Men’s basketball wins twice at home

The Demon Deacons had two one-sided victories over William & Mary and Western Carolina


The men’s basketball team, in their second year under Steve Forbes, looks to continue to build off of a promising start.

Christian Odjakjian, Staff Writer

The Wake Forest men’s basketball team started the season strong with wins over non-conference opponents William & Mary and  Western Carolina.

On Nov. 10, Wake Forest took down the William & Mary Tribe by a final score of 77-59. The Deacs dominated the first half, but got complacent in the second half and were outscored.

“We played a great first half,” Wake Forest Head Coach Steve Forbes said. “But, I was not very happy about the second half.”

Wake Forest led 46-18 at the break, turning over the Tribe on 36% of their possessions in the first half. The Deacs were able to turn defense into offense, run the break and get some easy baskets to build their lead.

Forbes was thrilled with the defense in the first half. Wake Forest had 24 deflections and seven “kills”, a stat he frequently tracks, which is when the defense gets three stops in a row.

The largest lead of the game for the Deacs was 30 points, as they were ahead 66-36 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game. William & Mary ended up outscoring Wake Forest 41-31 in the second half, which their coach was also not happy about.

“In the second half, the ball stuck and we tried to play too much isolation and we did not take advantage of our size,” Forbes said. “That’s not a sign of a mature team that plays to a certain standard. We will learn from it and move on.”

Oklahoma transfer guard Alondes Williams led the way with 22 points on 9-12 shooting.

He filled up the stat sheet, tallying three rebounds, assists and steals each.

Indiana State transfer forward Jake LaRavia also had an impressive debut, scoring 13 points and grabbing four rebounds. He was also active defensively, notching four steals.

Cameron Hildreth, the freshman guard from England, played an excellent first game as well, scoring 10 points to go along with five rebounds and four assists. Hildreth’s father flew across the pond and surprised his son for his impressive debut.

“I was always extremely excited to play my first college game,” Hildreth said. “But the surprise with my dad — who I haven’t seen in a long long time — made it great fun.”

Colorado transfer forward Dallas Walton put together a strong defensive performance in his first game as a Deac, blocking four shots.

Wake Forest defeated Western Carolina 87-75 on Friday in another game that was a tale of two halves.

The Catamounts were scorching hot from deep to start, hitting eight first-half three-pointers. Wake Forest only led 38-36 going into the break.

A 20-9 run to open the second half got the Deacs back on track, and the game was never really in question the rest of the way.

“We made some adjustments at halftime,” Forbes said. “I thought we did a good job in the second half of being more attached and just guarding our yard. Offensively, we finally made some shots, and we did move the ball better.”

Williams put together another monster game, scoring 32 points on 13-18 shooting, also adding eight rebounds, four assists and three steals. A Wake Forest player hasn’t scored that many since Jeff Teague scored 34 in a win over North Carolina in 2009.

In two years at Oklahoma, Williams never scored more than 15 points in a game.

“He’s got a gift,” Forbes said. “That’s one of the advantages of the transfer portal. You find a new home and you find a place where you fit better.”

Guard Davien Williamson also had a hot hand, scoring 24 points on 8-10 from the field, including 4-6 from long range.

LaRavia got after it defensively once again, this time tallying six steals along with six points and five rebounds. Hildreth scored 13 in another solid performance off the bench.

Forbes stuck with an eight-man rotation in both games, starting Williams, Williamson, LaRavia, Walton and Isaiah Mucius. Hildreth came off the bench, along with returning guard Carter Whitt and Ole Miss transfer Khadim Sy.

Sy did an admirable job in the frontcourt in both games, combining for 13 points and 12 rebounds.

The asterisk to the encouraging start to the season is that both of these teams were predicted to come in dead last in their respective mid-major conferences in preseason media polls.

However, one thing does seem apparent through two games: this team is a step above last year’s squad. Forbes having more time to establish his culture along with the personnel additions are pumping hype into the start of this season.

Davien Williamson, last year’s leading scorer, agrees.

“It makes the game a lot easier and a lot more comfortable when you are playing with guys with this level of talent,” he said.

Wake Forest will next face Charleston  Southern on Wednesday, Nov. 17.