After looking a little out of sorts in the first game of the season against Fairfield, the Deacs got right back into the flow of things with a double-digit win over an SEC opponent. Wake mostly dominated this game, leading for 37 minutes of game time and going up by as much as 23 points in the second half. Some increased pressure and hot 3-point shooting in the second half helped Georgia make a comeback, but ultimately, Wake was able to hold on for the win.
Wake was led by the two veteran point guards Daivien Williamson and Tyree Appleby. Williamson carried the load early for Wake, scoring 15 of his game high 24 points in the first half on 5-8 shooting from the floor. His scoring combined with some really good defense from Wake Forest—Georgia shot just 30% from the field and 13% from beyond the arc in the first half—gave Wake a big 41-22 lead at the half.
The second half was Tyree Appleby’s turn to carry the team. The Florida transfer scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half on 4-6 shooting from the floor and added 3 assists against his former coach to help stave off a Georgia run late in the game. A little full court pressure combined with some hot shooting allowed the Bulldogs to cut the 23-point lead down to just 8 points with a little over a minute remaining in the game. Georgia scored 49 points in the second half and shot 53% from the floor and 50% from beyond the arc. A little complacency with a 20+ point lead probably affected the Wake Forest defense towards the end of the game.
Down the stretch, Appleby and Williamson were a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line to ice the game and give Wake the win. The two guards combined for 46 of Wake’s 81 points and shot a combined 57% from the floor. The only other Wake player to reach double digits was center Davion Bradford, who finished with 11 points.
Here are a few thoughts I had from the game:
- The Deacs seem to really struggle when either Appleby or Williamson are out of the game. Wake is probably going to be heavily dependent on their ability to score from the outside this season.
- Davion Bradford had a game high +21 box +/- for Wake Forest. He does a great job defending the paint and converting around the rim on offense.
- Hildreth is a tenacious rebounder and might lead the team in rebounds this season.
- Bobi Klintman has everything NBA teams are looking for: size, skill, athleticism, and the ability to defend 1-5. It would not shock me if this were his only season as a Deac.
- Monsanto played more in this game than against Fairfield but has yet to find his shot. He finished 0-5 and some of them didn’t even hit the rim. I’m not worried yet because we all know how good of a shooter he is, but he seemed to be pressing a little and forced some bad shots. Hopefully he gets back into the swing of things soon.
- Marsh did not play a single minute in this game. I don’t know if that is injury related or he just hasn’t improved to where the coach would like him to be, but it seems like Keller has jumped him in the rotation.
- Robert McCray will redshirt this season per Forbes
- Jao Ituka is out until after the Jamaica trip. Another scoring guard will definitely help Wake with those struggles when Williamson or Appleby need a breather.
- Giving up nearly 50 points in a half is something I would expect to happen under the previous coaching regime. Let’s not do that again this season.