Wake Forest seemed to come in with a game plan to pressure Ky Bowman, Jerome Robinson, and Jordan Chatman on defense and let the BC frontcourt take as many open jump shots as they wanted to. The strategy worked for them early on as Nik Popovic, Steffon Mitchell, Luka Kraljevic, and Johncarlos Reyes combined to go 5 for 16 in the first half. As the half progressed, however, BC’s more ball movement produced some 3-point attempts for Bowman and Chatman as well as drives that got Robinson to the line. Five of Robinson’s ten first half points came from the charity stripe.
On defense, the Eagles were able to limit the inside game reasonably well, thanks in part to the dynamic play of Steffon Mitchell who came up with three first half blocks. Ky Bowman was also active on defense, tying up his man to produce a steal and jump ball and pulling in four first half rebounds. The Eagles got some good ball movement going in the final five minutes of the half to build up a 5-point lead, but allowed two scoring possessions from Wake to end the period in a 35-35 tie.
BC diversified their scoring some in the second half. They got into foul trouble with nine minutes to play in the half, but were able to limit non-shooting fouls while the Deacons were in the bonus. The defensive play continued to be strong, limiting the Deacons to 29% shooting in the second half. BC got the rare opportunity to protect and extend a lead at the end of the game and they pushed the lead to 12 at the 4:30 mark.
Wake Forest mounted a furious run in the final 1:05, with Bryant Crawford and Chaundee Brown combing to hit five 3s . They made a point of fouling Mitchell and Popovic, who pulled through hitting three of four foul shots each in the final minute. Ky Bowman came up with a big steal and Wake was forced to foul Chatman who nailed both free throws. Chaundee Brown hit one more 3 just before the buzzer but it was too late for the Deacons who fell 77-71.
While Wake was able to clean up on offensive rebounds (15 offensive rebounds to BC’s 6), BC absolutely dominated in blocks (9 to 1), steals (6 to 3) and turnovers (7 to 15). Steffon Mitchell took advantage of the open looks Wake was giving him, ending the night with 17 points to go along with his 4 blocks and 5 rebounds. Jerome Robinson led all scorers with 25 points. Bowman had a double-double (11 pts, 10 reb) as well as 3 steals. The Eagles improve to 11-5, 2-2 ACC with the win. They will travel to Chapel Hill to take on #12 North Carolina on Tuesday night.