Wake Forest extended its losing streak to seven games on Saturday as the Deacs fell to the Louisville Cardinals 96-77 at the KFC Yum! Center.
The game, which marked the halfway point of ACC play for the Demon Deacons, was one of both positive and negative takeaways, despite the lopsided score. Wake Forest led by as much as nine at the midpoint of the first half, but ultimately fell victim to a 34-16 run to conclude the first 20 minutes of action.
The Deacs trailed by as much as 31 in the second half and committed 20 turnovers in the full 40 minutes. Wake Forest shot a respectable 48 percent from the field, however, and even out-rebounded the long and athletic Cardinals 39-32. Doral Moore (16 points, 13 rebounds) picked up his seventh double-double of the season and Chaundee Brown recorded his third career 20-point game, becoming the fifth Demon Deacon to achieve such a feat in their first 20 games since 2000.
One positive takeaway for the Deacs in ACC play has been the development of Brown, who now has three double-figure games in conference play, including two 20-point performances. His first 20-point game came at Boston College when the freshman scored 18 of his 20 points through field goals from beyond the arc.
While impressed with the shooting performance of his small forward, coach Danny Manning wanted Brown to be more aggressive with his offensive attack.
It’s taken a few weeks, but it appears as though Brown has begun to take the ball to the paint on a higher percentage of possession touches. On Saturday this was especially true, as 17 of his 20 points came from either the charity stripe or from inside the 3-point line.
“Be aggressive. Use my body. Get to the paint,” Brown said on his instructions from coach Manning. For Wake Forest to find success moving forward, Brown will need to continue finding ways to be more aggressive.
Wake Forest has demonstrated that it is capable of playing at a high level for limited stretches of time, however, this effort has not proved to last for more than 20 minutes in most ACC contests this year, let alone a full 40.
Saturday’s game at Louisville was a perfect example. In the game’s first 12 minutes, Wake Forest experienced success on both ends of the floor, getting Moore a quick six points in the period’s first three minutes, forcing turnovers and running the floor to play defense after a made basket.
Unfortunately for the Deacons, this success was limited to those first 12 minutes and the Cardinals quickly took over the game.
At the midpoint of the ACC season, Wake Forest’s record is certainly not one to celebrate. However, there is a lot of basketball left this year. A post-season birth outside of the ACC Tournament is nearly impossible to achieve at this point, however, Wake Forest has an opportunity to improve with each new opponent it faces – as long as the team manages to stay together.
“We are [still together],” Brown said after the loss to Louisville. “We’re going to get back to practice and just fight. We’re going to watch film, see the wrong things that we did and correct them.”