Men’s Basketball falls to NC State

Jericole Hellems and Dereon Seabrom both scored 14 points for the Wolfpack


Junior forward Isaiah Mucius goes up for a layup attempt in the paint, notching two of his 11 points in the 18 point loss.

Christian Odjakjian, Staff Writer

The Wake Forest men’s basketball season hit a new low Saturday afternoon after back-to-back home blowouts versus two .500 level in-state rivals.

Following the loss to Duke, NC State (10-9, 6-8), took care of business against the Demon Deacons (6-11, 3-11), to the tune of an 80-62 win.

“I thought [NC State] Coach [Kevin] Keats had his team excited and ready to play today,” Wake Forest Head Coach Steve Forbes said after the game. “They enforced their will on us both offensively and defensively.”

The contest was knotted up at 14 apiece nine minutes into the game, until freshman guard Cam Hayes hit back-to-back threes, sparking a 19-4 run for the Wolfpack.

NC State led 51-35 at halftime. Wake Forest didn’t pass the threshold of 51 points themselves until there were just over four minutes remaining in the second half.

“I’m so proud of these guys,” Coach Keats said of his team. “I thought it was the best team basketball we’ve played all season.”

Early foul trouble for sophomore Ody Oguama and poor offensive play from freshman Emmanuel Okpomo forced the Deacs into playing small for much of the first half, where they were exposed defensively by a potent NC State offense. Oguama and junior forward Isaiah Mucius, two very important players for Wake Forest, played a combined seven and a half minutes in the first half.

The Wolfpack were very balanced in the win, with seven players scoring between eight and 14 points. Freshman guard Dereon Seabron and sophomore forward Jericole Hellems each scored 14.

Wake Forest guards Ian Dubose and Davien Williamson scored 20 of the team’s 35 first-half points. Dubose finished the game with a team-high 14, and Mucius and Williamson joined him in double figures with 11 each.

The Demon Deacons were outscored 19-1 by the Wolfpack on fast-breaks. All 11 players that saw the floor for Wake Forest committed a turnover, to which Forbes said he couldn’t remember another time that has happened to one of his teams throughout his coaching career.

Forbes was not happy with the shots his players were taking in this game, and said he wanted the ball to be swung more effectively and more often. He mentioned in the press conference that the few times there was more than one ball reversal in a possession, players were getting to the rim or getting fouled. Both NC State and Duke were very disruptive on defense and did not allow Wake Forest to settle into any type of offensive groove.

The regression in the last two games is especially frustrating due to the encouragement that the near-upset of No. 11 Florida State offered. The overtime loss, which easily could have been a regulation win, ideally would have generated momentum for the final leg of the season. Instead, it was followed up with two very uninspiring performances.

“I felt like on Monday and Tuesday our players approached practice as if we had beaten Florida State,” Forbes said. “I thought they were way too comfortable. I tried to change that, but obviously I didn’t do a good job.”

That type of complacency won’t get it done in the ACC, even in a down year.

Wake Forest will look to avoid dropping three straight at home with an afternoon battle against the Clemson Tigers on Feb. 24. Clemson has the No. 13 defense in the nation according to’s efficiency ratings.