Dinos. DINOS. The Greek Deac had by far his best game as a Deac in quite some time, being the one offensive cog that showed no real rust after the long layoff. He went 5-8 from the field, 4-6 from deep, and a perfect 8-8 from the line. Just a monstrous 22 point game for Dinos. Well done to him.
The Defense (Mostly). We held the Spartans to 42% shooting and 30% from deep on 23 attempts, and forced the usually surehanded UNC-Greensboro squad into 17 turnovers. The Deacs also outrebounded the Spartans, albeit not by much, stacking up a +3 margin. They played with a lot of effort on the defensive end for the most part, and while the margin of victory isn't what any of us would have liked, I thought the defense was generally a fairly solid effort, especially given this team's tendency to get torched from beyond the arc.
Getting To The Line. The Deacs forced 26 fouls, including leaving four of UNC-G's five starters with four fouls. That's just tremendous work. The conversion rate was pretty good too, with the team going 69% from the line on 37 attempts, and that average was slightly skewed (something I'll get to below).
Rust (I Hope). The team seemed really out of it on the offensive end for large stretches of the game. I'm hoping that it was a mixture of rust for the team and the return of Codi Miller-McIntyre after being out for so long with his broken foot. I'm pretty confident they'll get it back together, but there were some really sloppy stretches, and that's something that needs to change, and rather quickly.
Devin's Struggles From The Line. Again, I hate calling out individual efforts, especially since Devin Thomas has been an utter monster this season (and he was in this game as well. That said, he went 8-17 from the line, which just can't happen. That's almost DeAndre Jordan territory. That said, once again, I'm only mentioning this because I know and I firmly believe that Devin is capable of better performances. Just shake the rust off, big Devin. You've got this.
Turnovers. This is an entirely too common refrain, but the Deacs had 16 turnovers, and even worse, the Spartans forced 11 steals, meaning that the majority of said turnovers were live-ball turnovers. That's not good. That being said, there are bright sides. First, five of the turnovers came from the rusty CMM, whom I have no doubts will get back in the flow of his game and tighten things up. Additionally, Wake Forest also had 15 assists, meaning that they had almost a 1-1 assist to turnover ratio, which hasn't always been the case. There have been some real flashes of smooth, crisp ball movement, and I really think those stretches are signs of both improvement and an indicator of how good this team could be in the future. We really are on the right track here.
The Bottom Line
A double digit win, a 7-2 record, and real signs of growth Granted, I'd have liked a bench clearing blowout of 20+ points, but that's not what we got, and even though things were a bit tight, the Deacs led for 36 of the 40 minutes of the game. Every time things tightened up, Wake Forest had an answer. Just like always, the squad didn't blow the doors off the competition, but they did show composure, ,team effort, and an ability to keep cool under pressure. We had a mildly disappointing showing, but it says a lot that we're in a place where we can complain about wins and having a 7-2 record against this schedule. Here's hoping we see a more cohesive and complete effort tomorrow night against Coastal Carolina.
On to the next. Go Deacs.