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Three Up, Three Down: FSU

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This game was way closer and more competitive than the score would indicate. That’s not just a platitude, it’s a flat out fact. Let’s break it down some, shall we?

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Florida State Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

Basically The Entire First Half. Wake got out to a strong start and led basically the entire first half, other than a one point FSU lead for a single possession. In years past. we’d have done our stupid stuff early and spent the entire game swimming upstream. In this outing, however, Wake went blow for blow on the road with a top 20 squad (again) for the vast majority of the day. This is cause for optimism on almost every front and it’s hard to argue otherwise.

Doing It All Ostensibly Without John Collins. Wake’s super sophomore had a brutal day, and yet the team powered through and came very close to....maybe not shocking the world, but causing a raised eyebrow or three somewhere, and that’s good stuff.

Austin Arians. Keyshawn Woods was also fantastic, but I want to give special acknowledgement to The Man A Syllable Away From Being The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (probably no one will get this joke but I’m going to go for it anyway). Arians went 4-5 from the field and 3-4 from deep for 11 points but more importantly, I noticed him in a good way on defense. Several times, Austin stuck to his assignments like glue and forced a few turnovers. Really, really good stuff from the grad transfer. Thanks for the effort, Austin. I mean that.

The Downs

Turnovers. Wake had 16 turnovers, many of them brutal ones that led to super easy FSU breakaways. That was the essence of the gigantic second half run by the Seminoles, and it just can’t happen. Even worse, 10 of those turnovers came from our point guards, 3 from Brandon Childress and a brutal 7 for Bryant Crawford. Bad times.

Nothing Inside.. John Collins had 2 points, 3 rebounds, 4 fouls. Sam Japhet-Mathias had 0 points,,2 rebounds and 5 fouls. The two of them played a combined 29 minutes due to foul trouble and unfortunately Doral Moore was also limited to 2 minutes by an unfortunate injury that has me concerned but not too much so. Hopefully Doral will be alright and the others will return to form. It’s honestly miraculous how close this was for approximately 30 out of 40 minutes in spite of the lack of inside production.

That Stretch At The End. That 8 or so minute stretch really was an implosion the likes of which I haven’t seen in a while. I’m not going to hate too much because I truly believe a lot of it was just being worn down by a deep, physical FSU squad. That said, it was excruciating to watch, and had me hopping mad at the time. That stretch beat down my optimism something fierce, and it took some time and deep breaths to regain perspective.

The Bottom Line

This game was neither wonderful nor terrible. Overall I’d call it more good than bad, but I wouldn’t begrudge anyone for being bothered. Let’s just hope Doral’s alright and that the team that waxed LSU shows up against Clemson. Let’s be tiger slayers, shall we? Not much else to say for this one.

On to the next. Go Deacs.

—SF