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Three Up, Three Down: UTEP

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Wake Forest exploded out of the gate and didn’t look back, nailing 13-20 three pointers in the first half and never really losing stride offensively to coast to a 103-81 victory over UTEP.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Texas-El Paso Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

INSANE Offensive Output, 103 points. 13-21 from deep. 20-25 from the line. 59% shooting overall. Two Deacs with 20, two more with 10+. 22 assists on 35 made baskets. This was as flawless of an offensive performance as I can remember seeing in darn near a decade. Good gravy.

The Crawford-Collins Connection. Wake’s star sophomores KILLED UTEP. Crawford had 20 points (7-12 shooting, 2-4 from deep, 4-6 from the line), 2 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, and only 1 turnover. Collins was otherworldly as well, filling up 24 points on a sterling 9-10 from the field, 6-9 from the line, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and a block. Just madness.

Working Everywhere On The Floor. 13-20 from deep in the first half, and the team only attempted a single three in the second. Everyone got in on the action from everywhere, between NBA threes, midrange magic, and a plethora of highlight dunks in both half-court sets and in transition. It was nice to see Wake show success and dominant play from the perimeter and in the paint alike.

The Downs

16 Turnovers. Not good, and I was bummed to see Brandon Chidress have 4 turnovers after none in the first two outings. Still, those games happen, and the important thing is we didn’t let the turnovers beat us. Also I believe a healthy majority of the turnovers were dead ball, which bother me far less.

Far From Great Defense. We gave up 81 points and 53% from the field. That’s not good. Still, they only hit 5-14 from deep which I’d take most nights, and it wasn’t all horrible defensive effort, especially in the second half. There were plenty of well-guarded shots that still went in. I’d need to rewatch to be sure, but I’m fairly certain Wake Forest had many more wide open offensive looks.

A Fair Amount Of Foul Trouble. 21 team fouls, and 4 each for John Collins, Doral Moore, and Bryant Crawford. Particularly vexing were Doral’s multiple illegal screens and Bryant Crawford fouling on a three. In a lot of ways I’m nitpicking here because the performance really was fantastic, but you never like to see that.

The Bottom Line

This team is good, the only question is how good. They’ve dominated three teams they should’ve, and now have a date with defending champion Villanova. I’d be lying outright if I said I had any idea what to expect tomorrow, but based off our performances so far I’d say we have a puncher’s chance, which is good stuff. If we beat Nova I will plotz.in the best way. Let’s see if we can shock the world.

On to the next. Go Deacs.

—SF