The Wake Forest Men’s Basketball team is back in the win column after narrowly escaping App State 67-66. The Deacs looked like they were done for, but a turnaround jump shot from Delaware transfer Andrew Carr at the buzzer gave Wake their 8th win of the season. This definitely wasn’t Wake’s best showing, but a win is a win.
After back to back losses away from the Joel, the Deacs were back in front of what I would honestly call a road game environment. Credit to the App State fans, they showed up in force and were very loud the whole game.
This one went back and forth for a good portion of the first half until an App 11-2 run gave the Mountaineers an advantage. The defense wasn’t perfect for Wake, but App was making some really tough shots too—the Mountaineers finished the half shooting 68% from the floor and 50% from behind the arc. Christopher Mantis hit three 3-pointers, 1 from about 30 feet and 2 with defenders draped all over him, and there really isn’t much that can be done about that. Mantis finished with a team high 18 points on 6-7 shooting. If not for Andrew Carr’s 14 first half points, the Deacs would have been in a huge hole at the break. Carr basically single handedly kept Wake from getting blown out in the first half, and the Deacs trailed 37-31 at the break.
Whatever Forbes said to the team at halftime, it must have worked, because Wake picked up the intensity to start the second half. The Deacs started the 2nd on a 15-2 run to take a 48-39 lead, prompting a timeout from App State head coach Dustin Kerns. Out of the timeout, App went on a run of their own, outscoring the Deacs 8-0 over the next few minutes. A couple of 3-point possessions followed by turnovers for Wake, and just like that, the Mountaineers were back within 1.
From the moment the Wake Forest run ended with 14 minutes left in the game to around the 3 minute mark, Wake Forest scored just 8 total points. The Deacs had one those stretches where the offense devolves into a lot of 1 on 1 and ineffective post up attempts that typically results in forced shots and turnovers. I don’t know what it is, but Wake seems to have stretches like these in every game.
Despite the scoring struggles, a Daivien Williamson 3-pointer with just over 3 minutes to go in the game tied things up at 61. A couple of possessions later, a layup on a designed clear out for Appleby gave the Deacs a 2-point lead with about a minute to go. A miscommunication on defense allowed Terence Harcum to get a wide open 3-pointer to give App the lead with 66-65 with 14 seconds remaining.
Hildreth’s layup attempt with 5 seconds remaining wouldn’t fall, and it looked like Wake was going to drop their 3rd straight game. Fortunately, the Mountaineers threw the ball away with 1.3 seconds remaining, giving the Deacs a sideline out of bounds opportunity. That would prove to be a fatal mistake, as Steve Forbes drew up another perfect play to get Carr a great look to win the game—Carr certainly made it count.
AC FOR THE WIN‼️@apc_andrew #GoDeacs pic.twitter.com/mHCqI5fLlq— Wake Basketball (@WakeMBB) December 15, 2022
That is just an absolutely huge shot to win a game that Wake Forest could not afford to lose.
Carr led the way for Wake with 20 points on 8-14 shooting. Hildreth added 10 points and 6 rebounds, Williamson scored 12 points on 4 3-pointers, and Appleby scored 15 points to go along with 4 assists. Unfortunately, Appleby had to be helped off the court towards the end of the game, and that could have huge implications as Wake enters a really tough 4 game stretch.
That was certainly not a great performance from the Deacs, but they found a way to to come away with a W. Wake is on the road again this weekend with a chance to get another quality win on the resume against a really good Rutgers teams. They are probably going to have to play better than they did tonight to get a win in the Trapezoid of Terror.