After Boston College erased a seven point deficit in the final two minutes in Chestnut Hill on Wednesday, the Deacs returned home for more of the same. Wake Forest held a four point lead with two minutes left and were scoreless the rest of the way. Georgia Tech's Robert Carter hit two clutch free throws with eight seconds left for the 57-56 victory.
The home streak is done.
Worst refs since sixth grade rec league.
But that's no excuse.
For how poorly the Deacs played today, they still had no business losing. They could not follow up the embarrassment at BC with a worse result... This marks only the team's second home loss in the ACC this season (the other being Duke). Georgia Tech is 4-8 in conference, good for ninth in the ACC, two of those wins are at the hands of the Deacs.
Overall, a really frustrating game so I will break it down with "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly."
Free throw shooting: As they have been all season, the Deacs got to the line early and often and were an impressive 23-25 (92%) from the charity stripe. CJ Harris led the way going 7-7, and even Devin Thomas was 3-3 and Arnaud Adala Moto was 6-8 (far better than his season average of 56%). Their ability to hit free throws kept them in this game.
Defense: The Deacs held GT to 57 points on the day and 39% from the field, over seven points below average. By no means are these Yellow Jackets an offensive juggernaut, shooting a tad over 41% on the season, but the Deacs held their own on defense.
Blocks: Wake Forest effectively protected the rim, totaling eight blocks. Four of these came from Aaron Rountree in only 15 minutes of action. Devin Thomas had two and Andre Washington and Chase Fischer each had one.
Devin Thomas: DT put up another one of his classic stat lines-- 9 points (3-6 shooting) and as mentioned above 3-3 from the line and 12 rebounds. I hope he becomes more of a focal point on offense to increase the team's presence in the paint. He had twice as many rebounds as anyone else on the floor. Thomas continues to provide the team with a lot of energy and contained the Yellow Jackets big men. Once this kid develops a right hand, he will be near unstoppable.
Three-point shooting: The team finished 5-20 from behind the arc. This is well below their season average of .346%. In my opinion, this is far too many three point attempts for a team largely bereft of great shooters. Travis made two of his six attempts (out of 13 total shots), but I want him to use his strength to attack the hoop more.
Turnovers: A team cannot turn the ball over 17 times and expect to win! Yes, this team is near the bottom of the ACC averaging over 14 per game, so its not uncommon, but it is still unacceptable.
Bench: The bench combined for a total of seven points, going 2-12 from the field. If these guys can't step up, then the starters will be forced to play more minutes and will be more tired at the end of the game. Plain and simple.
The Shooting: A horrid 14-48, equaling 29% from the field. With these numbers, how does a team expect to compete? As alluded to before, almost half of the team's shots (20 out of 48) were from behind the arc. Overall, the Deacs were very stagnant on offense and failed to create space. Many possessions had no interior touches or aggressive moves at the basket. This resulted in rushed, off-balance three-point attempts as the shot clock waned.
Assists-to-Turnover Ratio: We already mentioned the turnovers, but the Deacs failed to create looks for their teammates. A grand total of six assists, compared to 17 turnovers. That just won't cut it in the ACC.
Coaching: Considering all that's stated above, the Deacs were clinging to a four point lead with two minutes left. The crowd was in full force behind the team. Following a flurry of timeouts, the team came away empty-handed. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets scored off both of their timeouts in the final two minutes. The team appeared at unease and were unsure of what they were doing (Rountree's ill-advised turnover leading in the final minute). Also, the 16 footer to Devin Thomas with 2.2 seconds left was a complete disaster. I understand he was the third option, but as a coach, you have to find a way to get McKie or CJ the ball in space...
Refs: The referees called a ticky-tack game to say the least. It hurt the Deacs much more than it hurt GT. Some truly atrocious calls down-the-stretch stunned me. I was befuddled by those flagrants and technicals called in the first half. The offensive foul calls on CJ and Codi were also just absurd.
But that is by no means an excuse for the result. The only person the Deacs can blame for this result is themselves.
Wake Forest has a much-needed week off before taking on soon-to-be #2 in the nation Miami at the Joel next Saturday.