The Wake Forest Men’s Basketball team finally got to play an ACC game in front of the home fans, and it appears that they kind of liked it. The Deacs put the beatdown on the Florida State Seminoles in the Joel, easily getting their second conference win of the season by a score of 76-54. The 22 point win is Wake’s first 20+ point conference win since the Deacs beat NC State by 30 points in 2017 and their fifth ACC win by 20+ points in the last decade.
The big story for this game was the Wake Forest defense. After giving up 92 points on 60% shooting in the loss to Miami, it was pretty obvious that Steve Forbes was unhappy with the defensive performance from the Deacs. It seems like the team got the memo, because against the Noles, Wake Forest only gave up 54 points and held Florida State to 15-62 shooting from the floor (24%!) and 4-25 from beyond the arc (16%!). That is one heck of a turnaround in just a couple of days. The defense was so good that Wake Forest was missing a key starter, shot 45% from the floor and 26% from 3, and turned the ball over 22 times to Florida State’s 10, and STILL won the game by 22 points. That is rather impressive.
The Deacs were once again led by the dynamic duo of Alondes Williams and Jake LaRavia. Williams had another solid game with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. He also had the most electric play of the night with this ridiculous dunk that made Eric Collins lose his mind.
LaRavia finished with a game high 22 points on 6-9 shooting from the floor and added 7 rebounds and 5 assists. He also played for the first 38 and half minutes of this game without ever being subbed out, which is really impressive for a player of his size. His ability to dish the ball on the break has been incredible so far this season.
The Deacs also got a large contribution from Ole Miss transfer Khadim Sy, who finished with his first career double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Sy provided a nice spark off the bench for Wake Forest in the first half—when he entered the game the Deacs were down 3-9, when he subbed out, they led 20-11.
The Deacs definitely did not play a perfect game in this one (I may have mentioned the 22 turnovers), but as long as they continue to defend at a high level, they will be able to win games where they struggle to score or turn the ball over way too much. That is an encouraging sign for the future of the program. Wake Forest will be back in the Joel on Saturday to take on the Syracuse Orange. Go Deacs!