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Three Up, Three Down: Bucknell

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The Deacs notched their second decisive win on Sunday, with Wake Forest absolutely torching the nets offensively and keeping the right amount of composure to keep control and run away from Bucknell;

NCAA Basketball: Bucknell at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

Keyshawn Woods Is A Boss. The Charlotte transfer led all scorers with 22 points, including an insane 5-6 from deep. That is what was advertised with him coming into the season, but even still, seeing it in action was something else altogether. He also had 4 rebounds and 2 assists. Really, it was just a heck of a day, and I see now why he was sought after by this staff. There were many other tremendous showings, including 19 and 9 from John Collins, but it was really a coming out party for Keyshawn, which made me happy not only for him, but happy in general.

Fantastic Ball Movement. A lot of those open looks came from having good offensive execution and ball movement. There were kickouts, cross court passes, pocket passes, bounce passes...the Deacs had 16 assists on 29 baskets, including 8 assists from Bryant Crawford and 5 from Brandon Childress. Even better, no Wake Forest guards had any turnovers on the day. That’s good ball protection and fantastic execution. I only hope that keeps up as the season continues. Between that and the dangerous nature of our frontcourt, we have the bedrocks of a good squad on paper.

Always Having An Answer. Bucknell made several runs and cut the game to single digits, but the Deacs kept composure, and always had an answer for Bucknell’s surges. For me personally, the play of the game goes to Austin Arians, who hit an insane four point play to really sap any and all momentum Bucknell had, and Wake never looked back, It was a real team effort, and it was great to see.

The Downs

Allowing Bucknell Second Chances. Bucknell had 22 second chance points. Think about that. More than a quarter of the output by the Bison came off of offensive rebounds. We are extremely lucky that we were doing so well in the other aspects of the game, because in a tighter contest, that very easily could have come back to bite us.

Missed Layups. For as good as the outside shooting was, there was no shortage of missed inside looks. Bryant Crawford, Brandon Childress, and John Collins all missed gimmies, so it’s not like one party was responsible, either. I will say in the defense of these gentlemen that they all seem to be working on new finesse moves (and in Brandon’s case he’s new to the college game altogether) so to be honest I expect this to clear up as the season goes on. The far more important thing is the ease with which these guys have been getting into those positions. It’s fun to watch.

Some Rough Handling And Passing By Bigs. The team only had 9 turnovers, so it certainly wasn’t atrocious or anything, but in some cases our bigs put the ball on the floor when they shouldn’t or tried to do too much with passing. It’s a fairly minor thing in the context of the game as a whole, but I’d still like to see it clean up as much as can be expected moving forward.

The Bottom Line

Another really good performance. I firmly believe this is the best, most balanced team we’ve had since the Gaudio Era, and yes I also believe they are well coached, which is exciting. It’ll almost certainly be harder against tougher teams, but it’s a promising start and, much like with football, I think it’s pretty clear that the progression of this team is noticable, steady, and is building on itself. We’ll see where the progression ultimately takes us, but this is a pretty darn great two game start. Well done all.

On to the next. Go Deacs.

—SF