CONWAY, S.C. — Wake Forest had answers for Saint Joseph’s hot start in the first half of the opening game in the Myrtle Beach Invitational on Thursday at HTC Center.

The Deacons didn’t have answers when the second half started.

St. Joe’s blew by Wake Forest 89-69, dealing the Deacons their first loss of the season on the campus of Coastal Carolina. The teams were tied 46-46 at halftime. But the Hawks (3-0) scored the first nine points of the second half, and the Deacons (1-1) were never within three points for the rest of the game.

“We didn’t respond, as simple as that,” said junior point guard Brandon Childress. “We’ve gotta do a better job. They came out and punched us in the mouth, we never responded. That can happen with any team.”

The first few possessions of the second half told most of the story. Chaundee Brown and Sharone Wright Jr. missed 3-point tries, Wright grabbed a defensive rebound but was stripped from behind after taking one dribble, and two more ended with missed shots — all while St. Joe’s sophomore Charlie Brown Jr. was a personal 6-0 run.

Coach Danny Manning of Wake Forest called a timeout, and after a turnover by Olivier Sarr and another missed shot, Taylor Funk buried his sixth 3-pointer of the game to cap the 9-0 run. Funk finished with 20 points, while Brown Jr. scored 17 of his game-high 26 points in the second half.

“It kind of felt like a letdown defensively in the second half. First half, we were able to contain them a little bit, hit a few shots here and there,” said freshman forward Jaylen Hoard, who scored 14 points and led the Deacons with five rebounds. “In the second half, our offense wasn’t flowing as much and we kind of relaxed on the defensive end, and that hurt us a lot.”

There really seemed to be a divide between each half. In the first half, Wake Forest held a 20-12 rebounding advantage and had 10 assists on 13 field goals.

In the second half, the Hawks rebounding advantage was 21-12 and the Deacons had one assist on seven field goals.

“Second half is the tale of the game. We came out and they imposed their will. We were unable to prevent that from happening,” Manning said.

And that’s something Coach Phil Martelli of St. Joe’s had been counting on, apparently.

“We were older in the second half, we were just older than them,” Martelli said. “And I thought that. I thought that if we could come at them, a young team like Danny has, is going to have a tough time holding up against it.”

St. Joe’s hit 7 of its first 10 3-pointers, four of them coming from Funk.

Funk, The sophomore forward scored 17 points in the first half.

The Hawks jumped out to a 17-10 lead a little more than five minutes into the game, with 12 of those points coming on Sharp’s 3s. But Hoard connected on a 3-pointer, and then Childress, and then Torry Johnson — and the Deacons looked to be capable of turning this into a high-scoring, back-and-forth affair.

That was only the case for St. Joe’s in the second half.

“We just can’t keep scoring the ball with everybody. It was 46-46 at halftime. That’s a lot of freaking points scored, for both teams,” Childress said. “Eventually we’ve gotta lock down and defend, and that’s all it takes for us to be successful for the rest of the year.”

Freshman Isaiah Mucius also scored 14 points for the Deacons, and Childress scored 13. Sarr had five points, four rebounds and five turnovers — his second five-turnover game to start the season — and Brown and Wright were held to seven and five points, respectively.

Graduate transfer Ikenna Smart, who didn’t play in the opener, warmed up but did not play again. His minutes were filled by sophomore forward Sunday Okeke.

Wake Forest got good news about an hour before game, when point guard Jahcobi Neath committed to the Deacons. He’s rated a three-star prospect, per 247Sports, and is the third commitment of the class, joining four-star Ismael Massoud and three-star Ody Oguama. The early signing period started Wednesday, and all three are expected to sign in the next several days.

SAINT JOSEPH’S 89, WAKE FOREST 69

FG FT Reb

SAINT JOE’S M M-A M-A O-T A PF PT

Char.Brown 36 8-15 6-6 2-3 1 0 26

Funk 18 7-9 0-0 0-2 3 5 20

Longpre 20 1-1 1-2 1-6 2 2 4

Bynum 32 5-7 0-0 0-5 4 1 11

Kimble 33 6-14 1-2 4-7 5 2 15

Oliva 28 2-6 1-2 0-4 5 2 5

Clover 11 2-5 0-0 0-1 0 1 6

Edwards 10 0-3 0-0 0-3 0 3 0

Lodge 6 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0

Holston 4 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 2

Freeman 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Muggeo 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 200 32-62 9-12 7-32 20 19 89

Percentages: FG .516, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 16-30, .533 (Funk 6-7, Char.Brown 4-8, Clover 2-3, Kimble 2-6, Longpre 1-1, Bynum 1-2, Oliva 0-1, Edwards 0-2). Team Rebounds: 1. Team Turnovers: 8 (15 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Char.Brown 2, Edwards, Kimble). Turnovers: 8 (Kimble 2, Oliva 2, Char.Brown, Funk, Holston, Longpre). Steals: 12 (Bynum 4, Char.Brown 3, Oliva 3, Kimble, Muggeo).

FG FT Reb

WFU M M-A M-A O-T A PF PT

Hoard 33 4-13 4-4 0-5 1 0 14

Sarr 22 1-1 2-3 3-4 0 3 5

Chau.Brown 29 2-7 2-2 1-2 1 0 7

Childress 36 4-7 3-4 0-4 4 0 13

Wright 17 2-5 0-0 0-1 2 3 5

Mucius 30 4-11 3-4 1-4 2 0 14

Johnson 18 3-4 2-4 0-1 1 3 9

Lewis 7 0-2 0-0 1-2 0 1 0

Wynn 3 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Okeke 2 0-0 0-0 1-1 1 1 0

Bilas 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Buchanan 1 0-0 2-2 1-1 0 0 2

Spivey 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 200 20-51 18-23 8-25 12 11 69

Percentages: FG .392, FT .783. 3-Point Goals: 11-25, .440 (Mucius 3-7, Childress 2-4, Hoard 2-5, Sarr 1-1, Chau.Brown 1-2, Johnson 1-2, Wright 1-2, Lewis 0-1, Wynn 0-1). Team Rebounds: 7. Team Turnovers: 14 (7 PTS). Blocked Shots: 2 (Hoard, Sarr). Turnovers: 14 (Sarr 5, Chau.Brown 3, Childress 2, Hoard 2, Lewis, Wright). Steals: 5 (Chau.Brown, Childress, Hoard, Mucius, Sarr).

Saint Joseph’s 46 43 — 89

Wake Forest 46 23 — 69

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