Wake Forest opened the 2016-2017 season with a 80-59 over Radford inside of the Joel Coliseum. John Collins was a monster inside and finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, both of which are career highs. What else stood out?
The game began with a defensive struggle. While the defensive numbers looked good early on, I thought that was mostly a product of Radford’s poor shooting and ability to finish. Wake struggled to get back in transition and also had some poor communication on defense that led to poor rotations.
One thing that stood out to me in this game was Dinos Mitoglou being a much bigger threat in the low post. Part of it may have been the opponent, but there’s no doubt that he has added strength and has improved his touch around the basket.
Wake Forest shot just 3-15 from deep in the first half. I really didn’t mind many of the looks, and believe they will begin to fall, but Wake absolutely needs to be knocking down outside shots to have a good season. Wake Forest, however, finished the game 5-18 from deep. This will absolutely be something to track as the non-conference schedule moves along.
Wake Forest found themselves up 36-28 at halftime. The Deacs got off to a strong start in the second half after they made a more concentrated effort to get players like Dinos Mitoglou and John Collins the ball in the paint. They quickly went up 47-32 and Radford took a timeout. Wake Forest never looked back.
Wake unfortunately only won the rebounding battle by 4, and they need to do a better job of grabbing defensive boards and limiting second-chance opportunities for opponents. Radford had 16 offensive rebounds, and that cannot happen moving forward. Wake finished with a turnover rate of 21.7%, which improved as the game went on, but the Deacs have to do a better job of protecting the ball and maximizing offensive opportunities.
I was very impressed by Keyshawn Woods in the second half. He did a very good job of knocking down outside shots, but he also put the ball on the floor and attacked the basket. He finished with 14 points off the bench, and I would not be surprised if he’s starting by the end of the non-conference portion of the schedule.
John Collins was sensational all night, but especially in the second half, and was a critical reason why Wake Forest extended its lead in the second half. He was strong around the bucket, and went a very efficient 7-11 from the field. He is going to have an awesome year for the Deacs.
Brandon Childress was the only freshman who received any substantial playing time, and I was impressed with his ball-handling, distributing and poise (5 assists to 0 turnovers), but at times he tries to do too much and takes some bad shots. Still, he’ll be a nice piece for Wake this season.
Bryant Crawford, who finished with 14 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds, threw down a massive dunk with under 2 minutes to go, but landed awkwardly and immediately left the game after hobbling off. Once more information is made available on the injury, we will update you.
UPDATE: Coach Manning said that it was a “cramping issue.” This gives me a lot of confidence that he will play on Sunday.
Radford will host Central Penn on Wednesday, while Wake Forest will host Bucknell on Sunday at 2 p.m.
What did you all think of Wake’s performance?