Wake Forest had a decided advantage on the interior against Charlotte, and they appropriately exploited that advantage tonight en route to a 91-74 win over the 49ers. The Demon Deacons improved to 7-2 with the win. What were some of the key takeaways?
Charlotte led the game 2-0 and was tied with Wake Forest at 5, but then the Deacs went on a 17-0 run to essentially finish the game. Wake Forest had 20 points in the paint in the first half compared to just 10 for Charlotte. Wake had 30 field goal attempts in the first half, and only 8 of them were three’s. There was a concentrated effort to pound it inside, and that led to 13 free throw attempts. Not surprisingly, John Collins and Dinos Mitoglou had 11 points a piece in the first half and the Deacs held a 45-27 lead at the break.
Wake Forest came out strong out of the break and extended the lead to 25 at 61-36 after a series of steals and leak out dunks. Danny Manning was frustrated just moments later after Charlotte cut the lead to 17 at 65-48 and called a timeout to put John Collins back in the game. The super sophomore responded and finished with 22 points on just 11 field goal attempts, along with 15 rebounds, and 3 blocks. There was a sequence with 8:23 mark where the officials somehow called four technical fouls on one play, including one each on Bryant Crawford and John Collins. It was an atrocious decision by the officials, and there’s no reason why either Wake player deserved a technical in that instance.
Wake Forest was up 85-61 with 2:40 remaining, but Danny Manning subbed in a lot of the freshmen and walk-ons, and Charlotte cut into the deficit to only lose by 17 points. In total, Wake Forest played 16 players. I was happy to see Keyshawn Woods drop 12 points against his former team.
It’s difficult to complain too much after a 17 point win, but I wasn’t thrilled with some of the substitution patterns in the second half. It seemed like we forced players like Trent Van Horn to get minutes in the middle of the game, when I would have preferred to give those minutes to either regular rotation players or to a freshman like Richard Washington. I think a few of the lineups we threw out contributed to Charlotte going on that mini run that they did. I will also say that we struggled at times to get back in transition and that will cost us moving forward if that doesn’t improve.
Wake finished the game with a 37-28 edge on the boards, and also had 14 turnovers compared to Charlotte’s 16. I will add that 3 of Wake’s turnovers came in the final 2 minutes when walk-ons were in. They also shot a very efficient 6-14 (42%) from beyond the arc.
I’ve mentioned John Collins’ performance, and he was clearly a dominant force in tonight’s contest. He’s one of the better players in the ACC, and he’s a future 1st round draft pick. Bryant Crawford was very solid tonight outside of his comical missed dunk in the second half. He went for a massive throw down, but took off about 3 inches too far out. Still, he finished with an efficient 15 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds, and just 1 turnover. Plus, both he and Collins has a +/- of +23. Mitoglou hardly played in the second half after Manning was upset with his shot selection to start the second half.
Charlotte will play Florida on Saturday, while Wake Forest will play at UNC Greensboro on Friday night. It’s expected to be a close contest, so Wake Forest will have to play with discipline in the true road game. What did you all think of Tuesday’s game?