Wake Forest took care of business at home against South Carolina State, beating the Bulldogs 105-74 in their first game back at the Joel since the Jamaica Classic. I’m going to try to keep this one short because this game was basically over after about the first 12 minutes.
The first half was honestly pretty sloppy for Wake Forest despite the score. At the under 12-minute timeout, the Deacs were up just 18-10 and had turned the ball over several times—they finished with 7 first half turnovers, which is a little concerning given SC State is one of the worst teams in the nation at forcing turnovers. The Bulldogs were able to get several open looks at the basket throughout the half, which would have hurt Wake if SC State wasn’t one of the worst shooting teams I have ever seen the Deacs play. The Bulldogs started 0 for their first 11 3-point attempts and finished the half shooting 13-34 from the floor and 1-14 from beyond the arc.
As the half progressed, Wake rounded back into form. The Deacs finished the half shooting 58% from the floor and 60% from beyond the arc to score a season high 51 first half points. With Daivien Williamson out with an injury, Cam Hildreth (13 points) and Damari Monsanto (11 points) stepped up to replace Williamson’s scoring in the starting lineup, joining Tyree Appleby (13 points) in double figures in the first half. Wake led 51-27 after the first 20 minutes.
SC State tried to apply some pressure throughout the 2nd half, but it didn’t really seem to bother the Deacs much. Appleby used his speed to single-handedly break the press himself, sprint down the court, and dump the ball off to someone else for a dunk. In the 2nd half alone, Wake scored 36 points in the paint and dunked the ball 9 times.
The defense for the Deacs was definitely a little bit lacking throughout the 2nd half, but that is kind of to be expected in a game like this where Wake has a 20+ point lead for most of the half. Defensive lapses led to way too many easy baskets for the Bulldogs, who scored 22 of their 47 2nd half points in the paint. I don’t think that’s really anything to worry about, as the level of focus in an at times 30-point game is obviously not going to be the highest.
The Deacs finished the game with 6 players in double figures. Cam Hildreth led the way with 19, Monsanto added 16 on 4-8 shooting from beyond the arc, Bobi Klintman finished with 15 to go along with 10 rebounds for his first double-double, Appleby scored 13 to go along with his 9 assists, Matthew Marsh added 10, and Jao Ituka—playing in his first game for Wake Forest—scored 10 on 2-4 shooting.
It’s always great to bounce back from a loss with a 30-point victory!
Happy Thanksgiving and Go Deacs!