"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

'Covers the campus like the magnolias'
"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

"Covers the campus like the magnolias"

Old Gold & Black

Tar Heels’ second half run dooms Demon Deacons

UNC’s Davis puts up career high 36 points against Wake
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Evan Harris
Damari Monsanto (30) celebrates a dagger from beyond the arch. The game in Chapel Hill Monday night marked his second game back from injury. Monsanto recorded six points in the contest.

Sometimes, the opponent just outclasses you.

Men’s basketball (13-6) experienced that feeling Monday night with an 85-63 loss against the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels (16-3).

“They might be the best team in the country,” Wake Forest Head Coach Steve Forbes said postgame.

With a raucous crowd at the Dean E. Smith Center in Chapel Hill and billing on ESPN, the test created a high-profile setting for the Demon Deacons — which they passed for the first 20 minutes.

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Hunter Sallis (18pts, 6-13 FG) was the scoring spark the Demon Deacons needed through the first half, scoring eight of the teams’ first 14 points. 

Midway through the first half, the Tar Heels separated themselves behind a pair of Jae’lyn Withers (5pts, 7rebs) trips to the line and a handful of Elliot Cadeau (14pts, 7-12 FG) layups. A 10-0 run led Forbes to take a timeout to regroup.

The Demon Deacons came back through a bevy of jump shots from Sallis and Cameron Hildreth (10pts, 7rebs, 5-12 FG). Hildreth has been fighting a lingering arm injury, evidenced by a cast on his right arm. A 14-4 run led to a point where both teams traded the lead, and the Demon Deacons went into halftime up one.

The second half, though, was where the Tar Heels stepped up their game.

Potential ACC Player of the Year R.J. Davis caught fire for the Tar Heels, hitting consecutive 3-pointers. His ability to score from beyond the arc led him to score four from downtown, en route to a career-high 36 points.

There are not going to be a lot of teams that are going to come in here and win this year because they really are that good.

— Steve Forbes, Men's Basketball Head Coach

“Some of his shots were just elite level shots,” Forbes said. “RJ Davis is the best player in our league. He proved that tonight.”

The Tar Heels cleaned up the boards too, out-rebounding the Demon Deacons by double digits (13). Stanford transfer forward Harrison Ingram (10pts, 4-7 FG) put up 14 defensive rebounds for the Tar Heels, while three-time All-ACC center Armando Bacot (5pts, 2-6 FG) got three on the offensive end to add to seven total. 

“Ingram struggled in the first [half],” Forbes said. “He really got it going in the second half and is a really good player.”

Offensive inefficiency haunted the Demon Deacons, with no player shooting more than 50% from the floor. Despite Sallis’ strong first half, he grew cold as the second half went on. Contrast the Demon Deacons’ weary shooting with the Davis and the Tar Heels’ high efficiency and high volume, and the deficit grew to over twenty points.

3-point troubles didn’t help either as the Demon Deacons shot 3-20 (15%) from beyond the arc. None of the starters — Miller, Hildreth, Sallis, Reid or Carr — made a single shot from behind the arc.

The trio of 3-point shots made came at the hands of Parker Friedrichsen (3pts, 1-2 FG) and Damari Monsanto (6pts, 2-7 FG), although those points represented the entirety of Wake Forest’s bench points on the night. Monsanto, despite playing 14 minutes on the night, is still nursing a knee injury that he suffered during last season’s game against NC State.

“Damari was on a pitch count,” Forbes said of Monsanto. “We have a big break, so we’ll have to see if he is able to ramp up over the next nine days.”

Despite the loss, Forbes attested to the Tar Heels’ quality on both sides of the ball.

“We got beat by a really good basketball team tonight,” Forbes said. “There are not going to be a lot of teams that are going to come in here and win this year because they really are that good.”

Wake Forest visits the Pitt Panthers at Petersen Events Center on January 31st. Tip-off is set for 7pm on ACC Network.

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About the Contributor
Sean Kennedy, Sports Editor
Sean is a junior from Long Island, NY majoring in communication and minoring in journalism and film studies. Outside of the OGB, he is the president of the Sports Analytics Club and a member of Wake Radio. In his free time, you can find him following all levels of professional sports and supporting his favorite teams — the Celtics, Jets, Yankees and Islanders.

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