Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-9 SU, 6-8-1 ATS, 5-10 O/U) vs. N.C. State Wolfpack (12-6 SU, 5-6 ATS, 7-4 O/U)
NCAAB: Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. EST
The Line: N.C. State Wolfpack -5. Total: 157
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have lost three in a row and five of their last six games heading into a road date with the N.C. State Wolfpack at PNC Arena on Thursday night. Wake Forest is coming off consecutive setbacks against Boston College, Virginia Tech, and Duke. The Wolfpack had won two straight contests before falling at red-hot Virginia this past Sunday.
It’s on us
Wake Forest is last in the ACC in scoring defense (74.1 points per game allowed) after suffering an 89-71 loss at fifth-ranked Duke last weekend. The Demon Deacons have lost three in a row since an impressive victory against Syracuse on Jan. 3 and they have allowed 83 points per game during their current losing streak.
“We’ve got to come together as a team, figure it out,” junior guard Keyshawn Woods commented. It’s on us. Coach (Danny Manning)…nothing he draws up or tells us can change it; we’ve got to change it ourselves.”
The Demon Deacons entered Wednesday third in the conference in three-point shooting percentage (39.8) and have four starters connecting on at least 43 percent from beyond the arc. Junior guard Bryant Crawford leads the team in scoring (16.1 ppg) and has drained 16 of 33 from three-point range in ACC play. He also leads Wake Forest in total assists with 47 on the season. Woods, who is shooting 43.1 percent from the land of plenty, is the only other double-figure scorer (14.7 ppg) and 7’1” junior center Doral Moore adds 9.5 ppg on 72.4 percent shooting from the field with a team-best 8.0 rebounds per contest. Woods went 6-of-8 combined from deep as the Demon Deacons won both games against N.C. State last season.
N.C. State survived a stretch of three straight games against ranked teams just fine with two wins and it now must try to avoid a letdown against a struggling Wake Forest squad. The Wolfpack knocked off Clemson and Duke before allowing 56.1 percent shooting in a 68-51 setback at second-ranked Virginia this Sunday. The Wolfpack were held 30 points below their average by stingy Virginia.
“We know that every game is a battle,” junior forward Torin Dorn (13.3 points per game, team-high 7.1 rebounds per game) noted. “If we can clean up some of the things we messed up on (Sunday) and keep on moving the ball and keep playing with intensity, we’ll be fine.”
The Wolfpack must improve defensively if they are to make a move in the ACC, as they stand last in the conference in shooting percentage defense (44.9) and 13th in points allowed (72.6 ppg). Senior guard Allerik Freeman leads five players who average at least 9.8 ppg at 14.3 ppg, but he was shut out at Virginia on 0-for-5 shooting in 29 minutes. Freshman Lavar Batts Jr. scored a season-high 12 against the Wahoos and sophomore backcourt mate Markell Johnson, who missed the previous seven games, returned to the lineup Sunday after felony assault charges against him were dropped.
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are:
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight road games
- 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 games against teams with winning records
The N.C. State Wolfpack are:
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games
- 3-1-1 ATS in their last five games against teams with losing records
- 9-4-2 ATS in their last 15 games on Thursdays
Demon Deacons’ guard Mitchell Wilbekin is dangerous from long range, but he was 0-for-4 from beyond the arc (0-for-7 from the field) against Duke. N.C. State forward Omer Yurtseven averaged 22.5 points per game in the wins over Duke and Clemson. Wake Forest is 2-5 ATS in its last seven overall, 2-6 ATS in its last eight on the road, 3-9-1 ATS in its last 13 against winning opponents, 2-5 ATS in its last seven on the road against opponents with winning home records, and 1-4-1 ATS in its last six trips to N.C. State. The Wolfpack are 5-2 ATS in their last seven at home, 3-1-1 ATS in their last five against losing opponents, and 9-4-2 ATS in their last 15 on Thursdays. Expect those trends to continue.