Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
Wake Forest opened the game on a 7-2 run and never looked back. This was an absolute housing on every level, and the success for Wake Forest came in every phase from a variety of sources. Whether this says more about Wake Forest or about the Seminoles (a fact I'll discuss more below), it's borderline impossible to find fault in the performance today by the Deacs.
I could probably put "Pretty much everything" here and it mostly wouldn't be wrong, but I'll try to hit some of the highlights.
Rebounding. I know, I know, FSU is the worst rebounding team in the conference, but good gravy, we out rebounded them by 20. 20 rebounds. That absolutely obliterates FSU's -8 average. The best part is the balance of it. No one was in double digits, but there were contributions in the rebounding from everywhere on the floor. Devin Thomas led the Deacs with eight boards, and Travis McKie and Arnaud William Adala Moto had six each. Impressively, Aaron Rountree III had four boards in only four minutes of playing time. It was just a great performance on the glass by the Deacs. Wake also had second-chance points in the double digits, and FSU only had a single second-chance point for the entire game.
Offensive balance. The Deacs shot 49% from the floor and 41% from beyond the arc which is pretty great percentage-wise, especially against a team with the defensive pedigree of FSU, but even more notable was the balance in the scoring column. Travis McKie led the way with 15 points (5-9, 2-5 from three, 3-4 from the line), but C.J. Harris chipped in 14 (an admittedly rough 4-12, 2-6. 4-4), as did Codi Miller-McIntyre (6-10, 1-2, 1-3). Arnaud William Adala Moto had a nice six points on 3-4 shooting, and Chase Fischer lived up to his shooting reputation with a 10 point, 4-6 from the field, 2-3 from three performance. Devin Thomas chipped in seven points (2-6, 3-6 from the line), including a thunderous dunk early that really sent a message.
Active hands on defense, and defense in general. 12 steals and 5 blocks for the Deacs. Very nice. Wake also made FSU pay on the offensive end with a lot of those turnovers. Florida State shot 32% from the floor, and 30% from beyond the arc.
Overall energy. The Deacs never looked like they were lackadaisical or sleep walking, even when up big. It was clear from the outset that they wanted to cleanse their palates of the recent road blowouts, and they most certainly managed to do that today.
Tough to find much fault in the performance overall, because it was great, but let's see...
Free throw shooting. 12-22, for 54.5%. We need to do better than that. If we had, this would have been a 30+ point game. Think about that. It's kind of awesome.
Turnovers. Granted the Deacs were very stringent defensively, but 14 turnovers isn't good. It's not awful, especially against a team like FSU, but it's not great.
Fouls. 21 team fouls, an uncharacteristic amount. Conversely, the Deacs forced FSU into 20 team fouls, but didn't even get in the bonus in the first half. I would've liked to have seen more forcing the issue and creating contact by the Deacs on offense, especially with how much we dominated the glass.
Since there's not much clarification needed about the performance (protip: it was really good), I'm gonna use this section to have a little chat with you guys, the readers. Now I'm going to preface this by saying I love you guys. I respect the intelligence and insight of much of the fan base. I also know that this win doesn't undo the problems currently facing the program. But there are two things that we'd do well to remember here. Firstly, it was a 25 point dismantling of an ACC squad. Secondly, FSU is not "awful". Okay, they may have played awfully today if you insist on going there, but currently (as in before this game) FSU is a top 100 squad in kenpom. They've beaten Maryland twice, Clemson twice, only lost to UNC by five on the road, and have an OOC drubbing on a neutral court against a top 50 on KenPom BYU team.
I realize people want a change. I realize FSU probably didn't play very well today. But for crying out loud, can't it also be that Wake had a good game? Can't it also be that Wake showed some fight, resilience, and team spirit, and took advantage of a sub-par performance by an opponent exactly how they should have? Can't we just enjoy something? No, instead, because people are rightly frustrated and antsy, it has to be "FSU is awful" or "Well, a broken clock is right twice a day."
I find it a little bit ironic how people (rightfully, perhaps) shrug off some of the things that Coach Bzdelik says after bad losses, like "we're a young team" or "Tuesday is our toughest day academically" and whatnot when the fact of the matter is that many of those same people do the same exact thing when the team enjoys success. If you want to say that the program still isn't necessarily in a good place long-term, fine. That's at least a reasonable statement to make based off of what we know. If you want to argue that Wake Forest was helped by a rough day for the Noles, fine. There's probably some truth to that. But only this fan base (and again I love you guys) can take a 25 point ACC win that takes us to 4-1 at home in the conference with the loss being a close one to Duke and hand wave it.
Our road woes still exist and are an unavoidable issue. It's IMPOSSIBLE to argue that these performances on the road are okay, either in the long term or the short term. But we continue to defend home court and show that the team is capable of putting fantastic games together, and that's a lot better than where we've been the past couple of years. There's something to be said for that, and for a change, it's a great day to be a Deac. I'm proud of our team today. Go Deacs.