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Wake Forest’s season ends with a 52-67 loss to Texas A&M

It was a very bad way to end what has been a great season for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. The Aggies jumped all over the Deacs early on, and the game was essentially decided after the first 4 minutes when A&M took an 11-2 lead. That Aggie lead grew to 21 points in the second half, and Wake was eventually beaten 52-67 to end their season. Still, Wake Forest ended the year 25-10, winning 25 games for the first time since 2005. It obviously wasn’t the end any of us wanted, but the Deacs are still well ahead of the schedule to become an elite program again.

The first half of this game was one of the worst basketball halves I have ever seen at Wake Forest. Texas A&M put the pressure on early, and the Deacs looked completely flabbergasted. The Aggie press forced Wake to 12 turnovers in the first half, which quickly converted into 13 points for A&M. It seemed to me that the only Wake Forest player who looked comfortable dribbling the ball against A&M pressure was rookie Cameron Hildreth. He seemed to be completely out of step and kind of became Wake’s best postseason point guard.

Even when the Deacs managed to get the ball up the field, they were abysmal shooting the ball, hitting 4 of their 27 attempts in the first half, for an incredible 15% shooting from the floor. The Deacs had four shots in the first half. FOUR. It doesn’t take a Hall of Fame coach to figure out that 12 turnovers and just 4 shots on target probably isn’t a recipe for winning games. The Deacs were extremely lucky given how poorly they played to only go down 15-32 in the first half.

The second half was only a little better. The Deacs started to put the ball in the basket and used an 8-0 run to cut the lead to 9 with just over 11 minutes left. It was as close as it gets, as Wake could never put together enough saves in a row to get close. The Deacs kind of ran out of gas towards the end and A&M was able to blow the lead to 21 with less than 5 minutes to go. Wake just put himself too far down a hole from the tip, and there’s virtually no way to overcome spinning the ball more than 21 times while simultaneously shooting 34% for the game.

Wake Forest had, in Steve Forbes’ words, a great season with 25 wins. It didn’t end the way we wanted too, but almost every team in the country ends the season with a loss. The big question now is whether it was a flash in the pan or if Forbes is starting to build a consistent winner in Wake Forest. The Deacs are losing – at the very least – ACC Player of the Year Alondes Williams, which obviously won’t be an easy hole to fill. We have to wait and see what the roster turnover looks like down the road, but Cameron Hildreth and Damari Monsanto definitely showed towards the end of the season that they can be major contributors going forward, so the team should be in good hands anyway.

Let’s not let how things ended be what we remember about this season. For the first time in what seems like forever, the future of Wake Forest’s basketball program is bright and the Deacs are on the verge of excellence. Go deacons!