Wake Forest found its shooting touch on the way to breaking a four-game losing streak on Saturday afternoon in the Purcell Pavilion at Notre Dame.
The Demon Deacons picked up an important ACC win by beating the Irish 81-64.
Damari Monsanto led the way with a career-high 28 points as he went 8 of 13 on 3-point attempts. Tyree Appleby scored 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds and added seven assists in one of his best games of the season.
Bobi Klintman added 10 points and Cameron Hildreth had eight points as the Demon Deacons shot 53%.
The Demon Deacons fell behind by 12 points in the first half, but got back into the game thanks to their defense.
“It didn’t look good at the start of the game,” Coach Steve Forbes said via Zoom after the game. “But Ty Appleby stayed positive in the huddle.”
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The Demon Deacons trailed 16-4 at one point, and Forbes said earlier in his career he would have probably gone crazy.
“I guess I’ve matured over the years because I probably would have lost my mind about 10 years ago, but with 10 minutes to go in the first half, I think we had four points,” Forbes said.
Nate Laszewski led the Irish with 18 points, Carmac Ryan added 12 and Marcus Hammond scored 10.
After that slow start, however, the Demon Deacons ran their offense with a little more precision and better passing.
“I think we scored 77 points from the 10 minute mark on,” Forbes said.
Forbes said it was a matter of gaining confidence after the slow start.
“Confidence is a funny thing,” he said. “Basketball players need confidence. I think sometimes we tend to take too much confidence from them. We talked about the old cliché’ things like it’s going to be really important how we start this half and that we can’t give Notre Dame hope.”
Wake Forest battled back to take a 27-26 halftime lead, then went on a 15-5 run to go up by 11 early in the second half. When Monsanto hit another 3-pointer with 4:27 left, the Deacons’ lead was 17 points.
Monsanto has been playing some of his best basketball of late.
It was a rough summer for him, after his sister was killed in a car accident in August in Florida.
“It was a major struggle for him for a long time,” Forbes said. “He just wasn’t into it and we understood. Then things changed a little bit when went to Jamaica before Thanksgiving and his parents came.”
Earlier in the season, Forbes benched Monsanto for the Appalachian State game.
“But since then he’s just taken off and he’s got a special talent for shooting the basketball ball,” Forbes said. “He got seven rebounds, too. I can’t imagine going through something like that. I know how bad it was when I lost my dad. I still struggle with it three or four years later.”
Forbes is excited about the way Klintman has been playing.
“I’m ecstatic because we talked about this after the Duke game when he played so well on Wednesday,” Forbes said. “It just takes freshmen some time, and you know Bobby’s playing with more control.”
The Demon Deacons improved to 15-9 overall and 7-6 in the ACC while the Irish fell to 10-13 and 2-10.
The Demon Deacons will be back home on Tuesday to play North Carolina at 7 p.m.