William & Mary (3-1) at Wake Forest (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 23, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum (14,665) -- Wintston-Salem, North Carolina. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: William & Mary 1-1, Wake Forest 1-0. Away Record: William & Mary 2-0, Wake Forest 0-0. Neutral Record: William & Mary 0-0, Wake Forest 1-2. Conference Record: William & Mary 0-0, Wake Forest 0-0. Series Record: Wake Forest leads 33-12.
GAME NOTES: After taking its first loss of the season, the William & Mary Tribe will travel to Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum to duke it out with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in a non-conference bout on Friday night.
The Tribe got off to its first 3-0 start in 20 years this season but had that streak snapped with a 72-59 loss at home to Miami-Ohio on Wednesday night. It was only the second home game of the season for the Tribe which won its first two road games against Liberty (71-59) and High Point (83-61).
Wake Forest is returning from a jaunt in the Paradise Jam where it won just once in three games. First the Demon Deacons fell to tournament runner up Connecticut (77-71) before getting blasted by Iona (84-68). Finally in its final game of the tournament, Wake Forest was able to outlast Mercer (74-71). Wake Forest is 2-2 overall this season and including this game plays five of its next six at home.
This hasn't been a very competitive matchup historically with Wake Forest earning wins in 33 of a total 45 previous meetings.
William & Mary got off to a slow start against Miami-Ohio and connected on just 10-of-26 shots from the floor in the first half including 2-of-10 from beyond the arc. Still the Tribe trailed by just two points at the break. The RedHawks' lead continued to expand in the second half as the 18 turnovers the Tribe committed caught up with it. Brandon Britt led the team in scoring with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
The 59 points William & Mary scored against Miami-Ohio was the lowest output of the season by a wide margin. The Tribe are now averaging 70.5 points per game while shooting at a 48.7 percent clip. On the other end the Tribe is limiting teams to a 35.8 percent success rate on field goal attempts. It bares being mentioned that much of that came against a trio of schools (Liberty, High Points and Hampton) that are a combined 3-10 this season. Three different players on the roster are scoring more than 15 points per game led by Marcus Thornton (17.8 ppg). Thornton has been scoring at a high level by shooting 54.3 percent from the floor. He is one of four players on the roster shooting better than 50 percent from the field. Brandon Britt (17.0 ppg) and Tim Rusthoven (15.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg) are two others shooting at a high percentage and scoring at an impressive rate. No other player on the roster scores more than seven points a game.
Wake Forest trailed for much of the second half but finally tied the game up at the 1:40 minute mark on a 3-pointer from CJ Harris. Mercer answered with a 3-pointer of its own but the Demon Deacons ended the game with a 6-0 spurt highlighted by a dunk from Travis McKie. Wake Forest shot at a 42.0 percent clip in the game and benefited from a 26-12 edge on points from the free throw line. McKie was sensational, pouring 23 points while ripping down 15 rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive glass.
Offense hasn't really been the issue for Wake Forest this year. The Demon Deacons are scoring relatively well (73.0 ppg) and hitting shots at a steady 47.3 percent ate from the field. It is on defense where the Demon Deacons have been struggling, allowing opponents to score 77.2 points per game. The inside outside scoring duo of McKie and Harris has been the focal point of the offense. McKie (15.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg) is the lead option and is a double-double threat every game. Harris (15.2 ppg) meanwhile, gets it done from the backcourt where he is shooting an impressive 60.0 percent from the floor. Codi Miller-McIntyre (9.2 ppg) and Devin Thomas (7.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) are the only other players scoring more than seven points a game.
William & Mary was exposed against a tough team in its last game. The trend will continue in a road venue against a foe from the vaunted ACC.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wake Forest 78, William & Mary 65
11/23 10:52:28 ET