No 2-point loss this game. Instead, we got to witness an 18 point blowout win that gave the Tigers their first win in Winston-Salem since 1990.
The Tigers opened the game with a 7-0 run, but the Deacons answered with a 9-2 run of their own. The two teams traded punches for the next ten minutes or so, with the Deacons getting their production at the line, and the Tigers getting their points from beyond the arc. The Deacs were up 26-19 with 6 minutes left in the 1st half, and I was starting to get the familiar feeling that this game would remain close throughout only to end up as a close loss for the Tigers. But this game didn't follow the familiar script. Instead, the Tigers went on a 40-15 run in a ten minute period of play that spanned the two halves. And after that, the game was pretty much over.
The key to our run today was some hot outside shooting. We finished the game 8-18 from beyond the arc, but we started off an insanely hot 7-12, and the misses the rest of the way came when the game had already been decided. We shot a very hot 58.2% from the field. This game reminded me a lot of the Iowa game from way back in November. In both games, we were able to vanquish an inferior opponent by some really really hot shooting.
I wouldn't read too much into this win. What I mean is, don't expect for this win to mean that this is a new and improved team. This is the same team it's been all year. Yes, we played better today, but Wake Forest is really bad, and we were simply on fire today.
It was weird to see such contrasting styles of play from the two teams in the 1st half. While we were jacking up 3s, Wake was content with driving the lane and picking up fouls. The refs called it tight today, and we picked up some ticky tack calls, but we certainly need to work on not fouling as much. Although a lot of today was certainly Wake's ability to feed the ball inside and drive to the hoop. The Deacons were a perfect 15-15 at the charity strip in the 1st half, while we were a mediocre 2-4. The Deacs finished the game with a 24-29 mark at the line, while we turned in another mediocre performance (6-12). Usually such a disparity means that the refs aren't calling it even, but the disparity today was due to the different offensive styles from the two teams.We succeeded today because we were hot and because Wake's perimeter defense was soft. We still have a lot of things that we need to work on if we want to try to win 6 or 7 games in the ACC.
Tanner was the key to our big run today. He made his first 8 shots from the field today, and for a while there I thought he was going to score a career-high. But he didn't even take a shot in the last 14 minutes of the game, and he finished with 20 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 2, steals, and just one turnover. Tanner was THE reason we were so hot from 3. He was the key part of the big scoring run we had that spanned the halves. After his first 3 needed a lucky bounce in order to fall, no way did I see his performance coming. But then he hit a couple of DEEP threes right in front of the Wake bench, and during that ten minute stretch in the middle of the game, he was unstoppable.
Devin's play really impressed me in the 1st half. He seemed to be playing with some real energy out there, as he picked up 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 8 points. But then the 2nd half came and he pretty much disappeared. I think that when we got the huge lead, he took his foot of the gas.
BB once again went with the B-Nice, Tanner, Andre, Devin, Milton starting 5 today. ggggmen08 has recently questioned the decision to start Narcisse, and I'd have to say I agree with the criticism. He's a good player, but he can't seem to stay out of foul trouble. He picked up his first foul before the TV timeout today. This is something that he's been having a lot of trouble with lately. In several games, he gets his first foul before even getting to the TV timeout, and in one game (don't remember which off the top of my head) he picked up 2 fouls before even making it to the sub-16. It doesn't matter how good you are (and many contend that B-Nice isn't that good in the first place), if you can't play without fouling, you probably shouldn't be starting.
After hearing in the preseason about how Devin Coleman was supposed to be such a great shooter, it was troubling to see him struggle so much with his shot this year. Props to him for finally breaking through today. He's been slowly getting more and more minutes recently, and his hard work finally payed off for him today. He hit his first 3-point shot of ACC play and went 4-5 from the field for a career high 9 points.
What happened to KJ? After that huge game against VT, he's been pretty quite. We saw flashes of his raw athleticism today, but only that-just flashes. I think the problem is probably his lack of a high-percentage jump shot. We were all wowed with his play in the wake of the VT game, but looking back on it, his offensive production was pretty much limited to dunks. He's really good at attacking the rim and elevating himself, and he's a great dunker, shot blocker, and rebounder, but he needs to work on his jump shot in order to improve his all around game.
Next up for the Tigers: a Valentine's date with the Cavs. That game will tip at 7 on Tuesday on ESPNU.