Wake Forest led wire to wire and honestly looked like the unquestionably better team on Saturday afternoon in an early road game against Boston College. With the loss, the possibly historically-bad (like, maybe even worse than us last year, maybe) go to 7-11, yet somehow 2-3 in the ACC.
Wake moves to 11-8, and also 2-3 in the league. It was a game of almost-correct predictions for me; Chase Fischer drilled three three-pointers and got fouled on a fourth one game after I predicted him filling it up against Duke, and Wake's two-headed monster of Travis McKie and C.J. Harris scored exactly what I predicted, but in reverse.
The Deacs led by 8 at the half and saw the lead dwindle to as little as two before the Deacs exploded on an 8-0 run and didn't look back. Wake led by as many as 17 before giving up a couple easy baskets (when it was too little, far too late for the Eagles) but Wake was ultimately able to dribble out the clock on the final margin. This game is the opposite of the Duke game in that the more I think about it, the better I feel. We got good performances from many Deacs (as is the tendency when we win) and even a couple of pleasant surprises I was entirely unaware of until I looked at the box score.
I talk specifics of this nice road win after the jump...First some general notes:
- BC's bigs got absolutely ABUSED defensively inside by the surprisingly fearsome duo of Ty Walker and Carson Desrosiers. It was absolutely key, because BC wasn't hitting their outside shots at all either. I honestly think it could've been a bit of a chicken and egg situation, where because BC couldn't hit much inside, they freaked out and rushed their outside shots.
- Wake's offense wasn't great percentage-wise (44% from the field, 4-13 from 3 for approximately 31% from 3, and 15-20 from the line, a solid 75%). Despite these iffy percentages, Chase Fischer had probably his best game as a Deac, going 4-7, and 3-6 from three, also going 2-3 from the line (one of Chase's misses from deep was an attempt he got fouled on, so for all we know he could've ended up 4-6). Travis McKie and Nikita Mescheriakov also went 50% shooting, on 6 and 18 attempts respectively. While I'm on the subject, despite a rough day shooting for C.J. Harris, (4-12, 0-1, 7-8), the GOOD news is C.J. took 12 shots, Travis took 18, and Nikita only took 6. See what happens when your playmakers take the lion's share of the shots? Good things. Just saying.
- Defensively, Wake's outing was...perplexing. BC was only 31% overall, and 4-21 from three for a truly anemic 19% So you'd think their defense was great, right? Well, on the interior, it absolutely was, without exaggeration. Ty Walker was an absolute monster defensively, getting 6 blocks, one of which he assisted on but was not credited for, and he also racked up a few goaltends, but at least one of those was a little questionable (the others weren't, though).
- Travis McKie was also a defensive presence, getting 3 blocks of his own, along with 7 defensive rebounds (Ty had 9 defensive boards). Carson Desrosiers did a heck of a job filling gaps for Ty as well, racking up 8 defensive rebounds, a block, and 2 steals (man, for a 7 footer, Carson has some skilled hands) in only 16 minutes of play. It got to the point where inside, BC was almost blocking themselves, in the sense that they seemed terrified to even try shots inside. On the perimeter, obviously our defense wasn't wholly ineffective, but we were definitely aided by just a bad shooting day for the Eagles, and the four shots they did make were wide WIDE open. God we need to learn how to rotate. So very badly.
- Wake actually won the battle of the boards by 3. Thanks Ty, Carson, and Travis. Doing work, fellas. Good to see.
- Wake had 15 assists and only 11 turnovers, so there was good ball movement too. It honestly should've been only 8 turnovers; Wake players literally stepped on the baseline underneath BC's basket on three separate occasions. Come on fellas, you attend Wake, you're smarter than that.
Now some individual notes:
- I'm gonna start with Ty Walker. This kid is SO improved, I can scarcely put it into words. Now I won't go with the "wisdom" of the announcer who said during yesterday's game that if Ty had played like this all four years that he'd be pushing Tim Duncan levels, but I will GLADLY say that Ty has stepped it up to a truly incredible degree, and honestly if he was having more offensive output, I'd probably put him on a ballot for Most Improved ACC Player. THIS is the Ty Walker we recruited, and I'm unbelievably happy for him. My only regret is that it's taken this long for things to click with the big man. In addition to the aforementioned rebounds, blocks, and defensive play, Ty finished with 6 points on 2-5 shooting and 2-2 from the line. Yes, in 2012, Ty Walker was at least flirting with a triple double. This is awesome. Ty also had an assist and a steal.
- Travis McKie had another double double, 20 points (the aforementioned 9-18, 1-3, 1-1) 10 rebounds, plus an assist to go with the three blocks. Travis is really the guy that took over for Wake when BC started to make a run to get back in it. They had nobody to contend with him inside, and he absolutely exploited that.
- C.J. had the aforementioned rough day shooting, but he still ended up with 15 points, and chipped in 3 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. Not his best day, but still a really really good day for C.J.
- Nikita Mescheriakov was, well, Nikita. 6 points on six attempted shots, 2 rebounds, an assist, and a turnover. About the only noteworthy thing about his game for better or for worse is he had a couple of shockingly pretty spin moves in the post to actually great success. I have no real issues with his game, since he wasn't jacking up shots like usual.
- Tony Chennault had a mixed game. He had only 9 points on 8 shots (3-8, 0-1, 3-6 from the line) and was the one guy I could point out most as having issues with defending the perimeter. Having said that, TC undoubtedly had his best game as a playmaker. The Philly product had a fantastic 6:1 A:T ratio. I mean, 6 assists and only one turnover? Dang man. If TC can just continue to work on his strength (something that's been getting slowly but surely better) and REALLY focus on perimeter D, a LOT, then I really think things can start to come together for him.
- I already talked about Chase Fischer and Carson Desrosiers, mostly. Strong output off the bench from those two in their own ways, and I'm positively thrilled to see Chase finding his stroke from deep.
- Daniel Green played 2 minutes and did nothing stat-wise except pick up 2 fouls. Anthony Fields did not play. On the one hand, TC was doing a really good job of running things offensively this game, especially considering the woeful NC State performance, but if Ant's not going to get playing time up double digits in the second half to BC, when IS he going to get it? Chin up, Anthony. Please don't transfer, thanks in advance.
REALLY a solid outing by the Deacs. I really don't care how bad BC is; while they're the second worst team we've played this year according to kenpom, the facts of the matter are it's a league win on the road, and it's the biggest margin of victory we've had all year, coming off of a pair of really ugly games. Furthermore, we did something neither Clemson nor Virginia Tech (admittedly without Green) couldn't do: dominated BC at Conte.
Good game overall. Even hanging in there with the positively exploding Seminoles next game is going to be a tall order, but who knows, maybe they'll come out a little bit flat footed after being so emotionally-charged. Only time will tell. As always, comments appreciated, and thanks for reading. Go Deacs.