Wake Forest continues trying to find consistency and with five games left in its non-conference schedule, starting at home Thursday against Charlotte, the Demon Deacons need better overall performance on both ends of the floor. Saturday's 84-74 loss at Richmond is an example, as Wake Forest easily won the rebounding battle and held a three-point lead early in the second half only to give up 28 points on 15 turnovers to lose for the second time in three games.
"We've got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball," Wake Forest coach Danny Manning told the media afterward, also citing his team was dominated in the paint in being outscored 42-24. "We've got to do a better job of locking in and disrupting them defensively." The Demon Deacons have scored as many points this season as they have allowed (530; 75.7 per contest), but have scored above that average only twice. One of those games was a stunning 93-91 overtime loss at home to Houston Baptist, a game where Wake Forest shot a season-best 56.4 percent from the floor but was undone by 22 turnovers and 13 missed free throws. After opening the season 2-2, including a victory over Oklahoma State, the 49ers have dropped their past two games against Davidson and Charleston.
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ABOUT CHARLOTTE (2-4): Senior guard Jon Davis leads the 49ers in scoring at 20.3 points per game, ranking third in Conference USA, and recorded 27 against Oklahoma State. Freshman guard Malik Martin averages 10.3 points per contest, reaching double figures in four of his first six games. Otherwise offense has been a struggle, as the 49ers are scoring just 59.3 points per contest - last in the conference and 344th nationally.
ABOUT WAKE FOREST (4-3): Junior guard Brandon Childress remains a constant despite the Demon Deacons inconsistency, ranking sixth in the ACC in scoring at 17.4 points per game on 53.1 percent shooting from the field and 85.4 percent from the free-throw line (fifth-best in the league). Freshman forward Isaiah Mucius set career highs with 17 points and seven rebounds against Richmond. Another freshman, forward Jaylen Hoard, is tied for 14th in the ACC in scoring at 16 points per contest.
1. Wake Forest's remaining non-conference schedule includes a visit to No. 7 Tennessee on Dec. 22.
2. Childress is averaging 21.3 points per game in his past three contests, shooting 19-of-34 from the field and 8-of-17 from 3-point range.
3. The Demon Deacons held Charlotte to 31.9 percent shooting from the field in defeating the 49ers 80-57 last season.
PREDICTION: Wake Forest 78, Charlotte 68 Bet Now
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