CHARLOTTE — Wake Forest’s disjointed performance Sunday night ended with Charlotte winning 67-65 in overtime at Halton Arena.
The first half saw the Deacons miss 10-of-11 shots in one stretch but still enter halftime tied. The second half saw the Deacons hold Charlotte without a field goal for nearly 10 minutes but never take the lead in that span.
And in overtime, Wake Forest (2-2) missed three layups and still had a shot to go ahead in the final seconds — and after it missed, the Deacons failed to commit a foul to extend the game.
Everything that Wake Forest did well was accompanied by something poor — which is how Charlotte (2-1) picked up its first win against an ACC team since a Jan. 2, 2011 game at Georgia Tech.
“Didn’t get stops when we needed to. We did not execute when we needed to. Just as simple as that,” senior guard Brandon Childress said.
Wake Forest held Charlotte without a field goal from the 18:12 mark to the 8:17 mark of the second half. The Deacons never took the lead in that span, as the 49ers made eight free throws and locked up Wake Forest’s offense with the pack-line defense.
“You know, we fouled them during that stretch and gave them a chance to get points at the free-throw line,” Coach Danny Manning said. “But for us, defensively that was a good stretch to guard the way that we guarded and limit their scoring opportunities. We just have to do a better job of playing defense with our head and our feet.”
Ismael Massoud’s 3-pointer with 16 seconds left tied the game in regulation — quite a big moment for the freshman who at that point, in the 160th minute of Wake Forest basketball this season, had played 22 minutes.
He didn’t care much for sentiment afterward, though.
“I mean, we didn’t come away with the win, a shot is a shot and it doesn’t really mean much because we didn’t win,” said Massoud, who played a season-high 13 minutes with a season-high eight points. “If we’d have won, it would’ve felt a little better.”
Charlotte made six free throws in the first 1½ minutes of overtime. The Deacons cut the lead to three on a 3-pointer by Chaundee Brown and to two on a 3-pointer by Childress, and it was Childress pulling up from in front of the Deacons’ bench with about 10 seconds left, his shot hitting the front of the rim.
Charlotte rebounded that miss and seemed to expect a foul that never came, threw the ball into the frontcourt and time expired before Wake Forest could attempt a desperation heave.
“We should’ve taken a foul. That’s what we were screaming at and that’s what we talked about, we weren’t able to execute that,” Manning said of not fouling after Childress’ miss. “We just didn’t execute what we needed to down the stretch in that situation.”
A theme throughout.
Charlotte hammered Wake Forest on backdoor cuts, made 18-of-22 free throws (exceeding the Deacons’ 7-for-12 clip at the line) and outrebounded the Deacons 41-39. Wake Forest had previously outrebounded opponents by nine, 11 and 15 this season.
Wake Forest found success in the first half on 3-pointers from the right corner — the Deacons connected there three times, by Torry Johnson, Childress and Andrien White.
After White’s connection from there, the Deacons were 4 for 9 on 3-pointers.
They missed their next five 3s — the last three of those coming during Charlotte’s field-goal drought in the second half.
“Their pack-line defense was really hard to penetrate. I mean, we didn’t have enough paint touches — not as much as we had in the past,” said junior forward Olivier Sarr, who had seven points on 2-for-9 shooting and 13 rebounds. “And it was just — they made it hard for us, they have a really great team, a really great defense and they really made it hard for us.”
The Deacons shot 70.2% against UNC Asheville in their last game and hit 80 points in each of the last two seasons against Charlotte — both of those seemed far-fetched entering the game, and impossible after a first half that ended with these teams knotted at 29-29.
The largest separation of the game was Charlotte’s 13-4 lead after 6½ minutes — the 49ers went on a suffocating 12-0 run to get there.
CHARLOTTE 67, WAKE FOREST 65, OT
WAKE FOREST (2-2)
Mucius 2-7 1-2 5, Oguama 0-0 0-0 0, Childress 8-17 0-0 19, White 4-11 0-0 10, Brown 4-11 2-2 12, Massoud 3-5 0-0 8, Sarr 2-9 3-4 7, Johnson 1-1 0-0 3, Wright 0-2 1-2 1, Neath 0-1 0-2 0. Totals 24-64 7-12 65.
Bamba 3-4 3-4 9, Martin 2-8 7-8 12, Young 8-12 4-6 24, Shepherd 7-17 2-2 16, Edwards 1-6 2-2 4, Supica 0-1 0-0 0, Williams 0-3 0-0 0, Vasic 1-3 0-0 2, Robb 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 22-56 18-22 67.
Halftime—29-29. End Of Regulation—Tied 57. 3-Point Goals—Wake Forest 10-25 (Childress 3-9, Massoud 2-4, Brown 2-4, White 2-5, Johnson 1-1, Mucius 0-1, Wright 0-1), Charlotte 5-12 (Young 4-5, Martin 1-2, Shepherd 0-1, Williams 0-1, Vasic 0-1, Robb 0-1, Edwards 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Wake Forest 38 (Sarr 13), Charlotte 37 (Shepherd 9). Assists—Wake Forest 13 (Childress 4), Charlotte 16 (Edwards 4). Total Fouls—Wake Forest 14, Charlotte 16. A—4,819 (9,105).