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Notre Dame Uses Strong Second Half to Defeat Wake Forest, 88-81

We’ve seen this story before.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons found themselves with a solid lead in the second half against a quality opponent, but yet again they found themselves on the losing end. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish overcame a 9-point second half deficit to defeat Wake Forest, 88-81. What were the key takeaways?


Wake Forest found themselves up 41-36 at halftime after Bryant Crawford drained a three from the top of the key as time expired. The Deacs further extended that lead to 45-36 after John Collins drained a pair of free throws and then made a layup. Notre Dame quickly responded, however, with a pair of threes in just 20 seconds time and caused Danny Manning to take a timeout.

The Deacs responded well out of the timeout, as Dinos Mitoglou put back a miss and then Keyshawn Woods drained a three to put Wake Forest up 50-42. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Notre Dame answered with a pair of quick threes. This time they were a little slower and took a whopping 30 seconds between made threes. Why’d those second pair of threes happen? Part of it was strong shooting by Notre Dame, but Doral Moore was so far away on the closeout. He was about as close to the shooter as Danny Manning was and Manning was on the opposite end of the floor. I understand that he isn’t used to defending bigs who float on the perimeter, but that’s just lack of focus.

Wake was able to battle for some time after that, and the teams were tied at 60 with 9:07 remaining, however Wake Forest was never able to regain the lead. Wake got in danger zone when Notre Dame went up 65-60, but Wake got fortunate that Bonzie Colson, who finished with 27 points and 16 rebounds, missed a layup and then Dinos Mitoglou converted an and one. V.J. Beachem made a “three” with 4:41 remaining to put Notre Dame up 6. This clearly wasn’t the reason that Wake Forest lost, but it was inexcusable that the officiating crew did not review this fall at the under-4 timeout. Austin Arians made a number of impressive shots to cut the lead to 2, so it absolutely could have mattered. I don’t care that it didn’t matter, that’s horrific officiating.

Notre Dame extended the lead for good with 2:09 remaining when Steve Vasturia drained a three. Keyshawn Woods was in poor defensive position, and wasn’t able to properly close out and contest the shot. Notre Dame started just 1-7 from beyond the arc, but finished the game 13/27 from deep. Wake Forest made 8/21, which is very solid, but Wake needed Notre Dame to miss threes in order to have a chance tonight. Credit to Notre Dame for making them, but Notre Dame had a number of open looks due to Wake getting beat off the dribble and having poor communication/execution on switches.

In a vacuum it’s difficult to get too upset tonight. Wake was expected to lose by about 6, and that’s almost exactly what happened. Wake Forest won the rebounding battle by 7, and only had 9 turnovers to Notre Dame’s 7, but they didn’t always play great team defense, and they missed a number of bunnies around the basket. You could certainly make the argument that they were fouled on a few of those, but they also needed to be stronger with the ball and convert.

I probably buried the lede a bit by not mentioning John Collins already. He was a monster and finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds, and also did a nice job of staying out of foul trouble. Bryant Crawford made 50% of his threes and finished with 19 points, while Keyshawn Woods scored 16. Offensive execution was clearly not the reason that Wake lost. This was a poor matchup for Wake, as Arians and Mitoglou just do not have the lateral quickness to consistently defend triple threat players.

Wake Forest, who is now 14-10, including 5-7 in ACC play, will return home on Saturday to take on North Carolina State. It’s a must-win if Wake Forest is going to keep its NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Wake Forest beat the Wolfpack by 5 points in Raleigh, and is expected to be around a 10 point favorite in this contest.

Wake Forest vs. Notre Dame Recap

Posted by Blogger So Dear on 7hb Februari 2017