It was ugly. Real ugly. The first half was genuinely one of the worst halves of basketball I think I've ever seen. The Deacs led at the break 24-17, looking just a little bit better than the opposition, but still far from composed. The second half was better for both teams, and honestly, after Tech started the second half on a 10-0 run that frankly had me booing in the stands (I boo because I love; I expect better), I feared another Wake loss.
But the Deacs, notably Travis McKie, decided to refuse to lose, and in the end they came out the victors. There were some really good things about the game (believe it or not) and plenty to work on, but at the end of the day it's a win, which honestly has me feeling pretty good, especially given how things usually have been around here lately.
For more specific breakdowns, stats, and feelings on the future, read more after the jump...
-Offensively, all I can say is pain. The Deacs shot 32.7%, 20% from beyond the arc on 20 attempts. That is...really bad. Like, bordering on historically so, possibly. The one good thing offensively that I can think of is that the Deacs crashed the glass, and hard. The Deacs got no less than 18 offensive rebounds, and outrebounded the Jackets by 10 on the night. The Deacs turned the ball over 11 times, which is acceptable. From the line, the Deacs were outstanding, 19-20 for 95%.
-Defensively, the Deacs were good as well. Tech shot 37.3% on the day, 38.9% from 3. Ty Walker had 4 blocks, and Wake as a team had 6 steals. Of course, a lot of Tech's offensive woes were down to ugly shooting, but the same could be said for Wake, and it definitely seemed like Wake was playing high energy D as a whole. It seemed like everybody was sticking on their assignments pretty well.
Rather than break down every stat by everybody, I think I'll talk about certain things, and explain how each player really impacted the game.
-Tony Chennault had an odd game. He missed a ton of easy layups, but had 8 rebounds, 3 steals, including one that led directly to an easy lay-in that brought Wake's lead to six late. Also, Tony was super clutch at the line, going six for six, even though he got to the line in some really high pressure situations.
-C.J. Harris had his streak of 24 consecutive double digit scoring games sadly come to an end (he only had 8 points) but he had a team high 6 assists and 4 rebounds, and C.J. also had some key free throw makes in this game. My biggest problem with C.J. this game was that he just wasn't aggressive. He passed up what seemed like a ton of open looks.
-Chase Fischer had a rough go of it. He started tonight, and only hit one shot (as well as twisted his ankle, in a moment that made my heart jump into my throat), but the one shot he did hit was a key three late (after the ankle injury) and his high energy continued on both ends.
-Travis McKie was definitely the player of the game. 23 points, 11 rebounds, an assist, only one turnover, nine of 10 from the line and 2-2 from beyond the arc. Travis clearly decided with about six minutes left that he refused to lose, and that he was going to take over. He hit a nice spinning shot in the paint, then drilled a three, then got fouled going to the basket and made both free throws.
-Nikita Mescheriakov crashed the glass and had a couple really nice baskets. He also had the exclamation point dunk at the end, which I kinda liked, and Coach Bzdelik, Travis McKie, and my parents all seemingly hated. Yeah, it was bad sportsmanship, but at the end of the day I don't begrudge Nikita for trying to celebrate a little.
-Ty Walker was huge off the bench. The aforementioned 4 blocks, 2 steals, and one basket that came on a deep two jumper with the shot clock winding down to balloon the Wake lead to eight very late in the game. Considering Ty missed several easy shots, that was a positively surreal moment that had me going crazy.
-Carson Desrosiers also had a tough game, but was absolutely key on the glass, ripping down five big rebounds in 14 minutes.
-Anthony Fields played a couple minutes, and while he didn't put up any stats, it was good to see him get some time actually in the flow of the game.
The only other thing I need to mention is holy cow were we terrible at the end of the shot clock. There were literally three shot clock violations by the Deacs this game. It really was a problem of guys seemingly passing too much and refusing to just pull the trigger.
All in all, an UGLY but good win (wins are always good). My feelings on the coaching situation haven't really changed, though I will say it was refreshing to see a defensive scheme that made sense (exclusively zone against a pretty awful 3 point shooting team) and to see the offensive scheme make perfect sense late (get the ball to Travis, he's taking over).
I'm proud of our team. This was a game I felt like we should have won, and that's exactly what we did. I'm proud of the players, and I'm glad for both the players and every single one of the coaches. Let's see if they can ride this wave of momentum and get a pleasant surprise (or would it be a shock?) and pull out a victory over Miami. I certainly don't think it will happen, but it'd be awesome all the same.