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Three Up, Three Down: UNC Greensboro

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Better late than never. Let’s wash away some of the heartbreak of that soccer title loss by discussing something a little more positive; the hoops team escaping a trap game with a win and getting to 8-2 on the year.

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

The Ups

John Collins Continues To Dominate. The sophomore sensation continued his awesome campaign, notching another double-double with 17 points (5-6 from the field, 7-10 from the line) and 12 boards. I never thought I’d say this coming into the year, but as much of a bedrock Devin Thomas was last season, JC has stepped in and stepped up, and our inside game hasn’t skipped a beat.

Perimeter Shooting Somewhat Back To Form. The Deacs went a solid 44% from deep, including a good 3-5 effort from sharpshooter Keyshawn Woods, 1-1 each for Konstantinos Mitoglou and Mitchell Wilbekin. Even the roughest performance of the day, Bryant Crawford’s 1-5, included the buzzer beating game winner. It was good to see the Deacs hitting those shots again, and even better that Dinos and Mitch didn’t get too eager to jack up shots.

Everything About The Game Winner. I don’t care that it was against UNCG. I don’t care that Bryant didn’t pass on that possession. I don’t care that he was 0-4 before that. I don’t care that he gave the crowd the business afterwards. As far as I’m concerned, if you drill a shot like that in that situation on the road, you’re entitled to a bit of swagger. If a guy is going to be a star, it’s ALMOST a prerequisite. The only guy I can think of who had none of that was Tim Duncan. Jordan had it in spades. Bird was NOTORIOUS for trash talk. Lebron, Russell Westbrook, and countless other NBA stars do that kind of thing. Randolph was Randolph. I just can’t see the argument for knocking that unless you want every player to be Tim Duncan. Admittedly that’s fair enough, but good luck with that.

The Downs

Giving Up The Lead. We almost blew a 16 point lead to UNCG. Oof. That shouldn’t happen. Some of it was turnovers, some of it was bad shots, some of it was second chances, but all of it was unfortunate. I’m not going to harp on it too much, but that was definitely the biggest pock mark on an otherwise strong performance.

UNCG On The Offensive Boards. The Spartans had 13 offensive rebounds. That’s just not good. Admittedly, that’s a big part of their identity, but I never want to see that happen. It got a bit better as the game went on (while turnovers and shot selection got worse) but there were still some basic screw ups on boxouts and the like even late in the contest.

Defensive Breakdowns. Another issue in the UNCG comeback, Wake lost their intensity on the defensive end for long stretches of the late game. It’s a shame in the sense that this easily could’ve been a blowout and it took a last second shot.

The Bottom Line

A win’s a win, and there was a lot of good to come out of a close game like this, no matter whom the opponent happens to be. It’s also worth noting that kenpom only had us winning by 5. Not that we shouldn’t expect better, but obviously something about it was a bad matchup. But I’ll take 8-2 at this point in the season 7 days a week and twice on Sunday. Let’s get a quality win next Saturday, shall we?

On to the next. Go Deacs.

--SF