BC entered Saturday’s contest against Wake Forest looking to continue building momentum in ACC play after an upset victory of Florida State. The Demon Deacons came into the matchup with just an 8-10 record (1-5 in Conference), but Wynston Tabbs not traveling with the team due to a knee injury made this a difficult road test for the Eagles.
Despite coming off an incredible 37 point performance, Ky Bowman was off his game for most of BC’s hard-fought victory over Wake Forest. He only finished with 14 points, but hit the biggest shot of the night—a deep, off-balance three with 15.8 seconds left to give the Eagles a 64-61 lead. Wake Forest’s perimeter defense deserves a lot of credit for Bowman’s inconsistency. Brandon Childress was relentless, fighting through screens and barely giving Bowman any breathing room.
Filling the scoring gap, Nik Popovic and Jordan Chatman both had huge games. Popovic had 21 on the night along with 11 boards, giving him his sixth double-double of the year. Chatman poured in 18 of his own, reaching 1000 career points in the process.
The game was won on defense. Wake Forest was very sloppy with the ball, committing 16 turnovers, and the Eagles active defense played a large role in keeping the game close. BC capitalized off these mistakes. They finished with a +9 points off turnovers margin and an 18-6 advantage in fast-break scoring.
Both sides were very poor shooting-wise. BC shooting 4-10 from the line and 7-23 from deep. Wake Forest only shot 21.7% from three (5-23) despite going 6-6 at the line as a team. Childress could not match his defensive prowess on the offensive end, missing on all 9 of his 3pt attempts and turning the ball over 8 times.
BC opened the game on a hot 8-0 start as Wake Forest missed on their first 6 shots. Wake Forest ran a 3-2 zone throughout the game, that caused Bowman trouble, but opened up the paint for the Eagles.
Ball movement inside the arc came easy for BC in both halves. Kickouts and interior passes from the high post were open all game for the BC bigs. Forward utility-man Steffon Mitchell tied a career high with 7 assists along with 0 turnovers as Popovic feasted inside. He led the team with 10 points heading into halftime. BC found themselves trailing 35-31 after Wake Forest went on a 10-0 run down the stretch of the first half.
BC came together to seal the victory in the final minutes, holding the Demon Deacons scoreless over the final 4:30 of the game as they finished on a 9-0 run. Popovic and Chatman combined for several clutch baskets down the stretch before Bowman’s go-ahead three.
After back-to-back ACC wins, the Eagles now sit at 11-7 with a 2-4 conference record. They will look to make it three in a row as they return home to host a tough but beatable Syracuse. That game tips off in Conte Forum on Wednesday night at 8 pm.
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