Wake Forest has been eliminated from the ACC Tournament on a buzzer beater 3-pointer by Notre Dame, marking the end of a tumultuous 2020-21 season. The Deacs finished the season on an 8 game losing streak, with their last win coming all the way back on February 10th against the Boston College Eagles. With the loss, the Deacs finish the season 6-16 overall.
Everything was going great in this game for Wake Forest. The Deacs jumped out to a quick 21-7 lead over the Irish and basically traded baskets with Notre Dame for most of the remaining time in the game. Wake was consistently up by double digits and even led by 16 points at one point in the second half. The Deacs turned the ball over just 7 times and outrebounded the Irish 38-32. All of that sounds like Wake should have won this game easily.
Then, the thing that killed the Deacs all season long reared its ugly head—a massive scoring drought. With 7:19 remaining in the game, Daivien Williamson hit a 3-pointer to take a 75-62 lead. The Deacs made ONE more basket in the entire game on a Carter Whitt jumper to tie things at 77 with 50 seconds left in the game. That’s almost a 7 minute stretch of game time without a basket. That allowed the Irish to finish the game on a 17-2 run and win the game on a buzzer beating 3-pointer from Trey Wertz.
The final five minutes of this game were an absolute gut punch, but let’s not overlook the positives. Carter Whitt, who has continued to improve all season, had another fantastic outing in his first ever ACC Tournament appearance; the freshman guard finished the game with 12 points, 7 assists, and 2 steals. Just the level of confidence required for a player who should be in high school to drain a pull-up jumper to tie the game with under a minute left in the ACC tournament shows that Whitt has settled into being an ACC caliber point guard. Isaiah Mucius finished the game with a double-double, scoring 20 points and grabbing a team high 12 rebounds, and Daivien Williamson led the Deacs in scoring with 21 points on 8-11 shooting including 5-5 from beyond the arc. Barring any offseason transfers, these three should lead the Deacs next season.
This game was seemingly the fitting end to a pretty rough season for Wake Forest. I think most of us knew that this was going to be a rebuilding year in the first season under a new coach, but that didn’t stop it from being awful. I think we should just all agree to selectively remove this season from our memories and spend our time looking forward to the offseason and beyond. The future is still bright for the Wake Forest basketball program. Go Deacs!