The Wake Forest Demon Deacons improved to 12-5 on the season and 4-2 in the ACC Wednesday night after taking down the Florida State Seminoles by a score of 90-75. Steve Forbes has quietly made the Joel one of the toughest places for opponents in the ACC—the Deacs won their 9th straight of the season at home tonight and are currently 27-2 at home over the past 2 seasons. The win puts Wake into a tie for 3rd place in the ACC with 4 other teams.
It is once again really late, so this recap is going to be on the shorter side (I’m not really a fan of all these 9:00 games). This one really came down to one thing and one thing only: 3-point shooting. The Deacs finished the game shooting 14-26 (54%) from beyond the arc—anytime a team makes 10+ 3-pointers at an over 50% rate, they are going to have to really try hard to lose the game. Case and point: Florida State finished the game shooting 54% from the floor, outrebounded the Deacs by 7, and scored 36 points in the paint—and Wake still won by 15 points.
While the defense was spotty at times, the Wake Forest offense was incredible tonight. Wake was sharing the ball well and assisted on 15 of their 30 made baskets.
That is just beautiful basketball right there. Anytime a team can manage to look like the 2014 Spurs on offense, I think it’s safe to say they are doing something right.
Damari Monsanto kicked things off for Wake with two 3-pointers, one resulting in a 4-point play, and the Deacs just never cooled off. Monsanto went on to finish the game scoring 22 points on 8 total shots—that is some absurd efficiency. He really let the offense come to him tonight instead of forcing things off the dribble, and the result was him coming 2 missed shots away from a perfect game. If Monsanto plays like that for the rest of the season, the Deacs are going to be hard to beat.
Wake also got a couple of career highs from Cameron Hildreth and Andrew Carr, who were nearly equally as efficient as Monsanto. Hildreth was attacking the paint all night, and Florida State really had no answer. He finished with 23 points on 9-14 shooting and added 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Carr too had a nice game around the basket, but also showed his range from the outside a couple of times. The Delaware transfer finished with 22 points on 8-10 shooting including 2-2 from beyond the arc. The trio of Monsanto, Hildreth, and Carr became the first trio of Wake players to score 20+ points since 2005 against West Virginia (and if memory serves, that game went to double OT).
Hildreth, Monsanto and Carr all with more than 20 points for the Deacs. Last time for that ws in the 2005 NCAA Tournament against WVU: Taron Downey (27), Eric Williams (23) & Chris Paul (22)— Les Johns (@Les_Johns) January 12, 2023
While said trio was dominating the game, Tyree Appleby quietly had yet another fantastic night with 16 points and 8 assists, which has basically just become pretty routine for him. He now has 101 assists on the year, making him the first ACC player to reach 100 this season. He remains 2nd in the conference in both points per game and assists per game.
This was just a great overall performance from the Deacs. Outside of a few sloppy minutes in the first half where the Noles went on an 8-0 run to take a 19-13 lead, the Deacs were pretty much in control of this one for almost 30 minutes of game time. They led by as many as 20 in the second half and did not allow FSU to cut it back to single digits like they did the previous game against Louisville. The Deacs have one more “must win” game on Saturday at Boston College before they go on what has turned into a surprisingly tough stretch with Clemson, Virginia, at Pitt, NC State, and at Duke to close out the month. Might as well just win them all, right?