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Three Up, Three Down: Radford

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Awww yeah, hoops are back for real. Even better, the first official outing was an 80-59 handling of Radford. It wasn't without blemishes, but man did we look good in places, and it just feels great to have basketball again.

Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

Defense. Pretty simple, really.  Wake Forest held Radford to 36% shooting for the game, 25% from deep, and that was with the percentages getting better in the second half.  Not only that, the Deacs had very active hands on the defensive end, racking up 10 blocks and 9 steals as a team.  There were definite defensive lapses, and I'll get to some of those a bit later, but all in all a good effort.

Balanced Contributions. John Collins stuffed the stat sheet with 18 points and 12 rebounds, but so did Bryant Crawford with 14 points, 8 assists, and 4 rebounds.  Konstantinos Mitoglou pitched in 9 and 6, Brandon Childress had 5 points, 5 assists, and no turnovers, Keyshawn Woods pitched in 14 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists...you get the idea.  I honestly can't recall the last time we had a Wake team that appeared to be this balanced and unselfish.

Brandon Childress: Chip Off The Old Block? Okay, so Chill didn't fill it up scoring tonight, but in all sincerity I can't ever recall a Wake PG putting as many dudes on skates as Chill.  I counted at least five audible reactions to his handles, and God it's fun.  My favorite sequence was some nasty handles that distracted the defense, allowing a big (can't recall whether it was John Collins or Doral Moore) to escape his man and be open for a sick oop dunk.  Good times.

The Downs

Sluggish Start. At one point Radford was shooting 28% and was only down 9.  I don't know how that happens, but yikes.  In fairness to the team, there was a lot of good offensive execution that just wasn't finished off, but in some ways that's almost worse.  We can't come out that rough against superior competition and expect to win.

16 Radford Offensive Rebounds. Now before anyone reading this has a coronary, I believe at least a third of those were off of Wake Forest blocks, but still, one, ugh, and two, I love how eager this team is to get clean blocks and how good they are at it, but if you're going to do that, finish the play.

Free Throws, Again. Wake was 11-17 at the stripe, with Dinos and Collins each missing 3.  It especially sticks in my craw with Dinos, who is both a shooter (or should be, anyway), and who had one of the better FT% numbers in the conference his freshman year.  What happened?

The Bottom Line

Not much to complain about here!  Heck of an opener, and this team is really fun to watch.  I hope Bryant Crawford isn't badly hurt, but I'm fairly sure he just cramped up.  I fully expect us to get erased tomorrow, but maybe we can bookend that with two wins in hoops and maybe an ACC Men's Soccer title,, eh?  (Side note: shouts out to the soccer team!  Get it!)

Good stuff.  On to the next.  Go Deacs.

--SF