Winston-Salem, NC - Discouragement set in for Wake Forest (11-14, 2-9 ACC) after Clemson (12-12, 4-6 ACC) erased the Demon Deacons seven-point advantage with an 8-0 run to end the first half, then shifted to cruise control following the intermission on its way to a 78-58 win.
Jeff Bzdelik said that Wake obviously has limitations, and that it must find the energy to continue to play defense and rebound.
The Tigers destroyed the Deacs on the offensive boards 21-12, and shot 58.2-percent to Wake Forest's woeful 37.2-percent.
"Confidence always needs success at some point," Bzdelik said. "We've gone through a tough stretch here, and our confidence has been rattled. We need to rise above that, and stay confident as best we can. That's the challenge, no question."
Bzdelik added that he and his players are embarrassed, but the Tigers had no sympathy as they continued their late first half surge with a 17-5 run spurred by Tanner Smith and Andre Young to extend their lead to a 59-41 advantage with 15:18 left in the game.
"Making shots always helps," Clemson head coach Brad Brownell said. "Early on we got a couple of long rebounds and loose balls, and those led to extra possessions. Tanner made those two three's, and we had some transition baskets. We just played better."
Smith led all scorers with 20 points, while Milton Jennings added 15 points and Young chipped in 12. It took everything C.J. Harris had to score a Wake Forest team-high 18 points, as Travis McKie struggled to get 13 points and Nikita Mescheriakov fought for his 12 points.
Along with consistently losing the battle on the boards and giving up easy baskets what hurts Wake the most is its lack of adequate stability and talent at point guard to compete successfully in the ACC.
In the Demon Deacons six-game losing streak Tony Chennault's play has been abysmal, which is the PG way to put it. The sophomore from Philadelphia's stat line throughout this sorry stretch reads: 31 points, 22 rebounds, 19 assists, 19 turnovers and just two steals.
To top it off the Deacs missed 16 of their last 22 shots against the Tigers. Is it baseball season yet? Better yet the Spring Practice period for football is only 19 days away.