Appleby shines as Wake Forest stuns Wisconsin in Madison

Wake Forest improves to 7-1 entering ACC play


Courtesy of Wake Forest Athletics

Tyree Appleby controls the ball en route to a 32-point performance in Madison, WI.

Sean Kennedy, Staff Writer

If it hasn’t been noticed already, Wake Forest basketball is in a renaissance period under head coach Steve Forbes, and it’s been further proven by one of their most valuable non-conference wins in years.
After Cam Hildreth notched the third triple-double in program history (Tim Duncan in 1996 and Alondes Williams in 2021) against Hampton, the team took a trip to the Kohl Center in Madison, to take on Big Ten powerhouse Wisconsin.
The Badgers, who were led last year by NBA lottery pick Johnny Davis, had a squad full of both experienced returners and highly touted freshmen. Sophomore G Chucky Hepburn, who was featured on the All-Big Ten Freshman Team last year, and freshman Connor Essegian each led the Badgers with their sharpshooting ability. The Badgers also featured former Demon Deacon Jahcobi Neath, who transferred to Wisconsin before the 2021-22 season.
The Deacons started off hot, jumping out to a comfortable five-point lead by the first media timeout. Afterward, a lob to Matthew Marsh sent an emphatic message to the Badgers — this game won’t be easy.
The Badgers responded with hard-nosed play from their experienced big men, Steven Crowl and Tyler Wahl. Wahl, an All-Big Ten Honorable mention last year, posted 17 points in the game, including multiple hook shots within the lane.
The score would change back-and-forth during the latter half of the first half. Hepburn posted seven points in the last two minutes, including two threes — one of which was from behind the half-court line, beating the buzzer and sending the Deacs into halftime with a three-point lead.
Coming out of halftime, the Deacons scored quickly off a Hildreth layup, followed by a lay-in by Marsh. The Deacons would get out to a seven-point lead before the Badgers could respond in the first media timeout after halftime.
Hepburn would respond loudly coming out of the timeout. He hit two consecutive threes to reduce the lead to one, and later on, two additional three-pointers by Crowl and Essegian would send the Badgers up five.
In the final five minutes of the game, the Deacons’ Tyree Appleby used his experience to take control of the game. Transition threes and assists to the likes of Damari Monsanto would come in clutch, as the previous two-possession deficit was reduced down to a single point with two minutes to go. Appleby would finish with a career-high 32 points, proving his worth on a national stage.
With 30 seconds to go and down one, Hildreth proved yet again why he is crucial to the team, hitting a jumper from just past the left block, over a taller defender to send the Deacs up one. Afterward, Wisconsin head coach Greg Gard would take a timeout to draw a play to try to send them up yet again.
The Badger play was defended mightily by the Deacon defense, and when Wahl went to take a layup, it rimmed out. A controversial out-of-bounds call on Hildreth would potentially give the Badgers the ball with fifteen seconds left. However, after video review, the ball was determined to slightly hit off of Hepburn last — giving the Deacons the ball up one. Hepburn would then foul Appleby to send him to the line.
Unlike in the Loyola Marymount game on Oct. 20, the Deacons felt cool and calm minds at the line. Despite the red sea of Wisconsin students behind the free throw line, Appleby hit both to send the Deacons up three with twelve seconds left. The Deacon defense took lessons from their overtime loss against the Lions and fouled Hepburn up three. Hepburn would return the favor with two made free throws.
The ball was be inbounded to Hildreth with nine seconds left, and they fouled him near-instantly. Hildreth would hit both, and Hepburn would try to become the hero yet again to tie the game from deep — only for the shot to be offline.
The win for the Demon Deacons was its fourth-ever victory over the Badgers and their fourteenth of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, which ESPN reported will end this year to make way for the new SEC-ACC Challenge. The Deacons would end up with the second-best amount of wins (14) in the challenge, only trailing Duke.
The win would also provide Forbes his second straight year with multiple wins over power six non-conference opponents. This year, wins over Georgia and Wisconsin provide quality wins, meanwhile last year the Deacons fended off Oregon State and Northwestern.
“I think it’s good for our narrative,” said Forbes after the game. “I walk out of here with a lot of pride for Wake Forest winning tonight.”