This game was really disappointing. To borrow the saying from Dave Clawson, I thought this game was the chance for Wake Forest to go from good to great. The Deacs had home court against a very good Miami team where a win would put them in contention for first place in the ACC and a very good shot at a double bye in the ACC Tournament. Obviously, that didn’t happen. Instead, Wake fell to 10-5 in the ACC and now sits tied at 5th place for the time being with Virginia.
I felt like the energy and focus from the Deacs never really matched the importance of the game. Wake just looked sloppy all afternoon. There were times when they just slowly walked the ball up the court when Steve Forbes was begging them to push the pace. There were times when they just held the ball for long periods of time while the shot clock was running down. And then there were the turnovers. Whether it was throwing lackadaisical cross court passes that were easily intercepted, trying to dribble through double teams only to lose the ball, or just having the ball straight up taken away from them off the dribble, the Deacs shot themselves in the foot yet again by continually just giving the ball away.
The Deacs had been playing with fire with the turnover numbers over the past couple of weeks, but this time it finally caught up to them. Wake turned the ball over 17 times and allowed Miami to finish the game with 19 points off of turnovers to Wake’s 0—that’s pretty much the entire difference in the game. Wake has been able to overcome turning the ball over a million times against teams like Pitt, FSU, and Georgia Tech, but Miami is just too talented of a team to spot 19 points on turnovers and still be able to win.
Give some credit to Miami, they are a very good team this year and have probably the best back court in the conference. The duo of Isaiah Wong and Kameron McGusty combined to score 42 points on 16-28 shooting and made some ridiculously tough shots down the stretch to put the game away. While he is definitely less flashy, Sam Waardenburg’s ability to shoot the 3-pointer forced Wake’s bigs out onto the perimeter and really opened up the driving lanes for the guards. Waardenburg finished with 12 points and shot 2-5 from beyond the arc.
For Wake Forest, the Deacs only had two players finish in double figures. Alondes Williams led the way 25 points, but also finished with a team high 7 turnovers. Daivien Williamson added 12 points on 5-9 shooting and 1-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Junior Jake LaRavia played just over 20 minutes in this game due to foul trouble and scored just 7 points.
This was, in my opinion, the first real letdown game of the season. The Deacs were on a three-game winning streak and had the home court advantage and a 13-point lead with 3 minutes remaining in the first half. They had control of this game and then quite literally just gave it away, and that is really frustrating. However, let’s just remember that Wake Forest still has 20 wins and is absolutely still headed in the right direction. We won’t even remember this game after we beat Duke next week, right? Go Deacs!