The Wake Forest Demon Deacons may have been playing a quasi road game and the officials, but they came out with intensity and defeated the College of Charleston Cougars 78-61 on the Cougars’ home court. They overcame some horrific officiating in the second half, and advanced to 4-1 on the season. What stood out in this one?
I was far more impressed with Wake Forest’s defensive intensity in this one. Charleston is a better matchup for the Deacs because they don’t have 4 elite guards, but I still thought that Wake was more focused and locked in this evening. They forced a number of shot clock violations, and routinely defended deep into the shot clock on multiple occasions. College of Charleston’s offense hasn’t been spectacular this season, but I still thought this was Wake’s best defensive effort of the season.
Wake Forest was led offensively by sophomore Bryant Crawford, who finished with 17 points, 6 assists, and 0 turnovers. He took over when needed, and that’s what talented leaders are expected to do. John Collins was quiet in the first half due to foul trouble, but had a strong finish to the game and ended with 15 points and 5 rebounds. Austin Arians had 11 points, including a big 3 early on. Keyshawn Woods had 12 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists off the bench. What an unbelievable pickup he has been.
Wake finished with a raw offensive efficiency of of 121.5, which is excellent considering that College of Charleston entered the game with the 35th best defense in the country. Wake Forest’s defensive efficiency was a solid 93.8. College of Charleston’s offense won’t get confused with the 7 seconds of less Phoenix Suns, but it’s still a good showing.
I was very encouraged by what a saw tonight. The officials called an absurd amount of ridiculous fouls against the Deacs in the second half, but they maintained composure, and kept playing through it. It wasn’t necessarily a true road win, but it was still an impressive win early on in the season.
Doral Moore had some rough moments in this one, but also showed really nice touch on a few hook shots, and had three excellent blocks. He should have had a fourth, but it was inexplicably ruled a foul. I also liked what I saw out of Sam Japhet-Mathias in limited minutes. He made free throws, and made a nice bucket while using the rim as a defender.
Overall, I will say that this was a successful tournament for the Deacs. They had a really solid win over UTEP, a loss to Villanova that demonstrated more offensive potential, and a big win over College of Charleston in a tough environment. It’s always nice when you can win a road game despite the opponent shooting 17 more free throws.
College of Charleston will play Villanova on Wednesday (good luck), while Wake Forest will return to action on Wednesday evening when they host Coastal Carolina. The action will tip off beginning at 7:30 p.m., and that game can be seen on ACC Network Extra.