Opinion: Wave’s blowout loss to Wake Forest is an early concern

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Junior guard Louis Dabney dribbles the ball in an exhibition game against Loyola. Dabney scored 17 points in the season opening 71-49 loss to Wake Forest Monday. 

William Potts, Associate Sports Editor

Wake Forest beat Tulane men’s basketball (0-1, 0-0 American Athletic Conference) 71-49 to start the Wave’s season Monday night at Devlin Fieldhouse. The Green Wave was looking to justify its new presence in the American Athletic Conference with a strong performance, but Monday night’s result did the opposite.

From the opening tip-off, Wake Forest controlled the tempo of the game. Though the Wave stayed relatively competitive during the first half, incompetence with perimeter shooting and an inability to rebound ultimately proved too costly to keep pace.

Tulane shot a measly 1-12 from beyond the arc in the first half and continued to struggle in the second half, missing its next eight attempts. The Wave hit just 15 of 50 shots to finish the game shooting 30 percent from the field. 

The Wave grabbed just 29 rebounds, 17 fewer than Wake Forest. This poor rebounding contributed to Wake Forest’s 15 second-chance points.

Though Tulane got to the line 14 more times than Wake, the Deacons outscored the Wave in paint by 20 points. Wake Forest junior forward Devin Thomas’s 13 points and 12 rebounds, his second double double in two games, were largely to blame. Apparently Tulane Head coach Ed Conroy’s recent emphasis on adding athletic big men to his roster went in vain, as non of his players rose to challenge Thomas.

As the Green Wave’s season continues, the team must find a way to get reliable production out of more than a couple players. Junior guard Louis Dabney, who shot 17 points, was the only Tulane player to score in double figures. 

The Green Wave must soon decide if it wants to establish itself primarily as an interior team or as a perimeter threat. In this season-opening matchup, Tulane failed miserably in both regards, seen by its inefficiency from beyond the arc and sloppiness in the paint.

After just one game, the Wave must quickly adapt and learn from this rocky start to shake its Conference USA caliber reputation and establish a new identity.