Wake freshmen suffer growing pains in Cameron
Wake Forest kept scraping and fighting, diving for loose balls and battling underneath the basket.
The hard work didn’t keep the Deacons close as they fell to the Blue Devils, 80-62.
“I told them there is a difference between playing hard and competing,” Wake Forest coach Jeff Bzdelik said. “Competing is doing what you can do to win. We played hard. We need to play better.”
Wake didn’t defend the 3-point shot in the first half, didn’t keep the Blue Devils from driving to the basket in he second and didn’t take care of the ball, committing 18 turnovers that Duke turned into 19 points.
The Deacs managed to lead early, reversing a recent trend of poor starts, but missed repeatedly from close range and got the luck of a banked in 3 by Codi Miller-McIntyre. The first miss came when freshman center Devin Thomas drove past Mason Plumlee and couldn’t make a layup on the first possession.
Thomas’ miss foretold his failure to scratch in the scoring column even though he did lead the Deacons with 12 rebounds. It was a precursor to none of the seven Deacon freshman scoring in double digits and Travis McKie had 22 and C.J. Harris added 11. Miller-McIntyre, with eight, was the only other Deacon to score more the four.
“It was expected,” Travis McKie said after scoring a team-high 22 points. “There was only so much C.J. and I could tell them about playing against a great team like Duke in front of a great crowd.
“But in the long run I think this will help. What better way to open ACC play than against the No. 1 team in the country in their building? They found out what playing in the ACC is like.”
Thomas said the freshmen were not nervous about playing Duke on the road.
“I don’t think nerves played a factor,” Thomas said. “we were excited and anxious. We hit them hard but we gave up too many 3s.”
They gave up nine treys in the first half, which helped the Blue Devils lead by 11 at the break.
“They were running off ball screens well,” freshman guard Miller-McIntrye said. “They were running two or three of them before they took their first shot. We have to do a better job fighting through the screens.”
The Devils came off the screens to pop our repeatedly.
“It was all about execution,” McKie said. “We locked down better on the 3-point line in the second half but they still got some easy shots when they spaced out the defense. We fought, we were down 25 but we came back.”
As far the turnovers, Miller-McIntyre said the Deacons got in too much of a hurry.
“We have to slow down,” Miller-McIntyre said. “If somebody is pressuring us, we need to just relax. Then, we can run past them and run our offense.”