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Samurai Snippets: Notre Dame

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Don't call it a comeback! The Rollin' Ronin makes a triumphant return to BSD with a recap-in-bites of Wake Forest's tense but impressive 65-58 home win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to bring the Deacs to 4-3 in the ACC.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Good

Devin. Thomas. Seriously, 21 points on 10-11 shooting. 6 rebounds, an assist, and two blocks.  Devin was literally unstoppable on offense.  You know a performance is good when it flirts with Wake Forest history (I believe the record for makes without a miss is somewhere around 13).  Granted he struggled on the defensive end (more on that later), but seriously, it was just an amazing performance.

Single Digit Turnovers. All I can say on that front is hooray.  I'll take single digit turnovers any game, personally.  That, and the team had 13 assists on 23 baskets.  That's solid.

Team Effort. Plenty of players had huge plays.  Travis McKie got us going early and helped ice the game late, at one point Coron Williams scored eight straight points, and Codi Miller-McIntyre, again showing leadership and ice water in his veins, came through with six key points at the end of the game.  Defensively, the whole team was really strong except for one element which I'll get to.  It was just a good, solid, team win.

Free Throws! The whole team has been improving on this front, but special commendations go out to Arnaud William Adala Moto, who has gone from a 40% free throw shooter to one of the most reliable options on the team.  Take out two misses by Moto when the game was already over, and the team went 6-6 (Travis McKie), 2-2 (Codi Miller-McIntyre), 1-3 (Devin Thomas, who ruled the game otherwise) 2-2 (Tyler Cavanaugh), and 3-4 (Moto, who ended up 3-6 after the two garbage time misses).  Great improvement overall.  Hopefully they can keep this up.

The Bad

Interior Defense. Garrick Sherman went 8-15 from the field with a couple of lucky misses, and Tom Knight, his backup, went 4-4.  Now granted, they're both big body seniors, but still, they got whatever they wanted, just like Devin did on the other end.

Offensive Rebounds.  Notre Dame had nine offensive rebounds for 12 points, and many of those came after legitimately good defensive possessions that we just didn't finish.  Painful.

Lack of Killer Instinct. There were several times when the Demon Deacons really could've stepped on the throat of the Fighting Irish, but they didn't, much to my chagrin.  Offensive rebounds given up, turnovers, bad shots, defensive miscues, and a smattering of bad luck prevented the Deacs from really blowing this thing wide open.

The Bottom Line

Undefeated at home, over .500 in the conference seven games in with our only losses being on the road and two of three to legit tourney teams is nothing to sneeze at.  That's 13 wins in a row at home coming into the pivotal upset opportunity against the Syracuse Orange on Wednesday.  Soft schedule or no, sustainable or no, long-term implications or no, this is far and away the best a team has looked in the Bzdelik era and it's really not arguable.  If we shock the world Wednesday night, then things get REALLY interesting.  It'd be a monumental upset, but stranger things have happened.  Proud of this team right now.  On to the next.  Go Deacs.

--SF