Conference play marched on for the Wake Forest Men’s Basketball team Sunday, as the Demon Deacons (9-9, 2-6) easily took care of severely depleted Boston College (BC) (9-9, 3-4), 80-62. The 18-point victory was the largest margin of victory in an ACC game for Wake Forest since John Collins and co. defeated NC State by 30 points in February of 2017.
“The lineup that we started the game out with, our big lineup with Oliver [Sarr] and Ody [Oguama], I thought they were terrific,” said Wake Forest Head Coach Danny Manning. “I thought our frontcourt in general, with Ismael [Massoud] was wonderful, too.”
Sarr and Oguama feasted on the glass and inside, each putting up double doubles. Fourteen points to go along with 13 boards for Sarr, and 16 and 10 for Oguama, were both career high marks for the players.
“Ody’s six offensive rebounds were huge,” Manning said. “John Collins didn’t even get six. Six is a big time number.”
Massoud, also a freshman, has seen a more expanded role lately, and continued to display his talent with a 14-point, six rebound performance. Senior Brandon Childress found a nice rhythm as well, scoring 20 on an extremely efficient 6-8 from the field, including 5-7 from downtown.
Wake Forest surely took advantage of a banged-up Boston College squad, missing four of their top seven scorers, including their top two rebounders.
Boston College Head Coach Jim Christian was visibly frustrated after the game: “I had two walk-ons out there for 30 minutes. I’m trying to teach guys plays on the fly,” he said.
A highlight from the game was freshman walk on Grant Van Beveren’s first career basket, a layup in the final minute. The Coliseum erupted in cheers.
Turnovers continue to be a glaring issue for the Deacs, as they gave it away 16 times, which BC turned into 21 points. At home against one of the worst teams in the ACC, missing significant pieces, anything less than a victory by double digits would have been embarrassing.
The win avenged the season series against the Eagles, after Wake Forest fell to them in their season debut back in November, 77-70.
Wake Forest looked to piece together consecutive wins after dropping three straight as they traveled to face Clemson (10-8, 4-4) Tuesday night, where they narrowly fell 71-68.
Chaundee Brown missed his fifth straight game and Isaiah Mucius returned to action after missing the BC game.
A loss is a loss, but to go on the road and compete so well two players down and against a team that just beat Duke was definitely an encouraging sign.
ESPN’s BPI gave Wake Forest a 75% chance to win the game with nine minutes remaining, up 56-51. But the offense stalled out down the stretch, as the Deacs shot just 2-11 from the field for 12 points during the last nine minutes.
The turnover situation improved, as the team only gave it away nine times, breaking a streak of four straight games with 16 plus. Childress provided all six of the team’s assists for the game, well below the season average of 12.4 a contest.
Andrien White notched a season-high with 22, and Sarr continued his impressive season with another double double, this time of 16 and 12. When Sarr picked up his third foul early in the second half and had to sit, Clemson was able to shift the momentum of the game.
Sophomore guard Hunter Tyson was huge for Clemson down the stretch and scored a career high 21 points. With just under six minutes left, a layup from Tyson put the Tigers up for good, and he followed it with a huge three pointer two minutes later. Wake Forest was able to limit Clemson’s best player, Aamir Simms, to just seven points, after putting up 25 against Duke.
This Clemson team epitomizes how wide open the ACC is this season. It’s not nearly as top-heavy as previous seasons. Esteemed bracketologist Joe Lunardi predicts only 5 ACC schools will make the tournament, which would be the smallest showing since the league expanded in 2014. Wake Forest has failed to capitalize on the increased parity within the league, and while the team seems to have improved from last season, their place in the standings is no different.
Up next for Wake Forest are more winnable games, with a home matchup against the offensively challenged defensive champions, University of Virginia, on Sunday. On Wednesday, the Deacs will see if they can beat Notre Dame in South Bend for a second straight season.