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Three Up, Three Down: Boston College Round 2

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National Signing Day has come and gone, and we still have basketball left to discuss. It was an up and down outing, and perhaps closer than it should’ve been, but the Deacs ultimately topped the Eagles for their second road conference win of the season.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Boston College Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Ups

John Collins Will Eat Your Lunch. The dominant big man put up another insane performance. 26 points (9-14 shooting, 8-10 from the line), 16 rebounds, and 3 nasty blocks. There is no question whatsoever that John Collins imposed his will on BC, and what’s even better is the fact that he finished the game with only one foul. This honestly may have been John’s best performance of the season, and that says a mouthful.

Offensive Ball Movement. 22 assists on 27 made baskets is more than good. That kind of ball movement is beyond reproach. Honestly, if our defense kept up with our offense even moderately well, this team would be ranked and a lock to make the NCAA tournament. It has been an extremely long time since a Wake Forest team could score this well. Really great stuff.

Composure Under Pressure. Wake went up by 10 points in the first half, only to go down by 8 in the second. It would’ve been easy and all too predictable for the team to give up and fold on the road, but they didn’t. They played defense just when they needed to and continued to execute offensively to hold off the Boston College surge.

The Downs

Almost Got The Kennard Treatment Again. Jordan Chatman and Ky Bowman absolutely torched us, going a combined 8-11 from three point range. If we could guard on the perimeter more effectively, I can all but guarantee you we’d have beaten Duke and this game would have been an absolute blowout. It’s all the more telling when you consider the fact that both of Boston College’s big men fouled out, so it wasn’t even like they were owning the paint (mostly).. It was just flat-out sub-par defense..

Second Chances. 9 offensive rebounds leading to 12 second chance points for Boston College. With Wake Forest having the size and athleticism they do compared to BC, that was extremely frustrating to watch. There was no reason that that should happen. Box out, guys. They held it down, but not as tightly as they could have.

Complacency. Honestly, when we went up double digits, if we had kept up our level of play, we could have almost coasted to victory. What led to the ensuing Boston College run was a mixture of shaky defense, bad offensive decision making, and a lack of killer instinct. They found that instinct in ultimately getting the win, but that’s something I hope will eventually always be there.

The Bottom Line

It was definitely scary, but we took Boston College’s best shot in their house, in a conference game, and came out the victors. Two road conference wins, an outside shot at an NCAA bid, and a pretty solid claim to an NIT berth are all solid benchmarks in year three of the Manning Era, and if we can keep this momentum going and best Georgia Tech on Saturday, honestly, I’ll be pleased as punch. If we can hold on to John Collins just one more year, this team could be truly nasty next year but we’ll see what happens.

On to the next. Go Deacs.

--SF