The Wake Forest Men’s Basketball Team picked up their 10th conference win of the season tonight, beating the Notre Dame Fighting Irish 66-58. That 10th win may not seem like that big of a deal, but that makes the 2022-23 season just the 2nd time since the 2008-09 season that Wake Forest has won 10 or more conference games, the other being last year. I know they added a couple of conference games a few years ago, but that should still be a reminder of the job that Steve Forbes has done so far in just 2 full seasons at Wake Forest.
I’m not really sure what to say about this game because to me, it felt kind of an uneventful for the most part. Maybe that’s to be expected in a home game against an ACC team with 2 conference wins towards the end of the season, but outside of a couple of small runs, it didn’t really seem like either team put together a very good game.
That being said the first half was actually a decently entertaining, high scoring affair. Notre Dame and Wake started things off shooting the ball well from deep with both the Irish and the Deacs shooting 45% from beyond the arc in the first half. At the end of the half, the teams had combined for 13 3-pointers and 75 points. The Deacs went into the half with a 39-36 lead.
The second half, on the other hand, was pretty ugly. Neither team could buy a basket as Notre Dame shot an awful 9-31 from the floor and an even worse 0-9 from beyond the arc, while the Deacs managed to shoot a whopping 29% from the floor and 26% from 3. Wake went on a 13-4 run midway through the half, and that just kind of the end of the game. Notre Dame never really made a run at it, and the Deacs never really put together another run to blow the game open. It seemed like both teams were just going through the motions of the game completely contempt with the current score. Like I said, it just felt weirdly uneventful.
Tyree Appleby once again led the way for Wake with 21 points and 6 assists. We may have lost some of the astonishment of what Appleby has done for Wake Forest this season because it has become so commonplace for him, so I’ll try to put it into perspective. Appleby has scored 15 or more points and dished out 5 or more assists in 18 of Wake’s 29 games this season—that’s the most such games by any power conference player this season. In the whole nation, he trails only Toledo’s Rayj Dennis , who has reached 15 points and 5 assists 19 times this season.
Outside of Appleby, probably the next best Deac tonight was Lucas Taylor. Taylor, who hadn’t seen any game action since playing 4 minutes against App State at the beginning of December, finished the game with 6 points on 2-4 shooting from beyond the arc, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. He stepped up big time for Wake in the absence of Damari Monsanto and really played with a lot of energy. You definitely love to see that.
Wake now has just 2 games remaining in the regular season—another quad 4 home game against Boston College and a trip to the artist formerly known as the Carrier Dome for a game against Syracuse. The Deacs never won a game in the Carrier Dome, so now that the name has been changed, maybe they’ll have some better luck. Either way, it’s starting to look like Wake will probably end up in the 8-9 game for the ACC Tournament, probably rematching Syracuse just a few days after playing them in the regular season. Right now, the winner of that game would play the #1 seed Pittsburgh Panthers, which would definitely have sounded crazy at the beginning of the season.
Wake didn’t play their best game tonight, but they got the win, and that’s what is important.