Wake Forest went into Conway last night and knocked off Coastal Carolina 84-80 to secure its 6th straight victory for the first time since the 2009-10 season under Dino Gaudio.
Coastal Carolina is a solid team, and while a 4 point victory may not sound overly impressive, the Chanticleers almost beat South Carolina in Columbia last weekend. I would expect Coastal to contend with Georgia Southern for the Sun Belt title.
Rob wrote a brief recap last night based on statistics and listening to Stan Cotten, but I figured I would add some additional thoughts since I was able to make the game. I’ll do it in bullet point format so I can go stream-of-consciousness.
- The HTC Arena is pretty small and is likely the smallest arena that Wake has played in since it went to High Point a few years back. The arena seats 3,600, but I am guessing there were maybe 1,500 to 2,000 people in the game. The students were presumably away due to winter break, but it still got pretty loud late when the game was on the line.
- Wake had a fairly good contingent, with a good base behind the bench, as well as a smattering of fans throughout the arena. I’m bad at guessing numbers, but I would say there were 250-300 Wake fans at least, maybe more.
- Overall it was a pretty crazy game with some absurd back and forths. There was a Terrence Thompson 3, blocking a lay-up out of nowhere, Mitchell Wilbekin with an amazing hustle play to rebound and lay back in the Bryant Crawford missed layup (highly contested and arguably a foul), Crawford getting fouled on a deep three, and also Coastal hitting a three and getting fouled, followed by a ridiculous alley-oop from midcourt to cut the lead to 2 with under 30 second left. All of this occurred in the final 3-4 minutes.
- The defense continues to be suspect, but I thought the man-to-man on-ball defense was about as good as I have seen it all season from the guards. It could have been due to my perspective, which was about 10 rows up, but most of the lapses came late in the shot clock in the interior, including an especially frustrating blown coverage in the first half off of an in-bounds pass under the basket.
- Coastal took it at Doral Moore a lot more than I would ever think to do, and he made them pay, blocking 5 shots and altering numerous more attempts right around the basket. When Olivier Sarr was inserted in the game with Moore, which was a good bit, especially in the second half, it made it nearly impossible for Coastal to score at the rim.
- Speaking of Sarr, he had a career high 8 points and was inserted for defense late in the game. The staff clearly trusts him to make free throws over Moore. He also attempted a couple of open threes that rattled out.
- That being said, rebounding has to continue to get better as there is no excuse for allowing some of the rebounds that got back to Coastal on the offensive end with the height that we had out there. Moore stepped up at the end and finally had the aggressiveness needed to grab and secure the board.
- Overall I thought the guards played outstanding basketball for most of the game. Woods had the worst stat line, but had two big mid-range jump shots in the second half to keep the momentum going after the Deacs hot start. He also made all three free throws down the stretch to ice the game and win it.
Key calmly knocks down the game winning free throws. pic.twitter.com/8WKScLay6x— Riley Johnston (@BSD_RaJohnston) December 19, 2017
- The catalyst for Wake Forest was without a doubt Bryant Crawford and he was the primary reason that Wake Forest won the basketball game. He was active on both ends of the court for most of the game and was clearly heated at the referees throughout most of the game. I wouldn’t say the game was poorly officiated, but there was a lot of contact on Crawford up top that went uncalled. Fortunately for Wake it seems that Crawford is at his best when he gets a little fire going, and that turned into a great effort on both sides of the court that led to 22 points, 6 assists, and 4 steals.
Bryant Crawford's 36-game streak of scoring in double figures is the active high in the ACC and the longest by a Deac since Tim Duncan's 59-game streak his junior and senior years— Wake Basketball (@WakeMBB) December 19, 2017
- Brandon Childress made both of his threes and played very in control for most of the game. He is now shooting 47% from the three-point line and is a legitimate threat that ACC opponents will have to keep in mind when he is in the game. This is yet another addition to an already highly efficient offense that ranks 17th in KenPom.
- Doral Moore has made 37 out of his last 41 shots and has as many games without missing a shot (4) as he does missed shots in total over the past eight games (4). We actually went to him a good amount in the second half, but there were some lackadaisical passes, as well as some complacency by Moore to not go get the ball when it was thrown into him. He was great defensively and with putbacks on the offensive side of things.
- I think the team has finally settled into what its identity is and the players understand that. There are still a lot of question marks, particularly defensively, but the team has gotten a lot better since the first three games of the season. The Deacs really could use a win against Tennessee on Saturday to finish the non-conference portion of the schedule at 8-4.
I know the game was sparingly watched, so if you have any additional questions then hit me up on here and I’ll do my best to answer them!