offense. The Tigers—and their top 10 defense per KenPom—amped up the pressure on defense, forcing Wake away from the basket and not allowing the Deacs any clean looks from beyond the 3-point line. The few times Wake had a chance at an easy basket, they were plagued by missed layups or an inability to catch the ball. As a result, the Deacs finished the game 12-47 from the floor (26%) and 5-24 from beyond the arc (21%). Even without the turnovers or the -18 rebounding margin, it is pretty much impossible to win shooting 26% from the floor.
Wake Forest was led once again by Daivien Williamson, who finished the game with a team high 16 points. Isaiah Mucius added 10 points—the two juniors combined for 75% of Wake’s points and were 2 of 5 Wake Forest players to score in the game. The Tigers were led by Alex Hemenway, who finished with a game high 17 points and shot 5-6 from beyond the arc. Clemson also got another double-double from Aaron Simms with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
If there are any positives to take away from a third straight blowout, the Deacs did play pretty good defense throughout the game—The Tigers shot just 43% from the floor and 31% from beyond the arc. Despite having 8 turnovers at the half, Wake finished the game with just 10 total turnovers, so I guess that is also a positive. Despite the way the score looks, I should point out that at no point did it appear that the team had given up in any way, which is no small thing given the circumstances.
The Deacs are definitely in what most would consider a rough patch, and now they have to travel to Blacksburg to take on the 16th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies on the road. Such is life in the ACC.