CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There’s an old Thomas Wolfe book titled, “You Can’t Go Home Again”.  Wake Forest guard Keyshawn Woods did just that Tuesday night, however, returning to the city in which he played high school basketball (Woods played at Northside Christian, about five miles from Charlotte’s Halton Arena) and the university for which he played his freshman year.  Woods’ 46.6 percent shooting percentage from three led all Conference USA players in his freshman campaign of 2014-15, before he transferred to Wake Forest.

A smattering of boos from the 49er faithful when he took the floor aside, it’s tough to argue that Woods’ homecoming was anything but a success.  The redshirt junior finished as one of two Demon Deacons in double figures, as his Wake Forest club bashed homestanding Charlotte, 80-57, before an announced crowd of 5,512 at Halton Arena.

“(It was) emotional, in a way, because I have memories here, kinda like certain situations that happened with me transferring…I’ve still got memories here,” said Woods after the game.  “It was good.  I came back, played at Halton, and we won, so it was pretty good for me.”

“I didn’t talk about it (Woods’ return to Charlotte).  I didn’t mention it to the team,” said Wake Forest coach Danny Manning.  “As a former player, I knew there was a little bit more to it for him.”

Woods’ club traded punches with the 49ers early in the game, with Wake running out to a 5-0 lead on two quick conversions, countered by a 7-0 Charlotte run.  Another 5-0 Wake Forest run followed.

A Ryan Murphy triple at the 15:26 mark pulled Charlotte level at 12.  Two Najee Garvin buckets followed, with the second cutting the Wake lead to 20-16 at 12:54.  That basket would be Charlotte’s last until a Jon Davis and-one at the 3:15 mark, a torturous stretch in which the Wake lead ballooned to 24.  Charlotte (3-5) put together a brief run as the half approached, but a Mitchell Wilbekin triple from the right corner – punctuated by a “wooo!” – gave the Deacons a 22-point advantage at the interval.  Wake connected on 58.1 percent of its first-half tries (60 percent from three), against Charlotte’s 33.3 percent (8-for-24).  The 49ers saw just one of nine three-point tries find the nylon in the period.

“It was 12-12, and we’d worked ourselves back (into) the game there,” said Charlotte coach Mark Price.  “It hurt that (starting guard) Hudson (Price) got in foul trouble.  He’s a key, and we play better when he’s on the floor.  They made a little run there and stretched it out, and we just…you know, I don’t know.  We’ve gotta find a way to get everybody going.  It’s a struggle right now.”

The second stanza produced much of the same, with Wake Forest (5-4) outscoring Charlotte 20-9 in the opening nine minutes of the half to push the lead to 33 at 69-36.  A 6-0 Charlotte run knifed into the margin a bit, before Wake pushed the lead back over 30.  The 49ers again countered, but could draw no closer than the final 23-point margin.

Manning indicated after the game that what he saw on the court was different than what he saw in preparation to play the 49ers.

“This is not the Charlotte team that we saw on tape, to be honest with you.  It was just one of those nights where it didn’t go in the hole for them,” said Manning.  “Some nights are like that in this game offensively.”

“They played well, but a lot of that was us,” added Price.  “You’ve gotta make shots, and you can’t turn the ball over.  They played hard, and they did what they were supposed to do.  We didn’t do what we were supposed to do.  We’ve gotta find a way to get it going.  We’re not playing good basketball right now.”

Wake guard Bryant Crawford paced the Deacs and all scorers, dropping 6-of-7 shots from the field (3-of-4 from three) and finishing with 17 points.  The game marked Crawford’s 34th straight in double figures, the longest active streak among ACC players.  Woods added 15 in 26 minutes as a reserve, hitting 5-of-10 shots.

“We’ve got a bunch of shooters that feel like the goal is bigger than it appears,” said Crawford.  “I just shot shots I was feeling comfortable with.”

Davis was the 49ers’ lone scorer in double digits.  The Charlotte guard knocked down 4-of-8 field goal tries and all five free throws, finishing with 14.  Charlotte converted just 31.9 percent of its field goals (15-for-47) and made five threes in 23 tries (21.7 percent).

Both clubs return to the hardwood this weekend.  Wake Forest will host Army Friday night, with the game slated to begin at 7:00 (Eastern).  Charlotte travels to Chattanooga’s McKenzie Arena to face the Southern Conference’s Mocs Sunday afternoon.  That game is scheduled for a 1:00 tip.


WAKE FOREST (5-4): Thompson 2-3 0-0 4, Moore 1-2 0-2 2, Wilbekin 3-7 0-2 8, Crawford 6-7 2-3 17, Brown 2-5 0-0 5, Childress 3-8 3-5 9, Woods 5-10 3-4 15, Mitchell 1-1 0-0 2, Eggleston 2-5 0-1 4, Japhas-Matthias 1-1 0-0 2, Sarr 1-4 4-4 7, Okeke 2-2 1-2 5, Bilas 0-1 0-0 0, Spivey 0-0 0-0 0, Rike 0-1 0-0 0, Anderson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 29-58 13-23 80.

CHARLOTE (3-5): Haslem 1-1 3-4 5, White 0-7 3-4 3, Davis 4-8 5-5 14, Ajukwa 1-5 2-2 4, Price 2-6 1-2 5, Garvin 2-4 2-4 6, McGill 1-5 4-4 7, Supica 1-2 2-5 4, Murphy 3-8 0-0 9, Thomas 0-1 0-1 0. Totals 15-47 22-31 57.

Halftime — Wake Forest 49-27. 3-Point Goals—Wake Forest 9-25 (Wilbekin 2-4, Crawford 3-4, Brown 1-2, Childress 0-4, Woods 2-5, Eggleston 0-1, Sarr 1-3, Rike 0-1, Anderson 0-1), Charlotte 5-23 (White 0-4, Davis 1-3, Ajukwa 0-2, Price 0-3, McGill 1-4, Murphy 3-7). Fouled Out — Garvin (CHA). Rebounds — Wake Forest 39 (Sarr 7), Charlotte 34 (Ajukwa 6). Assists — Wake Forest 17 (Crawford 4), Charlotte 7 (Davis 3). Total Fouls — Wake Forest 27, Charlotte 17. Technical — Garvin (CHA). A — 5512.

Points in the Paint —Wake Forest 34, Charlotte 20. Points off Turnovers —Wake Forest 21, Charlotte 16. Second-Chance Points — Wake Forest 12, Charlotte 7. Fast Break Points — Charlotte 8, Wake Forest 6. Bench Points — Wake Forest 44, Charlotte 26.