In Wednesday’s ACC action, Louisville beat Boston College 86-69 and Notre Dame protected its homecourt with a 90-80 win over Wake Forest.
Boston College was competitive for about 32 minutes before Louisville broke the game open in the second half behind a career game from Jordan Nwora, who scored 37. He also grabbed nine rebounds.
In a classic good news-bad news scenario, he hit about 53 percent of Louisville’s points. No one would turn it down but earlier this season Chris Mack implored his team to give Nwora some help on offense. Although Darius Perry had 14 and Dwayne Sutton had 10, no one else scored more than six so Nwora’s big night might count as regressive.
Since beating Virginia on January 7th, BC has gone 1-5, with the only win being over Virginia Tech.
One-time Blue Devil Derryck Thornton, on his last collegiate stop after a couple of years at USC, had 17 in this one but is shooting 37 percent on the year, supporting the Duke staff that wanted him to be a pass-first point guard.
With the loss, BC falls under .500 and pressure could be building on Jim Christian. He seems like a good coach and BC has always been dangerous in his hands, but his career record at BC is 72-111 and bad luck or whatever, sooner or later that will do you in.
As for Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons have an unfortunate pattern of playing very well in the first half and fading in the second.
That happened here. Wake was up 41-36 at the half only to see the Irish take the lead at 16:32 and the Deacs never led again.
TJ Gibbs had 18 but the story for the Irish were the big men. John Mooney had his normal double/double outing with 19 points and 13 rebounds. However, sophomore Nate Laszewski (rhymes with Krzyzewski) had a breakthrough game, hitting 6-8 for 18 points in 19 minutes.
He was limited by four fouls but even so, Mike Brey was really happy with the 6-10 sophomore.
Florida’s been good to the Irish lately: Mooney is from Orlando, Laszewski from Jupiter and Juwan Durham is from Tampa.
At 12-8 and 3-6, Notre Dame has a pulse and still has time to get hot. Wake Forest is now 9-11 and 2-8 in the ACC and while they are competitive - all but two of their losses are by 10 points or less - at some point you have to show improvement. Not having Chaundee Brown hurts but Danny Manning’s record at Wake goes like this:
- 2014-15: 13-19
- 2015-16: 11-20
- 2016-17: 19-14
- 2017-18: 11-20
- 2018-19: 11-20
- 2019-20 9-11 (to date)
That’s 74-104 and with a new boss too. We understand he has a big buyout but Wake Forest has struggled since at least 2010 and depending on how you define success, longer.
Dino Gaudio got to the post-season twice in his three years but you never got the sense that Wake Forest, despite a lot of talent, was really cohesive. And that’s not entirely his fault. He inherited the program when his boss Skip Prosser shockingly died of a heart attack in 2007 and some of his players seemed to be a bit on the selfish side.
People forget though that in his last two seasons, Prosser finished 17-17 and 15-16.
So since 2002-03 - Prosser’s second season - the Deacs have won more than 19 games just six times, four under Prosser and two under Gaudio. That’s a lot of mediocrity.
If we’re Wake’s AD, John Currie, a native of Chapel Hill by the way and so likely fully cultured in ACC basketball, we’d be doing a discreet inventory of the program. There’s no need for Wake Forest to be consistently bad.
Keep this in mind though: Currie was the AD who conducted the disastrous football search at Tennessee that saw him attempt to hire Greg Schiano. You may remember the fan rebellion, one which exceeded even Wake Forest’s very public revolt against Jeff Bzdelik.
Assuming he has learned from his mistakes, and being aware of the recent unhappiness of Demon Deacons fans, if Wake Forest is looking for a coach this spring, presumably he’ll be smarter. He might even opt for a search firm. A lot of coaches would give their right arm to coach in the ACC.
And we’d like to mention, again, the coach of D-II Northwest Missouri State, Ben McCullom. When he brought his team to Duke this year for an exhibition game, the Bearcats were far less talented but still mounted an impressive late comeback.
He had a three year record of 95-5 and so far this year is 18-1. We’d say 113-6 is a pretty persuasive argument. We’re not aware of anyone in basketball at any level right now, other than possibly high school, that can match that. Our only question is can he recruit and, well, you can hire people to do that.
Wake would be nuts not to consider him if they end up looking. BC too.
No Games Until Saturday
- Louisville 86 Boston College 69
- Notre Dame 90 Wake Forest 80
- Deacons falter in second half, fall to Irish
- Ed Hardin: Halfway home in a strange basketball season for the ACC
- Notre Dame finally enjoys conference success at home
- Jordan Rules: Nwora’s career high helps Louisville top Boston College
- No. 6 Florida State quietly is the hottest team in the ACC
- Louisville improved to 9-1 in the ACC