RICHMOND, Va. — Building leads, even big ones, wasn’t a problem for Wake Forest in its previous two basketball games. Keeping the lead was. In Saturday’s 84-74 loss to Richmond, the problem was getting the lead and then quickly giving it up.
The Deacons (4-3) took a 43-40 lead early in the second half, after holding the lead only once in the opening 20 minutes, but then promptly surrendered a 20-6 run as the Spiders took control 60-49 with 9:23 remaining.
“Defensively they’re very active. They created a lot of turnovers and were able to score off those turnovers,” said Coach Danny Manning of Wake Forest.
The Deacons dominated on the boards, holding a 35-21 advantage, including an 11-3 edge on the offensive end. The Spiders didn’t grab an offensive rebound until 3:02 remained in the half, by which time Wake had six offensive rebounds.
However, Wake lost the turnover battle 15-3 and was outscored 28-2 on those turnovers.
“We had a lot of live ball turnovers,” said Manning, whose team was playing its first true road game of the season. “That’s something that really hurt us in transition.
The Deacons, who were coming off a 71-64 win over Western Carolina, also were outscored 42-24 in the paint.
“We didn’t do a good enough job of taking care of the ball,” Manning said. “And they got to the paint far too many times.”
Brandon Childress and Isaiah Mucius led Wake with 17 points each, and Chaundee Brown added 16. Jaylen Hoard was the only other Wake player in double figures with 11, but nine of those were in the first half.
“We didn’t lock in defensively,” Childress said. “We’ll get through it. We’ll get better. We’re going to keep working. Nothing to worry about. I believe in the young guys.”
Mucius, who also had a game-high seven rebounds, said he was happy he played well in front of a large contingent of friends and family, but he wanted more.
“Wish we could have come out with a win. It was a tough loss,” he said, noting he’s not too worried about the direction of the team.
“We just have to regroup, work on things and really learn from this loss,” he said.
Grant Golden led the Spiders with 24 points, Nathan Cayo had 17, Jacob Gilyard 14 and Julius Johnson 10. Gilyard has missed the past two games because of an injury.
“We weren’t able to disrupt their rhythm as much as we wanted to,” Manning said. “We had a good grasp on the offensive concepts. We just have to do a better job of going out there and executing.”
Manning kept pointing to the turnovers and points in the paint.
“We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the basketball,” he said. “We’ve got to do a better job of locking in and disrupting them defensively.”
The Spiders’ big run in the second half was fueled by a trio of 3-pointers: two by Noah Yates and one by Golden. Wake also had four turnovers in that span.
Wake cut the lead to 62-56, but the Spiders, who lost at Georgetown 90-82 in their past contest, put away the game by making 11 -of-12 free throws in the final four minutes.
The victory gave Coach Chris Mooney his 240th win Richmond, breaking a tie with Dick Tarrant for the most in Spiders history.
Richmond led 38-37 at the half on the strength of Golden’s 15 points. He was 7 of 12 from the field as the Spiders shot 53.3 percent (16 for 30) in the first 20 minutes. And this was despite being outrebounded 18-11. The Spiders didn’t grab an offensive rebound until 3:02 remained in the half, by which time Wake had six offensive rebounds and a 16-9 lead in rebounding overall.
In the first half, Wake got 12 points from Brown, 11 from Mucius and nine from Hoard. The Deacons shot 46.7 percent (14 for 30) overall and 38.5 on 3-pointers (5 for 13). Richmond hit just 2 of its 11 3-pointers in the first half.
Wake’s largest lead in the first half was three in the opening minute, and its biggest deficit was 28-19 at the 7:06 mark.
The Deacons return to action Thursday with a home game against Davidson.
RICHMOND 84, WAKE FOREST 74
WAKE FOREST (4-3)
Hoard 5-11 0-0 11, Sarr 2-3 1-2 5, Brown 5-11 4-5 16, Johnson 1-3 3-3 5, Childress 6-12 2-3 17, Smart 0-1 0-0 0, Okeke 0-0 0-0 0, Mucius 6-9 4-6 17, Wright 1-4 0-0 3, Lewis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 26-55 14-19 74.
Golden 10-20 3-4 24, Cayo 6-7 5-7 17, Johnson 2-3 4-4 10, Wojcik 0-3 0-0 0, Gilyard 4-12 6-6 14, Yates 3-4 0-0 8, Koureissi 2-4 0-0 4, Grace 1-1 0-0 2, Gustavson 2-2 0-0 5. Totals 30-56 18-21 84.
Halftime–Richmond 38-37. 3-Point Goals–Wake Forest 8-21 (Childress 3-7, Brown 2-7, Mucius 1-1, Wright 1-2, Hoard 1-3, Johnson 0-1), Richmond 6-22 (Yates 2-3, Johnson 2-3, Gustavson 1-1, Golden 1-5, Koureissi 0-2, Wojcik 0-3, Gilyard 0-5). Fouled Out–Gustavson, Sarr. Rebounds–Wake Forest 33 (Mucius 7), Richmond 17 (Yates 5). Assists–Wake Forest 11 (Childress 3), Richmond 21 (Gilyard 9). Total Fouls–Wake Forest 20, Richmond 17. A–6,076 (7,201).