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Bryant Crawford’s Deep Three Propels Wake Forest Over UNC Greensboro

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The sophomore hit a huge shot when it mattered most.

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

Bryant Crawford only made one three-pointer in Wake Forest’s 78-75 over UNC Greensboro, but he picked a great time to do it. Wake Forest was up by as many as 16 points in the second half, yet found themselves tied at 75 after Diante Baldwin hit a shot with just 28 seconds remaining. Bryant Crawford wasn’t Wake Forest’s first option on Danny Manning’s final play design, but the sophomore drained a cold-blooded shot from outside of NBA range to put the Deacs up 78-75 with just 2 seconds remaining. He stole the subsequent inbounds pass and Wake Forest held on to advance to 8-2 on the season.

FINAL STATS

The phrase “game of runs” gets overused a lot in this game, but I believe it applies to this game. The Deacs got out to a 16-7 lead early on in the contest, but went on a run of their own to briefly take a 28-27 lead over the Deacs. Wake responded with a 16-3 run to close out the half and took a 43-31 lead into the locker room.

Wake Forest came out with purpose immediately after halftime and extended the lead by 5 points in less than a minute. Wake maintained a strong lead for the first 6 minutes of the half, but then UNC Greensboro’s Marvin Smith and Malik Massey connected on back-to-back triples to cut the lead to single-digits. UNCG was just 2 for 11 from outside the arc in the first half, but they are a good shooting team and got hot in the second half. They shot 6-11 in the second, and that enabled them to cause Wake Forest’s lead to dwindle.

Wake’s lead also evaporated in the second half because they lost crispness and turned it over 11 times in the second half, despite just turning it over 4 times during the first 20 minutes. John Collins and Keyshawn Woods had 4 turnovers apiece, while no other player had more than 1 turnover. The teams had 31 rebounds apiece. While UNC Greensboro has size down low and is a good offensive rebounding team, Wake was caught ball watching at times and that allowed the Spartans to grab as many offensive rebounds.

Keyshawn Woods was huge for Wake Forest in the second half. He scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half, and made 3 of 4 three-point attempts. Those threes were critical, as they gave Wake additional cushion when UNC Greensboro was getting close. His scoring increase made up for John Collins’ relatively quiet second half on the offensive end. He finished the game with 17 points and 12 rebounds, but had just 6 points in the second half.

The final five minutes of this one were largely sloppy and uninspiring. UNCG’s R.J. White, who finished with 22 points, grabbed an offensive rebound and converted the layup with 4:59 remaining to make it 73-69 with Wake Forest still ahead. The teams combined for just 11 points for the remainder of the contest. UNCG cut the lead to 1 point with 3:25 left, after yet another offensive rebound and put back.

Keyshawn Woods was Wake’s hero as UNCG was making its run, but Bryant Crawford was the man in the waning moments. He made a great steal and difficult layup with just under 90 seconds remaining to put the Deacs up 3. R.J. White made a free throw to cut the lead to two, and then Wake Forest turned it over when Bryant Crawford drove and couldn’t convert on a pass to John Collins. Diante Baldwin came down and made a close shot with 28 seconds remaining to tie the game at 75.

Enter Bryant Crawford stage right.

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

The super sophomore is fearless and will not back down from any situation. He made huge shots down the stretch against Indiana and LSU last year, and tonight he was an assassin. 0-4 on three-pointers prior to the final play, but 1-1 when it mattered most.

Neat moment after the game.

Wake Forest will now have 8 days off before they travel to Cincinnati to take on Xavier next Saturday. The Deacs will have to improve defensively as Danny Manning mentioned in his post game press conference. They need to do a better job of contesting shooters, and also need to finish defensive possessions and grab defensive boards. What were your thoughts on the game?