I still can't get over the game yesterday. Both teams played inspired ball and really looked like they wanted it more than a normal OOC game. I know it was repeated a bunch by the commentators yesterday, but it really did feel like a heated conference game. I'm just stoked that we get this series for the next 9 years and have no doubt we'll see a few more like that. Here are your Monday morning links.
Smith powers emotional Wake Forest past Xavier in 2OT | Sports - Burlington Times News
Smith, now a senior, seized the reins of an emotionally charged roller coaster and delivered a signature performance while guiding Wake Forest past Xavier 96-92 in a double-overtime thriller at Lawrence Joel Coliseum. "Coach P has meant so much to me," Smith said, after the near three-hour marathon that left both sides choked up. "I guess it was fitting and exciting to play the way I did, kind of in his name."
Cincinnati.Com | Cincinnati Enquirer | Crosstown Shoutout " Skip’s Classic
I was very proud of the way the team played in this game. They hustled, they fought, and they competed all evening. It just wasn’t enough. Ishmael Smith appeared to have a higher power on his side this evening, especially in the overtimes. My hat off to him and Dino Gaudio. I hope Skip enjoyed it wherever he was watching this evening. I know I did even though the result wasn’t what I was hoping for.
Xavier falls to Wake Forest in double overtime | cincinnati.com | Cincinnati.Com
XU coach Chris Mack commended his players for their effort and said the game could have gone either way. The difference, he said, was Smith. The senior point guard surpassed the 500 career assists mark in the game and finished with a team-high 28 points on 10-of 14 shooting. "I tried to recruit him to Xavier because Wake Forest was waffling for a long time. Coach Prosser got me and decided to take him at the end," Mack said.
Willed to Victory: Smith rescues Deacs in 20T thriller with 28
"What a game Ish Smith had," Gaudio said. "Just terrific. Just terrific. I don't think he's ever played a better game. "The whole second half we were just trying to get the ball in his hands. We ran a 152 ball screens from different angles and different sides. He's really good off that. He's really good." And L.D. Williams of the Deacons saw the same game from the court until fouling out with 30 seconds remaining in regulation. "Obviously, in college this is the best game he's ever played," Williams said. "I just looked in his face and I was like, ‘He's not going to let us lose.' He put the Deacs on his back."
SPECIAL: Tribute to Prosser 'great idea'
Before the game, each of the Deacons' four seniors gave a short speech in the locker room about what Prosser meant to them. Coach Dino Gaudio of the Deacons said that he couldn't bear to hear what the seniors had to say so he left the locker room. "I tried to be as brief as I could without getting emotional," Williams said about his pre-game speech to the rest of the team. "I just said, ‘This is our chance to pay back everything that Coach Prosser has given to us. He gave us all an opportunity to play at a high Division I school and this was our chance to pay him back.'"