Wake Forest is on a roll early in the season.
Loyola Marymount hopes to hand the Demon Deacons their first loss on Sunday in the Jamaica Classic final at Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Wake Forest (4-0) overcame a ragged start to defeat La Salle 75-63 in Friday’s game.
Loyola Marymount (3-2), picked to finish ninth in the West Coast Conference preseason poll, followed that game by drubbing Georgetown 84-66 to set up Sunday’s meeting.
Tyree Appleby has scored 23 points in each of Wake Forest’s past two games and is averaging 19 points on the season.
Wake Forest has put an emphasis on interior scoring after becoming more perimeter-oriented than desired at times the past couple of seasons.
“It was pretty apparent when we outscored them 22-4 in the paint in the first half, where we were going,” Demon Deacons coach Steve Forbes said of the La Salle game.
It’s also clear that Forbes is making a concerted effort to recognize good work at the defensive end.
Damari Monsanto (14 points) and Zach Keller had (11 points) gave the Demon Deacons boosts off the bench Friday. But that’s not what Forbes emphasized.
“Damari played outstanding, not just offensively but I thought he played great defense,” Forbes said. “Zach Keller gave us a great lift off the bench.”
Attentiveness on defense could be crucial against Loyola Marymount, which torched Georgetown at opportune times.
“They hurt us in transition when we got back and weren’t matched up and then we didn’t do a good job of getting out to them at the 3-point line,” Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing said.
The Lions have connected on 11 or more 3-point shots in four of their five games.
Loyola Marymount has won every other game in the young season. The Georgetown result marked the largest margin against any of the four Division I opponents.
Coach Stan Johnson’s team played without Dameane Douglas in the Georgetown game because of an ankle injury. Douglas averaged 10.8 points per game last season.
“There’s so many areas where we can be better,” Johnson said.
–Field Level Media