Kristen Morse / Gavel Media

Men's Basketball Falls to Wake Forest Two Days After Topping Syracuse

Men's basketball fell to Wake Forest on the road this Tuesday, 79-66, coming off of an impressive win over Syracuse in BC's ACC opener on New Year’s Day. The Eagles controlled the game in the first half but lost their footing after halftime and succumbed to the Demon Deacons, who hit their stride late in the game.

BC owed their 37-35 halftime lead to impeccable passing and movement on offense. Sophomore guard Jerome Robinson and forward A.J. Turner dominated on the scoreboard, with a surprise guest appearance by 6-foot-eleven freshman Nik Popovic, who contributed nine points from the paint in the first. Although the half was riddled with lead changes, the Eagles managed to stay on top more than the Deacs, who found themselves playing catch-up behind star forward John Collins. Collins ended the game with a team-high 17 points, topped in the game only by BC’s own Robinson.

The collapse came in the second half, when the Eags went almost nine minutes without a field goal, letting Wake Forest take control of the game with a 16-point lead. 15 of BC’s 29 points in the second came from free throws, a statistic indicative of the foul-heavy play that emerged after the half. Wake, coming off of two tough losses against ACC rivals FSU and Clemson, came out of the locker room after the half hungry for a win and with the aggressive play to match.

Once Wake recovered from their 43-38 deficit, their momentum became too strong for the BC defense, now in a zone, to stop. The Eagles watched their lead turn into a close contest and then quickly dissolve into an irredeemable gap as the Deacons’ shooting improved to 76% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc.

The Eagles tried to build on their 61.8% three-point record from Sunday’s matchup with Syracuse, but the constant attempts only hurt the game. BC finished with a measly 16.7% success rate despite taking 30 free throws. Wake, on the other hand, only tried for 15 triples and managed a 40% success rate—meaning they made six to BC’s five on half the attempts.

Another discrepancy between Tuesday’s game and the win over Syracuse was the performance of freshman standout Ky Bowman. Bowman was named ACC Freshman of the Week for the second week running after posting 30 points against the Orange. Tuesday saw 14 points from the guard originally recruited for football by UNC—not a bad statistic by any means, but less impressive considering his continual failed three-point shots and weak showing in the first half.

The Eagles will face their biggest challenge yet this Saturday when they return to North Carolina to face No. 8 Duke. The Blue Devils will be playing without head coach Mike Krzyzewski, but they'll have junior guard Grayson Allen back, who was suspended for repeated tripping incidents.

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