Men’s basketball falls to UNC in Chapel Hill

The Tar Heels ride a second-half offensive spree to victory.


Evan Harris

Davien Williamson reaches for the basket.

Evan Harris, Photography Editor

After picking up a pair of important wins against Duke and Virginia Tech at the Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Wake Forest fell to the University of North Carolina (UNC) Tar Heels 88-79 following a valiant effort on the road. Despite shooting remarkably well from the field (49.1%) and from beyond the arc (47.6%), turnovers defined Wake Forest’s loss Wednesday night. The Demon Deacons gave the ball away 15 times, conceding 32 points in the process. While Wake Forest kept it close for the majority of the contest, leading at the half and at several other points, a 25-15 run in the closing 10 minutes for the Tar Heels would decisively lead UNC to victory.

“Credit to North Carolina,” Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes said after the game. “We had it going our way, obviously, going into halftime. We had the lead, we were really happy about that…I thought the last 10 minutes they really turned up the intensity on defense and got much more aggressive. I thought that rattled us. I thought we caved to the pressure of the intensity of the defense. We had unforced turnovers.”


Redshirt junior wing Damari Monsanto put on a show for the Demon Deacons, leading Wake Forest in scoring on the night with 17 points. Clinical from beyond the arc, Monsanto made crucial buckets when it mattered and dominated the boards on defense, recording seven defensive rebounds — the most rebounds he has recorded in a Wake Forest jersey.

Graduate guard Tyree Appleby and junior forward Andrew Carr were effective off the glass, both recording nine rebounds. Both players were also in double figures with 16 points apiece. Appleby did a great job of moving the ball, racking up nine assists and constantly creating problems for the other team’s defense.

From tip-off, the Tar Heel faithful were in full force, the stands resembling a sea of blue as far as the eye could see. Students were welcomed back to the Dean Dome with open arms, creating a chaotic atmosphere that added to the already intense outing for the visiting Wake Forest team.

“What a tremendous environment,” Forbes remarked. “I’ve played at about every big-time environment there is for college basketball, and that crowd is really loud and impressive.”

Armando Bacot would open the scoring for the Tar Heels, but his first bucket was quickly followed by two 3-point buckets from Appleby and Davien Williamson for the Demon Deacons. An early four-point Wake Forest lead would quickly fade after North Carolina secured a pair of three-pointers themselves courtesy of Leaky Black. The Tar Heels would maintain a steady advantage as the half progressed until a solo 6-0 run from freshman forward Bobi Klintman in just over a minute would bring the Demon Deacons within one point. The Tar Heels answered with buckets from Bacot and Black to preserve their edge over the Demon Deacons.

In the final five minutes of the first half, Wake Forest would hold the North Carolina offense to zero recorded points, embarking on yet another 6-0 run to clinch the lead at 38-37, silencing the raucous home support. The Demon Deacons headed into the locker room with the advantage at the half.

Wake Forest began the second period of play with intention, knocking down four 3-pointers from four attempts and going 9-11 on the floor. The Demon Deacons were able to extend their lead to six around the 13-minute mark thanks to a masterclass by Carr, Monsanto, and Appleby, each contributing to the scoreline from both beyond the arch and close range. The Dean Dome was tense as the Demon Deacons began to turn on the heat in Chapel Hill. The second half would see 15 lead changes, in thrilling back-and-forth action.

In the final 10 minutes, North Carolina began to control the tempo of the game thanks to an explosive 12-3 run that would send the home crowd into pandemonium. Sloppy shots and turnovers would ultimately lead to Wake Forest’s demise. After coming out so confidently in the second half, the Demon Deacons were a shell of themselves in the closing sequences, allowing a comfortable North Carolina victory.

“It’s a tough loss because it was there for the taking,” Forbes said. “To win on the road, you can’t turn it over, and you have to get stops, and we didn’t do that.”

The Demon Deacons resume ACC play at home on Wednesday Jan. 11 at 9 p.m., taking on the Florida State Seminoles.