Another true road win with one of our players not even dressed and more in foul trouble? Feels good man. Really it wasn't pretty, and there were things about the game that were atrocious, but it was such a gritty, balanced effort in an extremely hostile environment against a team that, let's be honest, is way better than their record would indicate. If you can pull out a win on the road wherein the opposing team's star drops 35 points, well, you're doing some stuff right. You're doing things wrong too, but as the score will tell you, the good outweighs the bad. Going into our next game against Seton Hall, we're now 6-3, 2-0 in true road games when we didn't get a single true road win all of last year. It wasn't pretty, but in a way, it's nice to see the Deacs gritting out messy wins. It's a bit cliched perhaps but that sort of thing builds character, and it demonstrates a completely different attitude from last year, especially since we've had many different guys come up heroes so far this year. I'm actually really excited by what I saw this game, and hopefully we can ride a wave of momentum going into the game at Seton Hall.
Read specific analysis after the jump....Keep in mind I was just listening on the radio, so my analysis might be spotty or flawed at points (more than usual, am I right?). That said, first some general thoughts:
-Holy cow, our offense was as close to flawless as you can really ask for. 4 double digit scorers including two 20 point performances (from CJ Harris and, shockingly, Tony Chennault), 70% shooting in the second half (58.3% for the game overall), and 59.1% from 3 as a team (and that's with Travis McKie going 0-3 beyond the arc tonight). 19 assists on 28 made team baskets to 13 team turnovers (cut down on those TO's a bit boys, but it really is better than last year. Night and day almost when you consider many of the TO's are dead ball as opposed to last year where we'd turn the ball over constantly for easy baskets). Absolutely spectacular. We also shot a respectable 18-24 from the line in an environment that I would contend was probably ACC-esque in terms of noise, though some missed ones down the stretch made the ending a lot more tense than it needed to be.
-Our defense was...spotty. It wasn't terrible as a whole; High Point shot 44.4% for the game, but they shot 44.1% from behind the arc, which is pretty damn bad. That said. a lot of that was down to the fact that Nick Barbour (and to a lesser extent, Shay Shine) shot out of his damn mind tonight from 3, and the D stepped up huge when it counted. The Panthers had the ball down 4 with I think 20 seconds or so left, and I'm reasonably sure they barely even got a shot off. The Deacs also forced 11 turnovers, 8 of which were straight up steals. I love the active hands of the D this year.
-Offensive rebounding was a huge problem. HPU got 12 offensive rebounds, and at least 3 or 4 were off of missed FT's. That much is inexcusable, for sure.
-The Deacs led by as many as 15 in the second half tonight. Yes, they let it get close, but I don't know if last year's squad was up 15 against anybody on the road period the entirety of last year. Now for some individual notes:
-Tony Chennault had the game of his career so far. 20 points (5-10 shooting, 3-5 from 3 doubling his career made 3's in a single game, 7-10 from the line), 3 rebounds, 6 assists, a steal, a block, and only 2 TO's. Really hard to find too much to criticize with TC's game tonight, especially since he tweaked his ankle at one point (thank God that wasn't serious, man).
-Travis McKie had 18 points. It should've been 20; he was robbed of a dunk that likely would've been an and-1 on a charge call that was, if our fine radio broadcasting crew is to be believed, highly questionable. They don't usually get animated about the reffing, but they got saucy at points tonight. Travis got there by going 7-15 shooting, 0-3 from 3, and 4-5 from the line. Travis chipped in 3 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal with 3 turnovers. I really don't know where Travis's presence on the glass has gone; he was a double-double machine last year.
-Nikita Mescheriakov had both a fantastic and a terrible game. He was 4-4 shooting, 3-3 from 3 (including an ice cold 3 late in the game to bring the Deac lead back to 6), and 1-2 from the line for a highly respectable 12 points. Nikita's non-three shot was an absolutely huge tip-in at the first-half buzzer to get the Deac lead to 8 after High Point nearly cut it to 3. Chip in 7 boards, 2 assists, a steal, and only 2 TO's in 28 minutes, and you may wonder where the problem comes in. Well, I'm pretty sure most if not all of the offensive boards off missed FT's for the Panthers were on Nikita. And you were SO CLOSE to having a genuinely killer game! Come on, Nikita!
-C.J. Harris continued to light it up offensively. 20 points on 7-8 shooting, 4-5 from 3 (are you kidding me?) and 2-3 from the line. Problem is, the one missed free throw was the front end of a 1 and 1 that, if C.J. had converted, would've all but iced the game. C.J. also chipped in 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals
and a partridge in a pear tree 2 turnovers.
-Carson Desrosiers had another solid game. 7 points on 2-4 shooting, 1-1 from 3 (WHAT) and an absolutely ice cold 2-2 from the line on a key 1 and 1 late in the game. Carson also had 4 rebounds, an assist, and 3 blocks. His defensive presence was more important than is indicated simply by the blocks, though. Apparently, Carson's interior D gave High Point's bigs fits. Carson also turned the ball over twice.
-Anthony Fields had yet another strong game as a pass-first, defensive PG coming off the bench. 4 points on 1-3 shooting, 0-1 from 3, and 2-2 from the line. Combine that with a rebound, 3 assists, 2 steals, and not a single turnover in 16 minutes, and you've got a really solid outing once again.
-Chase Fischer had a quiet but still pretty okay night. 6 points on 2-4 shooting (all behind the arc), combined with 3 rebounds, an assist, a steal, and only 1 turnover in 24 minutes. Chase had 4 fouls, as did C.J., and so at one point myself and the radio crew were wondering where the offensive production would come from, at which point Travis stepped up huge with back to back buckets.
-It's worth noting that Daniel Green didn't even suit up; he's been battling illness apparently. This fact made me even more impressed with the way we held on, especially with key guys in foul trouble. The vibe I got was that DG should be good to go for Seton Hall, which is good stuff.
Honestly, I've heard it argued that the Richmond game wasn't as close as the final score would indicate, and that's an understandable viewpoint. That said, this game was basically the same thing in the opposite direction. Wake's lead generally hovered around 8-10 most of the game, hit 13 on THREE separate occasions, and was as large as 15. All this being true when walk-ons Brooks Godwin and Ryan Keenan were on the floor simultaneously for a couple minutes to end the first half (during which time High Point made a run), and really the game wasn't as ugly as the score might suggest. Of course there are things that were bad, but when you can get a win like that in a hostile environment under adverse circumstances with Nick Barbour honestly activating NBA Jam mode and, well, I'll take it.
We're 6-3. Next we go on the road @Seton Hall where hopefully Daniel Green will be back in action. After that game, not only do we embark on a string of extremely winnable home games (Gardner-Webb, UNCW, Yale, and Wofford) before our ACC opener at home against Virginia Tech, but Ty Walker will also be available to suit up after the next game, which frankly could be huge, especially from a depth standpoint. Sure, we lost to Richmond in fairly ugly fashion, but I'm fairly confident in saying after tonight I don't think we need to worry about a collapse the likes of our post-Iowa games last year.
As always, comments appreciated. Rollin' Ronin out. Go Deacs.
|Wake Forest||High Point|
|O Reb %||9.1||39.5|
|D Reb %||60.5||90.9|