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Three Up, Three Down: Wake Forest vs. NC State

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Another loss, and this time one that had me questioning our head coach more than I ever have before, but I'm not going to act like the game was all bad, because it wasn't.

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

Codi Freakin' Miller-McIntyre. Codi must have read my last article, and I am here to say, Codi, I apologize, unless of course my writing is what inspired you to do that in which case you're still a problem I guess, I dunno.  Codi Miller-McIntyre finished with 24 points (10-17 shooting, 3-6 from deep. 1-2 from the line), 4 assists, 2 rebounds, a block, and only two turnovers.  Bryant Crawford's production didn't suffer either, so apparently they both decided to make me look like an idiot, which if it leads to more one-two punches like this I'm beyond fine with.  Bryant finished with 16 points (6-13 shooting, 1-7 from deep, 3-4 from the line), 2 assists, a block, 2 steals, and only one turnover.  That shooting from deep is rather brutal, but the thing is that Bryant continued to effectively produce in spite of that, and we've seen Bryant go rather nuclear from range with relative frequency, so in general I'm fine with it.  Offensively, this was the best one-two punch by our two best guards all season.  Bless you guys.

Devin Thomas. Devin finished with 15 points (5-14 shooting, 5-9 from the line) and a ridiculous 21 rebounds.  He also had 3 assists, a block, and an admittedly brutal 4 turnovers (more on that later).  There are a couple negatives I could discuss about his performance, but it was just such a yeoman's effort that I don't really want to do that right now.  Unbelievable work from DT.

Doral Moore: The Monstar. Doral Moore had perhaps the most impact filled 9 minutes I've ever seen, finishing with 8 points (3-5 shooting, 2-4 from the line), 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks, one of which was the most absurd block I've seen in a while.  It was less a block, and more some kind of amazing block-steal hybrid, wherein he took a block and almost inhaled it, taking it into his own possession.  All of Doral's field goals were brutally posterizing dunks that almost made me hoot and holler watching the game on TV.  Seriously, it was utter domination and it was incredible.

The Downs

SUBSTITUTION PATTERNS.  WHAT. I am capitalizing this and using questionable punctuation because it was seriously that bad.  Doral Moore only had 9 minutes even after Konstantinos Mitoglou had already fouled out.  Dinos, whom I like, had 14 minutes but comparatively almost no impact on this particular game.  I honestly think the minute distribution had a big impact on us losing the game.  Just terrible.  No two ways about it on this particular day.

Turnovers. Granted, the majority of Wake Forest's 11 turnovers happened early, but NC State had 17 points off of said turnovers.  Turnovers kept State in the game early, and State ended up with 17 points off of Wake Forest miscues.  Brutal.

Interior Defense (For Stretches). 11 offensive rebounds for State which led to 20 points.  7 free throw attempts for Abdul-Malik Abu.  The thing is that during some other stretches the interior defense was good, arguably even great, as Abu was held to 4-10 shooting,  BeeJay Anya had an 0-2 from the field shooting effort.  Wake Forest had 7 team blocks and 5 team steals. many of which took place inside.  However, during other portions of the game, it was painful to watch.  I won't go into why at this juncture.

The Bottom Line

I chose this picture because I want to believe in a more joyous future.  Absolutely baffling substitution pattern doomed us on this day, but perhaps there is a method to Coach Manning's madness, and/or perhaps he will learn something for it.  Most notably, PLAY DORAL MOORE MORE, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.  A brutal loss, and my heart continues to break for our seniors, but there was brilliance from the freshmen, and for the time being, I still think there are more reasons to believe in Coach Manning and these players than there are to think that we're doomed in the long term.  My feelings may change in time, but for now, I'm as cool as I probably can be given the current losing streak and frustrating losses.

As always, on to the next.  Go Deacs.

--SF