What was supposed to be a basketball game between Wake Forest and LSU on ESPNU, turned into a two hour Ben Simmons documentary. Wake Forest won the ancillary basketball game 77-71
If you didn't know who Ben Simmons was before this game then you certainly know who he is now...not because he looked like the best player on the court, but because ESPNU insisted on talking about him at every single turn in the game, even when it didn't apply.
Simmons certainly didn't disappoint, and he got more aggressive in the second half, finishing with 21 points and 10 rebounds, but the amount of attention that was given to him was absolutely absurd with an actual game between two Power 5 teams going on.
Bryant Crawford had one of his best games of the year for Wake Forest, distributing the ball well and also knocking down timely shots. His three with 2 minutes left gave the Deacs a 5 point lead 67-62 that would not be relinquished. He also threw down a HARD one handed jam with under a minute left. Crawford is going to be a fun one to watch while donning the Old Gold and Black.
The 2-3 zone of LSU absolutely destroyed the flow of the offense in the second half for Wake Forest. I must say, the "inside-out" offense that we claim to run looks much more like a "dribble, drive, and kick offense". It never looks like we try to get the ball inside unless the perimeter is completely closed off.
In the second half Devin Thomas got two touches in two possessions and tied the game up at 54. He was getting visibly frustrated, but continued to work hard and establish position to get the ball and to the basket. When the ball did get into his hands he made the Tigers pay, and it probably made all Deacon fans wonder why it took so long to get it to him.
I am really concerned with the ability of this Wake Forest team to break a simple 2-3 zone. Wake Forest turned it over on probably every single possession in the second half but still managed to hold on for the win.
Dinos Mitoglou proved HUGE with two corner threes in three possessions around the five minute mark to give the Deacs the lead. He was mitigated by foul trouble throughout, but was big when Danny Manning needed him.
Wake Forest finishes the out of conference schedule 9-3, better than most would have ever thought, much less with all the injuries, suspensions, and other shenanigans that have occurred.
LSU drops to 7-5 in honestly a shocking fashion given the amount of talent on the Tigers roster. I know that there have been a lot of injuries and transfers, but there is absolutely no excuse for this LSU team to be as bad as they are, especially with THE CHOSEN ONE on the roster.
Wake Forest now heads to Louisville to take on the Cardinals on Sunday night at 8 to open ACC play. This is the third of four tough games to end the holiday season for Wake Forest.
Despite being an ugly basketball game, I will take a win any day of the week and am proud of the team for pulling this one through.