What a frustrating conclusion to an exciting night at the Joel.
It really boiled down to Maryland's best players playing better than Wake's best players. Gist finished with the following career highs: 31 points, 3 3's, 10 FT's. He also grabbed 11 boards and was a monstrous presence on the defensive end. Osby was the difference in College Park. Tonight, it was Gist. He looked like an NBA player this evening.
Vasquez was also sensational. I've heard a lot of different things about Greivis and can't imagine that Gary has an easy time coaching him. But Gary has won a bunch of games with temperamental point guards(Francis, Gilchrist, etc.). Greivis used his 6'6'' frame and deceptive quickness to dominate any defender Wake threw at him, scoring on Teague, Harv, LD, and Ish throughout the game. Like Gist, Vasquez was 9-15 from the floor, and he scored 7 straight points after the Deacs tied it at 49 which put the Turtles back in the driver's seat. I'm not sure that Greivis is an NBA player, but he's the kind of guy that could drop 35 out of nowhere for the Venezuelan national team in the Olympics.
Dino sounded exasperated postgame when he remarked, "We missed so many really good shots." The Deacs were 21-50 on 2-pointers, and I bet a shot chart would indicate that Wake was about 8-30 on five footers. There was also a number of examples when a chance at a 3 point play was erased because the point-blank shot wouldn't fall. Just one of those nights for Wake.
Jeff Teague played his worst game of 2008. Take that with a grain of salt, because he has been phenomenal for the most part over the course of the season, a combination of Randolph and Taron. Tonight he never found a rhythm, didn't score in the first half, and finished with 6 points(2-11 FG), 1 assist, and 2 turnovers. It wasn't that he didn't come to play; he just had an off night.
In addition, the Deacs still wasted an inordinate number of possessions, an excruciating trait of this team that eventually will be its downfall. The defense has been improved, the day-to-day effort has been top-notch(peaks and valleys like all teams, but overall, Dino has had this team ready to play hard.) More than anything, the offensive possessions that end with Ish dribbling 25-30 feet from the hoop with 8 seconds on the shot clock destroy this team. They gave away 4-5 possessions tonight, ending in turnovers or forced 3's. You can look at countless factors as being decisive in a four point game, but more than anything else, those empty trips exemplify the inconsistency of this team.
At 6-7 in the league with two of the remaining 3 on the road, it would take a Herculean effort to avoid the NIT(barring a great run in the ACC tourney, which I definitely think this team is capable of, but that's a discussion for another time.) Georgia Tech has continued to play very hard, as evidenced by their gutty second half in Winston-Salem back on February 6th. The team is busing down to Atlanta tomorrow morning at 8:30AM, and the next 36 hours are going to be a mental grind more than anything else. Will Ish, Jeff, and James be able to play smart, while tired, for 40 minutes against Morrow and company? I'm not sure. After that, a trip to Blacksburg on Tuesday night, to face a hungry Hokie club who has TONS to play for, and that doesn't even include the revenge factor from the ACC opener that A.D. Vassallo gift-wrapped for the Deacs in the final 90 seconds, a game VT should have won. I would not be at all surprised if Wake falls to 6-9 over the next 5 days. It'll be a major testament to Dino and the gang if they can steal one against the Techs.
Last point: Think about the big picture. This was an incredibly frustrating night, but isn't this what we expected back in October. Personally, I thought the ceiling for this team was 9, maybe 10 wins. And that was only if EVERYTHING went great. The injury to LD, the late game mistakes at Clemson, not boxing out McCauley in Raleigh, those are the tiny differences that make this a 6-7 win team vs. an 8-9-10 win team. Yes, there's still time, and you know this team will not give up. But considering everything we've gone through, the program is moving in the right direction.
As one media colleague pointed out to me after the game: "It could be worse. We could be NC State."
Very true. Very true.
What a frustrating conclusion to an exciting night at the Joel.
LD: Last play was designed for Harvey to shoot a 3. He's our best 3 point shooter and we definitely wanted him to take the shot.
We emphasized taking the ball to the hole rather than launching 3's. We missed a lot of close shots.
I don't like playing at GTech or VTech, but it's a challenge and we have to fight through a quick turnaround.
Chas: It's my fault. I need to stop picking up ticky-tack fouls. It's hurting the team.
James: We work on boxing out all the time, but we just didn't do it well tonight. They just wanted it more. We wanted to be the team that worked harder, but they got it done.
We gotta get over it and play the next game. We have to win the next 3. I think we can get it done if we work hard. I'm confident in that. We've got Ishmael Smith and Jeff Teague. They're great players. We just gotta keep working hard.
Vasquez and Gist are talented, amazing players. They were great tonight.
Postgame analysis still to come...
I want to congratulate Maryland. They played really hard and fought for a tough win.
We didn't box out, make our free throws, or finish at the rim. Poor defense in stretches really hurt. the kids scrapped to fight back from a 9 point deficit in the second half, but it was almost too little, too late.
I thought we didn't come out with the same bounce as we've had in the past, and that's my fault. Maryland played with more energy. We missed a bunch of point blank shots that we usually make.
Chas had some really unintelligent fouls that hurt the team. He's played 44 out of a possible 80 minutes the last two games. Needs to be smarter.
Not boxing out was a huge difference maker. When Greivis was backing down, we knew he was going to shoot. A couple times, they got second chances off of those shots in the post, and that can't happen.
A huge challenge ahead, as Wake is one of just 3 ACC teams this year with a 1 day turnaround. We play Thursday at 8, travel to Atlanta tomorrow, practice, and play Saturday at 2pm. A very touch test but gotta fight through it.
16 teams have been 9-7 in the ACC. 14 of those have gone to the NCAA tourney. We're hoping we can make it 15 of 17.
Comments from LD, Chas, and James to come...
Maryland did the little things, Wake did not, and the Deacs enter a dire situation with a very quick turnaround coming on Saturday, a 2PM game in Atlanta.
Much more to come postgame. I will attend the press conference and post a lengthy reaction in a little bit.
Firstly, computer has been giving me issues, limiting the ability to post. One of the quirks of the undergraduate IBM thinkpad and wireless here at the Joel...
Maryland shot 58%, Wake 42%. And Gist was a man-child at both ends of the court. Officially 18 points, 4 boards, and 1 block, although he had at least 3 or 4 big rejections.
Jeff Teague scoreless in the first half. He needs double figures in these next 20 minutes or the Deacs season is over.... speaking figuratively of course.
Deacs switching has left undesirable matchups at times. Teague on Gist, Weaver on Vazquez. It'll be interesting to see if Wake changes things up defensively a bit in the second half.
Look for desperation from both teams in the second half. We might look back on this game as the win that pushed a tourney resume over the top, or the loss that sent them to the Not Invited Tournament.
11:53 remaining, first half, 18-16 Maryland-
Big momentum shift when Johnson was the recipient of a thunderous rejection on a dunk attempt at when end, and Gist powered down an alley-oop for the Terps at the other.
Deacs fell down 18-10, but have rallied 6 straight behind their defense. Very tough finish at the hoop by CamStan, scoring his first points since Jan 22 at Clemson.
15:46 remaining, 1st half, 11-10 Maryland-
Deacs DOMINATED the first 90 seconds of the game, but missed their first 4 free throws and trailed 3-2 after a 3 point play by James Gist got Maryland on the board.
Early on, Wake has switched on screens up top, much like they did against Duke. Unlike the Duke game, though, they were quick to double down on the Maryland big men, particulary Osby.
Wake is the much quicker team and is looking to penetrate and dish. This game will be decided by Wake's ability to finish at the hoop and hit the open shots. The game is in their control.
Johnson was subbed out early due to a defensive mistake, but is now back on the floor for WF.
Pregame- First thought I have: 30 minutes before the Duke game tip, the student section was jam packed. Minutes before the tip tonight, a bunch of empty seats. It's a shame, and it will never change.
Other than that, pretty solid crowd. Lower bowl is fairly packed.
Can't guarantee thoughts will come every media timeout, but I'll try.
No surprises in Wake's starting lineup:
Teague, Johnson, Chas, Ish, and LD...
Greetings and welcome to the Joel for tonight's game between Wake Forest and Maryland.
This should be a very different game to what we saw back in mid-January, as both teams have grown up a great deal in the past 45 days. Think about how much Jeff Teague has progressed week-by-week... it's fair to say the Teague-Vasquez matchup could be different this time around.
Both the Deacs and the Terps have had their share of ups and downs. Either can play with the best in the nation(wins over Duke and UNC). They also can look bad against weak competition(Georgia and Ohio).
After the UNC game, many Wake players talked about how they NEED to win the last 4 to guarantee themselves an NCAA bid. With Miami and Virginia Tech's re-emergence into the postseason discussion, this has become a late-season reality. Wake is a half-decent final 10 minutes against GT away from having one of the longest home winning streaks in the country, and utilizing the home-court advantage tonight is essential if the Deacs have serious aspirations over the next couple weeks.
Couple keys to the game:
First and foremost, get a body on Bambale Osby. I really believe this game is gonna come down to McFarland and Skeen keeping Osby off the glass. He absolutely abused the Deacs in this area in College Park. Good news is that his hair his corn-rowed, so there's no intimidating afro to contend with.
Secondly, Wake cannot waste possessions. This mostly boils down to Ish. If Ish finds himself dribbling 30 feet from the basket with 8 seconds on the shot clock multiple times tonight, the Deacs are in trouble.
Referees for tonight's showdown are Jamie Luckie, Bryan Kersey, and Ray Natili. Tip scheduled for just after 8PM.
Thanks to Zach for giving me a chance to share some thoughts. Hope you check back throughout the ballgame.
Coach Gaudio just sent an email to the Screamin' Demons saying:
We've had two very good days of practice for our game tonight with Maryland. As we left the floor last night, I told our guys, " . . the next 40 minutes are the most important 40 minutes of the season." We need to play very, very hard and play very smart. If we do that, winning will take care of itself.
The Joel was "electric" for Duke. What an incredible environment. Let's duplicate that tonight. Our 6th man has to be great tonight - the Screamin' Demons!
Great message, and I hope the team latches on.
On a more humorous note, it looks like Dino continues to follow in Skip's footsteps, using quotation marks where they are entirely unnecessary.
It's a big one tonight ladies and gentlemen. Sunday's loss at Carolina was unfortunate but not entirely unexpected. Tonight the focus turns to closing the season out strong. The NCAA Tournament is still in reach but at a minimum the Deacs need to finish the regular season 3-1, with 4-0 making things much more comfortable. Either way, a strong showing in the ACC Tournament would do a lot to improve or solidify Wake's position in the eyes of the selection committee.
Unfortuantely, due to previous commitments, I will not be in attendance tonight. But have no fear: Old Gold & Blog will still provide the same coverage tonight as it always does for home games. In fact, it may very well be better.
Wake Forest graduate and ACC Select broadcaster Evan Lepler will be sharing his thoughts and commentary throughout the game and providing his recap and analysis afterwards. Big thanks go to Evan for agreeing to help out.
Check back tonight at 8:00 for all the action live from the Joel. It should be a good one.
Final - Wake loses 18-8. Not pretty. In the last two games the team has given up 40 runs. That would indicate that this team has some pretty significant pitching issues to address. At this rate, the Diamond Deacs are going nowhere, fast.
Through top half of the 5th - The Mountaineers have poured it on in the 4th and 5th innings, scoring 4 and 3 runs respectively. Wake finds a way to get a couple guys on each inning but can't string together the hits to bring them in.
I've had to leave Hooks for class (the late start and long first inning means I didn't get to see as much as I'd hoped), but I don't think I'll be missing much. The Deacs just don't seem to have it today, plus it's miserably cold. If they pull out a big comeback, I'll eat my words.
Now in the bottom of the 5th Wake trails 13-3.
Through 3 Innings - Wake responded in the 1st with 2 hits and 3 runs of their own to make it a 6-3 game. The next two innings have gone on without too much action - no runs scored, but another 4 hits for App and and 1 for Wake. Still 6-3 for now.
Top 1st - Ugly Ugly start to this one at Hooks Stadium. I was hoping to see the Deacs come out and play well to start, but starting pitcher Matt Hammond went all the way through the Mountaineer's order retiring only 1 batter, giving up 5 runs, and leaving the bases loaded.
Joel Ernst came in to relieve Hammond and the Deacs gave up one more run to end the top half of the inning 6-0. Only 3 hits were given up in the first, but the two errors (which included a throwing error from Dustin Hood at Shortstop where he just under-threw the ball to first, and then a shallow fly to right field got lost in the sun) were costly. 4 earned runs and 2 unearned. Ugly start.
Also interesting to note today is that Allan Dykstra is playing third base today instead of 1st. Evan Ocheltree is playing first. So far I haven't heard an explanation.
I'm out at Hooks Stadium today for the Diamond Deacs home opening baseball game against App State. It's cold (38 degrees) and pretty windy, so it could be a rough one. App State comes in 2-2 and Wake is currently 1-2 after the weekend Series at Pepperdine.
Let me know in the comments section what kind of updates you'd like for these games. I feel like gametracker probably does a pretty good job with play-by-play, so I think my goal will be to provide color every now and then. Let me know and I'll see what I can do.
I'm going to have to leave at 4:30 so I probably won't see the whole game but I'll cover as much of it as possible. Here's to hoping the Deacs open the season in style.
Thanks to the UNC game Sunday night I haven't gotten around to mentioning the weekend baseball series against Pepperdine.
The team was scheduled to play four games - 1 on Friday, 2 Saturday, and 1 Sunday. When Friday's game was rained out they rescheduled to play double headers both Saturday and Sunday, but were only able to get one in on Sunday. It turned out only being a 3-game weekend, and it didn't go as well as had been hoped. The Diamond Deacs opened the season 1-2.
I only saw a few innings all weekend long on Pepperdine's webcast, so I can't say much from my own perspective, but I know Wake was hoping to win the series this weekend and was definitely hoping to do better than the 22-3 loss they suffered in the Sunday game. Saturday's games included a 3-2 loss and a 13-9 win.
In the season-opening 3-2 loss Ben Hunter threw 5 solid innings giving up 3 runs in the fourth, but the bats could only produce 2 runs in support. 1st baseman Allan Dysktra was 3-3 in the game with a run scored, and SS Dustin hood had the Deacs only RBI and other hit.
Garrett Bullock started game 2 but struggled in 3.1 innings of work giving up 8 runs (4 earned - 2 errors didn't help). Phil Negus pitched well in relief and picked up the Win. Ben Terry, Steven Brooks, Allan Dysktra, Willy Fox, Weldon Woodall, and Ian Tomkins all had multi-hit games. Brooks and Tomkins each hit home runs.
One quick note on Pepperdine's uniforms - I'm not sure what they (or perhaps UnderArmour) were thinking, but those random blue streaks across their thighs are one of the ugliest things I've ever seen on a baseball uniform.
Tomorrow afternoon is the season home opener. 2:30 on Hooks Field against App State. I'll be out there for most of the game, but I have a 4:30 class and am likely to miss the end of it. Hopefully today's rain doesn't cause problems for tomorrow (although the bigger concern may be the cold temperatures). It would be nice to open the home season with a win.
There wasn't anything pretty about Wake Forest's 73-89 loss at North Carolina last night. Wake was out-shot in every category, out-rebounded, and pretty much out-everythinged. For most of the second half Wake didn't even look like they had a chance.
Coming off of last weekend's upset of Duke and riding a three game winning streak (including one on the road) it seemed like Wake would be in a good place to provide Carolina a challenge and possibly come up with an upset. Although Wake hung around in the first half, even holding a lead with 13 minutes left, a late first half run and a total domination of the second half led to an easy UNC victory.
One of the biggest problems was the foul trouble of Chas McFarland. The Deacs were finding ways to stick around in the first half, and Chas was a large part of that. He was finding his way to the basket and making some good defensive plays. Then with 4:30 left in the 1st he was called for his second and third fouls in only 30 seconds. Without Chas in the lineup UNC jumped out to a 9 point halftime lead. When he was whistled for his fourth foul less than a minute into the 2nd half he left the game for the next 12 minutes and Carolina continued to dominate.
Wake's 48% shooting from the field and 35% from beyond the arc weren't all that bad (although Carolina's 56% and 50% were obviously better), but several other statistical categories stand out as being big problems for the Deacs.
For the game Wake was 8-17 from the freethrow line. There isn't any valid excuse for that. If nothing else an ACC basketball team should be able to make more than half of their freethrows in every single game. Add 9, or even just 5 points to Wake's score last night and you've got a much more respectable line.
The Deacs were also dominated on the glass. Wake only had 24 rebounds to UNC's 38. I realize that with Chas out for a large part of the game things are more difficult, and James Johnson did an alright job in that department with 8, but the rest of the team really needs to step up.
Jamie Skeen played well and single-handedly sparked the team to a little rally in the first half when he scored 8 quick points, including two big 3's.
I felt like James Johnson had a quiet nigh and was surprised to see he scored 22 points to go along with 8 rebounds. I love that he's putting up those kind of numbers, but I what I really want is something more intangible. I want to see him control and even dominate a game, which I didn't see tonight.
Jeff Teague also provided 18 points and had a decent game.
The rest of the team was incredibly quiet. Ish, LD, Clark, Hale, and Weaver all had minimal/insignificant contributions on a night when everyone needed to step up to get a victory.
The positive from this loss is that no one ever expected it to be a win. I know that doesn't sound very good, but my point is that this loss shouldn't cause any significant harm, unless the team allows it to beat them mentally and is affected by it Thursday night. Wake is still in pretty good shape. Finishing 3-4 would put the Deacs over .500 for the regular season and with a win or two in the ACC tournament an NCAA bid still sounds pretty likely. That requires the Deacs to win both remaining home games and one on the road. It sounds doable, and I'm confident it will be done.
This one should be put to rest. Wake wasn't supposed to win and will be fine with the loss. Regroup and focus on Maryland.
Final - That's all she wrote, folks. It certainly wasn't pretty and Wake definitely didn't deserve to win. I guess that's how it goes sometimes, particularly on the road at Carolina. We'll talk about this one a bit over the next 24 hours, but the most important thing right now is focusing on Thursday's game against Maryland. At this point that one is much more important than this loss.
Final Score - Wake 73 UNC 89
3:59 - This one is comfortably out of hand. There isn't much left to say at this point. Carolina has beat up on Wake for the entire half and that's pretty much all there is to it. I know some will want to blame the refs but the refs did not create this 20 point lead, Carolina did.
I'd still like to see the lead close a little bit so that the game doesn't look quite as terrible, but this one is in the books.
Wake 65 UNC 84
7:58 - This one's falling apart, and the appears to be very little left that can revive it. Is there a way to take away a couple of Chas's fouls? No? Dangit. I guess we're screwed then.
At this point I'd just love to see Wake close down the lead a little bit and make it more respectable.
Wake trails 61-76.
11:23 - Things haven't gotten enough better. Wake is making some good plays and scoring some points, but defensively doesn't seem to have any idea how to slow down Carolina. Not having Chas in the middle is a big part of that.
I don't have a lot of confidence at this point. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I'm not expecting anything huge to happen here.
Wake 57 UNC 69 with Johnson going to the line (but I would have rather him just scored than drawing a foul)
2nd Half - 15:57 - It's pretty simple at this point: Wake isn't shooting well while Carolina is. Chas has gotten his 4th foul and is out for awhile. Without some defensive stops and an offensive run this one won't last much longer.
It's frustrating to see Wake struggling like this, but I'm not ready to give up yet. If Wake can work and keep it in single digits they'll continue to have a chance of making something happen.
Wake 49 UNC 61
Halftime - A somewhat frustrating finish to the half with Carolina going on an 8-0 run and jumping out to a 10 point lead and then hitting a 3 on what was clearly a travel to finish up nine at 41-40.
Wake isn't out of the game and didn't played a terrible half. What was frustrating was the way they let things slip away towards the end. Wake never let the lead get past about 5 and stay there until the last couple minutes of the half.
Jamie Skeen played a solid half and Chas played very well except for his foul trouble. No one else was particularly impressive, and everyone's freethrow struggles were quite annoying. Someone else will need to step up big in the 2nd half (I'm thinking primarily about one or more of the freshman) for Wake to jump back in this one.
It isn't time to write this one off, but Wake's got to find some sort of answer in the second half. For now they trail 41-50.
3:56 - Fouls and foul shots are definitely Wake's downfalls at the moment. Chas was doing pretty well with only 1 foul before picking up 2 quick dumb fouls. The lose ball rebounding foul was just a stupid decision by Chas. The 3rd foul may not have been a great call, but Chas is going to get called for those because of his reputation.
The other key stat is that Wake is only 1-5 from the FT line. Make those shots and this game is tied right now. Still, I love the resiliency of this team to respond to every run by Carolina with a run of their own, even if they haven't been able to grab a lead. Currently trailing 35-39.
7:49 - That stretch included a rough patch, but on the strength of Jamie Skeen Wake's climbed right back in and is only 2 points back of Carolina, 28-30. Also somewhat amazing is that Tyler Hansborough just got called for an offensive foul. Certainly there will be calls throughout the game that seem somewhat questionable, but for now I think the game is being called pretty fairly.
I love how there always seems to be someone who steps up for this team when it's really needed. I don't think anyone expected Jamie Skeen to step up the way he has so far, but at the same time Jeff Teague has been somewhat quite. The production always seems to come from somewhere.
Wake just needs to keep slugging it out. Sticking around in this game gives Wake a pretty good chance.
11:51 - The last 4 minutes were played a frenetic pace, but the scoring slowed down. I think it's good for Wake to be running, but for stretches there everything seemed out of control. Out of Control and running are not the same thing. Forced shots aren't good.
Teague's 3-pointer from at least 30 feet away was ridiculous. It was one of those shots where you're going to be really mad at the guy for shooting it, unless he makes it. Thankfully he did.
Wake also did a much better job avoiding fouls during that stretch, and Ish is headed to the line to shoot two with Wake trailing 21-18.
15:51 - I think Wake fans can take a deep breath now. It hasn't been a perfect start, but it's clear that Wake isn't going to roll over for Carolina in this one. I think the most obvious concern so far is the fouling. LD has 2 and a bunch of others have 1, so Wake will have to be careful with those.
Offense has been pretty solid. Chas has done well underneath and the Deacs have even hit a few big shots. They didn't show a replay, but in my opinion James didn't deserve the charge that was called on him.
About 4 minutes in UNC leads 14-12.
Tipoff - Looked like we were about to miss the start on TV with the NC State/Virginia game, but we've just made it in time for the tip and I'm plenty excited. This is another big one, so let's get it done.
First, I apologize for basically disappearing this weekend. Things got a bit busy and although I could have talked some baseball and basketball, it didn't quite work out that way.
For what it's worth (and if you didn't already know), in yesterday's baseball doubleheader Wake lost the first game to Pepperdine 3-2 and won the second game 13-9.
As far as tonight's basketball game, I'm pretty excited. Disappointed that I wasn't able to work it out to be there, but excited for the game. I think the line for the game is a bit high, with Carolina being favored by 15.5 points. The word is that Lawson won't play, so I believe Carolina is definitely still vulnerable.
I'll be back with more as we get closer to game time. Hopefully Wake fans have an enjoyable evening.
I think it's safe to say that the majority of Wake Forest fans are jealous of the baseball team right now. While most of us are dealing with cold and wet weather conditions the team is in Malibu, California getting ready for a four game series with Pepperdine. The weather there isn't quite as nice as I expected, but it's still in the upper 50's with minimal precipitation. I definitely wouldn't mind trading places.
All signs point to the Deacs having a great 2008 campaign. All nine starting position players return from last year's squad as well as the top six starting pitchers. With that kind of experience it's hard to imagine they won't build on last year's success, however Wake does need to fill a void in the closer role.
I could take this opportunity to go through and discuss the players individually, but Wake already did that quite effectively on their website and I don't have a whole lot to add to what they've said. That rundown (and in fact that entire season preview) is available here.
Perhaps the best remaining news is that all four of this weekend's games can be seen live on Pepperdine's website. It does require you to create a login, but it's completely free and if you want to see the action this weekend it's a great option.
As much as it pained me to do it, I was definitely rooting for a Duke comeback against Miami last night (and they nearly made it happen).
Although it probably doesn't make that much of a difference, I would have loved to see Duke win out and have had their only ACC loss come against Wake. The only good thing is that Miami's upset doesn't seem to be nearly as a big a deal now that Duke wasn't undefeated in ACC play. At least Wake still has that in its favor.
Still, Wake's RPI dropped a handful of spots with Duke losing again, and Miami manages to keep climbing ahead. Beating Carolina would of course work wonders this weekend (probably an even bigger jump than the 20 spots we got for beating Duke since it will be on the road) but I don't think Wake should be counting on that as it's ticket to the Tournament. It's becoming more and more crucial for Wake to win out at home and I think a second (and I hopefully even a third) road win would really put things over the top. Getting to 20 wins would be huge.
I'll take a closer look at Carolina tomorrow (and hopefully we'll start getting more information about whether or not Lawson will play). At the very least it should be a fun game. I really can't see the Deacs being blown out. It will be a single digit victory for someone.
In the aftermath of Wake's 86-73 win over Duke it's been fun to hear Wake mentioned in just about every bubble watch for the NCAA Tournament as well as almost any other conversation about college basketball.
Last night I had the opportunity to talk about Sunday's victory and about Wake's Tournament chances on ACC Nation. You can listen to the show here. The guys at ACC nation have also been talking about Dino's chance at coach of the year, which you can read here.
The basketball editor for Rivals.com did a feature on Jeff Teague following the win, which you can read here. It is very complimentary of Teague, who they named national freshman of the week, and I love Teague's emphasis on defense.
Wake also gets some credit in this article about the difficult position Duke ended up in by being behind against Wake.
Finally, Al-Farouq Aminu was named to the East McDonald's All American team, so that should be fun to watch as well. Congrats to him! The full roster can be seen here. I know we were hoping Ty Walker would be chosen as well, but unfortunately he's been snubbed (arguably unfairly). I'm not going to worry about it, though, because he'll be playing for Wake next year and that's all that matters.
Isn't it amazing what a big upset will do for a team like this and the publicity it gets? Let's hope they can keep it up next week when they try to make it happen back-to-back.
...And we still beat Duke.
I know you all knew that, but it still feels pretty good to be able to say it.
Wake is 6-5 with one of the best quality wins it could have. Given that, I have to believe that a total of 10 ACC wins should put the Deacs in the Tournament. That would include 1 or 2 wins in the ACC Tournament, so with 2 or 3 more regular season wins things would look pretty good.
Certainly I have no idea what the selection committee is actually thinking at this point, but that estimate feels pretty good to me.
How sweet it is. On one of the most enjoyable nights
Jeff Teague got the Deacs started with their first eight points. Thanks to the fast start the crowd was loud and rowdy, and the energy rarely subsided throughout the game. Wake held the lead until the 9:13 mark of the first half and the game was back and forth for the rest of the first half until Wake went on a run to finish the first half leading by five.
At halftime James Johnson had 15 points and 9 boards and Teague had provided 13 points of his own.
Not surprisingly, Duke was not going to go away. They grabbed the lead with about 15 minutes left and didn’t look like they were going to go away. Wake kept playing hard and never quit putting the ball in the basket, and with 8:20 remaining the Deacs took the lead for good.
I’m so happy right now my thoughts about the game are entirely jumbled. All I can think about is that we won. That we’re 6-5 in the ACC and just beat the #2 team in the nation. That two freshman almost single-handedly beat Duke. That Wake is now in sole possession of 5th place in the ACC with a 2 game lead on the 6th place team.
If ever there was a big win, this is it, and words just can’t describe the excitement that I’m sure all Wake fans are experiencing right now. It will probably take some time for this win to set in for everyone, but this is definitely the biggest win Wake has had in several years.
Wake beat Duke in every aspect of the game. They shot better, rebounded better, had fewer turnovers and fewer fouls. I don’t think anyone would have believed Wake would so thoroughly dominate Duke. The team had a game plan and they stuck to it for 40 minutes. Even when things got a little rocky they never game in. The guys kept playing hard and the crowd’s energy kept things going.
Wake now controls their own destiny, and I look forward to seeing where they can go from here. Momentum is currently on their side, but next weekend’s game at
I’m trying something new out here – I’m trying to make some of the post game press conference audio available. It may or may not work, but I’m going to try. Hopefully you can listen to it, and if not we’ll try to get it soon. For now I’m going to go enjoy the victory, and I’ll be back tomorrow with some more thorough analysis of this incredible victory.
Dino's Post Game Press Conference
Krzyzewski Post Game Press Conference
Final - WAKE DEFEATS DUKE 86-73.
0:57 - Duke misses, Wake boards, Paulus fouls out, LD at the line shooting 2, makes 2, Wake leads 84-72. Students are pouring out into the aisles ready to storm the floor.
1:14 - Duke misses a three, Johnson rebounds and is fouled, Makes both freethrows, Wake leads 82-72.
1:31 - A 4th Duke players fouls out, this time Henderson. Johnson on the lines. Shoots 2, makes 1, Wake leads 80-72.
1:36 - Charge on Singler, his 5th, he fouls out as well. Wake ball.
1:44 - Lance Thomas fouls Teague and fouls out. Krzyzewski is working one of the refs, not sure what about. Teague shoots 2, makes 1, Wake leads 79-72.
1:46 - It only took Duke 8 seconds to grab a layup of their own, cutting the lead back to 6, 78-72. Duke calls timeout after the basket.
1:54 - After a Duke backcourt violation (and Teague almost throwing a punch) Skeen gets fouled and goes to the line. The refs are at the TV monitors checking on something, but we haven't been informed what it is. Nothing seems to have changd, so I guess nothing was wrong. Skeen makes 2-2 and Wake leads 78-70.
2:15 - Duke ball, 76-70 Wake leads.
3:12 - Teague going to the line for 2, Nelson just fouled out. Wake leads 73-66. Dino and Krzyzewski just had some sort of conversation with the ref. Can't tell what it was about but I might be able to find out after the game.
3:45 - Final media timeout, Skeen going to the line to shoot 2 after a big 3 pointer by Paulus to cut Wake's lead to 6. These freethrows will be big, Skeen really needs to be clutch and hit both. Another stop or 2 on defense would we wonderful as well. Currently, the Wake lead is 6, 72-66.
4:38 - seconds after checking in Chas fouls out. Duke on the line. Does Wake know how to finish a big game?
4:58 - WOW. Teague just made an incredibly athletic lead, and with the freethrow Wake leads by 10, 72-62.
5:41 - Wake cannot buy a bucket with the lead. Thankfully, Duke can't seem to make anything right now either. Momentum is on Wake's side, but even right around the basket they're struggling to finish. Both teams' shooting is atrocious this half; Wake's at 29% and Duke's at 32%.
Duke ball, Wake leads 67-62.
7:43 - Things have gotten ugly, but the momentum seems to be in Wake's favor right now. Duke can't make a shot and they've been called for 3 fouls in the last 30 seconds. If either Ish or James could make a freethrow Wake would be in excellent shape. As things are, Wake holds a 1 point lead, the ball, and the double bonus for the remainder of the half. If the Deacs score with the lead for once the game could really turn in Wake's favor. Right now, Wake leads 63-62.
10:07 - A 6-0 Wake run forces Duke to call a quick timeout. Very smart, considering how the crowd is getting back into this. Wake needs to keep scoring though, because they have shown little ability to prevent Duke from scoring in the long run. For now, Wake leads 61-60.
11:46 - Duke has also found themselves in some foul trouble, with Nelson having three and Lance Thomas getting his fourth. Nolan Smith has been big for Duke, just hitting a three to give them a three point lead. Wake isn't going away, but they also don't seem to be showing any signs of being able to get and maintain a lead. A boost of energy and a run is what they really need. Duke leads 58-55.
14:05 - Wake is looking flustered right now. They don't seem to know what they're doing on the offensive end and they've already committed 5 fouls defensively. Thankfully Duke is still struggling a bit from the line, and they now lead the Deacs 55-52.
15:01 - The crowd is very unhappy with the intentional foul call and is letting the refs know. I don't blame them at all. Chas shouldn't have done what he did considering he already had 3 fouls because he's probably out for the next 8+ minutes, but it still wasn't intentional. Duke has used that momentum to tie the game at 52. Wake needs to come up with some sort of offensive answer, but since LD's three there really hasn't been anything. I think it'll be Teague or maybe Clark of the bench who will step up and grab some more momentum.
Game tied at 52.
16:03 - That is the worst intentional foul call I've ever seen. Chas went up hard but he went up to block the ball. I don't know how the refs can make that call. Unbelievable. Duke misses one of the freethrows, Wake leads 52-48.
16:36 - Incredibly Alley-Oop from Ish to LD with the one-handed windmill. Really gets the crowd going. LD hits a three and looks to be the energy spark this half like Teague was in the 1st. Wake leads 52-44.
2nd Half - 19:16 - Wake starts the half with the ball but Johnson misses a shot. Duke misses and Johnson can't handle the great feed from Ish on the other end. Those are the turnovers Wake's got to cut out this half. No score yet in the half, Wake leads 47-42.
Halftime - Huge tip-in by Jamie Skeen at the buzzer. Duke got lazy on the glass and Skeen slid in for a beautiful tip. Wake takes a 5 point lead into the half here at the Joel against Duke, 47-42. It wasn't exactly perfect, but any time you have a lead over Duke at the half you really can't complain.
Wake has had production from everyone. Teague started out very very hot and has cooled off some, but his early production set the tone for the game and has made a huge impact on this game. Chas has a pretty good half and it could have been even better if he hadn't gotten himself in foul trouble on the double-technical early in the half. Gary Clark turned in another solid half of role-playing basketball with 4 points.
The defense has played well enough. Duke is going to score points, but the defense has kept them from getting too many easy ones.
My 2 big concerns are turnovers and DeMarcus Nelson. Wake has turned the ball over 10 times, which is just way too many against Duke. The Devils have helped Wake out by turning it over a bunch as well, but those need to be cut down in the 2nd half. DeMarcus Nelson is now 3-3 from beyond the arc and has been pretty open on every single one of them. The defense needs to make sure to get out on him and prevent the easy opportunities.
Wake leads 47-42 at halftime. Wake has shot 53% and Duke is at 55%. Wake is 67% from beyond the arc, Duke is 63%. 11 Wake turnovers to 13 for Duke. Key stat: Wake freethrows are 9-13, Duke's are 5-13. That's the entire lead right there.
0:23 - Teague only makes 1-2 at the line but a Johnson rebound and Wake timeout means Wake should have the last shot of the half and as much as a 6 point lead, but no worse than 3 if no shot is made. Good place to be, leading 45-42.
1:14 - Timeout Duke. Wake goes on a little run there, with Johnson making his freethrows and a nice move in the post. My biggest concern right now is the way DeMarcus Nelson is lighting Wake up for 3. He's either 3-3 or 4-4 from out there right now, which just isn't acceptable. Wake's not really getting a hand is face. Still, Deacs lead 44-40.
3:12 - Both Gary Clark and James Johnson have done some good things here and the defense has continued to be solid, even producing a 3-second violation on Duke. Wake takes a 35-34 lead into this media timeout with Johnson going to the line for what I believe will be a 1-1 after the timeout. The crowd is back into it and excited. The play hasn't been flawless, but it's been pretty solid all around and the defense has clearly been frustrating Duke, to the point of upsetting Jon Scheyer enough that the students were chanting "Scheyer's crying...clap clap clap."
Wake isn't going away and is playing as hard as I've seen all year. Great first half so far. Once again, Wake leads 35-34.
Stats: Wake shooting 52%, Duke at 52%, Both teams in double bonus and 10 turnovers for each. It is very very even right now.
5:46 - Chas just had to check out for blood, but it doesn't look bad. 26-27 Duke leads.
7:57 - Things have gotten noticeably sloppier for both teams with several turnovers and fouls each. The starting lineup for Wake checked back in and has been able to avoid fouls, but hasn't been able to score points. Duke has started hitting some of their shots and are capitalizing on some of Wake's mistakes. It was unlikely that Wake would lead this game from wire to wire, but it's still not fun to see Duke leading 27-24. If Wake avoids stupid mistakes and makes a couple more shots then they should be right back in good shape.
Wake shooting 53%, Duke at 55%. Even at 7 turnovers, 8 fouls for Wake to 5 for Duke.
11:44 - Teague called for traveling, turns the ball back over to Duke. Neither team is shooting freethrows well; I think whichever team ends up doing that better will have a big advantage tonight. Early foul trouble is also problematic (although something Wake's done a lot of recently) with Ish and Chas both having two. Still, Wake leads 20-14 and is playing good tough defense. It's been a fun 8 minutes.
Stats so far: Wake shooting 58%, Duke at 43%. 5 Wake turnovers and 6 fouls to 6 turnovers and 4 fouls for Duke.
12:35 - Dino just ripped into Skeen for not boxing out, and well deserved I might add. Duke cannot make freethrows at all, which is an advantage I love having. Wake leads 19-14.
13:26 - I don't think there can be much complaining about the start. Jeff Teague has been hot with 11 early points (including 3-3 from beyond the arc) and defensively Wake's done what needs to be done. The crowd is really into things and this is the loudest I can remember the Joel being. Duke doesn't seem flustered but they also aren't playing great. This is exactly the kind of start Wake needed to have. Chas and Zoubek just got double technical fouls. We can't have Chas in foul trouble, we need him tonight. Wake leads 18-12.
Tipoff - Duke wins tip...no surprise.
Dino's wearing a purple shirt/tie combo tonight. I Wish he would have gone with something a bit more Wake-ish for this one. Great atmosphere for the player intros, it's the loudest I've heard it all year.
The clock says we're about 7 minutes from tipoff, although I'm sure it will be a little longer than that. The Joel is looking pretty full tonight, and as expected the students have turned out in full force. There are still some holes to be filled in with the rest of the crowd, but it will definitely be full and loud tonight.
There is more blue in the stands than I would like to see, but I guess that's what happens when you're playing Duke. Duke just came out for their final warm-up and received a pretty good booing from the crowd. I'm sure they'll erupt here in a minute when Wake comes out.
Stick with Old Gold & Blog throughout the game for full thoughts from the Joel. Lets go get a win!
Tomorrow (Sunday) night at 7:30 Wake will take on the Duke Blue Devils in the Joel Coliseum. The game will be shown on FSN, but I hope to see as many of you as possible at the game.
I feel like this is a game we don't need to say that much about. Duke is obviously very very good, and if they play their best and Wake plays their best I doubt anyone would try to claim Wake would win. They bring a lot of talent and can shoot against anyone. They also play pretty good defense.
We could talk about how the refs are likely to be on Duke's side and how they'll get all the calls so that it will seem like Wake never even has a chance. These things may be true, but every team Duke plays has to deal with it and Wake will have to play through the refs to win this game. As tempting as it could end up being to blame the officials after this game, we all know, and the players all know, it will be an issue, so I'd prefer everyone to forget about that excuse right now. It's an asset Duke will have, just like their good shooting.
I could try to break down the game and talk in depth about what to expect and what Wake will have to do, but that seems like a pretty futile effort. Obviously Wake needs to play flawless basketball and have the emotional support of the home crowd to win this one. What might be more fun to talk about are things such as:
How many students will be at the Women's game Sunday afternoon so they can be on "the list" for the basketball game? For that matter, how many will be camping out tonight? My guess is that the first number will be pretty large and the second won't be insignificant.
How many Scheyer-faces will be seen/photographed during the game?
How many Duke fans will be sitting in the lower bowl? How many Wake fans whose seats are in the upper deck will complain?
How many more articles like this one will be written about how emotional it is to play Wake without having Skip Prosser on the bench?
I'm guessing there are more questions along these lines that could be asked, so leave them in the comments section. I will of course be blogging from the game so if you can't make it I'd love to have you join me here on Old Gold & Blog. Hopefully we'll have something fun to talk about afterwards.
Brian Knorr, most recently an assistant coach at the Air Force Acadmey, officially joined the Wake Forest football coaching staff today as an assistant with a to-be-determined job. Jim Grobe had this to say about Knorr:
"We're delighted to have Brian Knorr and his family join us at Wake Forest, He has great experience as a coach and as a recruiter. His background should make for a very smooth transition."
Although this hire has been expected for several weeks now, it's good to have the announcement officially made and have the coaching staff once again fully intact. I don't know much about Knorr, but I'll include the bio from Wake's press release below:
Knorr, a 1986 graduate of the Air Force Academy with a degree in management, was a three-year letterman at quarterback for the Falcons. AFA won 30 games during his three varsity years, marking the most successful three-year run in school history.Welcome to the family, Coach Knorr!
Following graduation, Knorr served in the Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio, where earned his master’s in business administration from the University of Dayton in 1991. He returned to the Academy as a captain in 1992 where he served as the assistant offensive line coach, junior varsity head coach and administrative assistant to the head coach.
Knorr left the Academy in 1995 to become the inside linebacker coach at Ohio University for Grobe where he led Ohio’s resurgence on the defensive front. While at Ohio, the Bobcat defense was ranked in the top five in the Mid-American Conference in scoring, rushing and total defense each year. The 2000 Ohio defense was one of only five in the nation to hold opponents to less than 30 points in every contest. Knorr tutored five different players that earned first team all-conference honors. In 1999, Knorr was elevated to defensive coordinator.
In 2000, Knorr became the first AFA graduate to become a head football coach at the Division I level when he was named to succeed Grobe as head coach at Ohio. During Knorr’s tenure as head coach, he coordinated the special teams to include a punt team that led the NCAA in punting in 2001. Ohio’s punter, Dave Zastudil, earned All-America honors and went on to play with the Cleveland Browns. Knorr also coached seven players who would eventually play in the National Football League. The Bobcats were 11-35 during Knorr’s four seasons as head coach including a 4-7 mark with a win at Kentucky in 2004.
After four seasons at Ohio, Knorr returned to the Air Force Academy where he coached under Fisher DeBerry in 2005-06 and Troy Calhoun in 2007.
Affectionately known as “Sunny” when he was at the Academy because of his great personality, Knorr was born on Dec. 20, 1963 and is a native of Shawnee Mission, Kan. He and his wife Julie, native of Fort Wayne, Ind., have a daughter Katie and twins Reagan and Brett.
As I said earlier today, I'll be neglecting the blog tonight during the game to enjoy it with my girlfriend for Valentines Day.
That being said, you are all welcome to post your thoughts on the game and I'll write post game thoughts most likely sometime tomorrow morning.
Enjoy the game, Go Deacs!
Since it's Valentines Day I decided it would be appropriate to depart slightly from the usual order of things and talk about something a little bit different.
Let me tell you a story. I, like many guys, tend to procrastinate on things that I really ought to get done. Take, for example, making reservations for dinner on Valentines Day. I thought it was a good idea to wait until Tuesday of this week to do that. What happens when you wait so long is that the only reservations available, if any at all, are at 9:00 pm.
Since I had been such an idiot I decided I had to bite the bullet and take the 9:00 reservation. It was my fault for waiting so long and the fact that there was a basketball game at 9:00 was just too bad. Missing it was going to be my punishment for being an idiot.
This is the point where my girlfriend proved she is the most amazing girl in the world. When I informed her of our reservation she said, "You know what? I don't want to do that. I have a better idea. We're going to go get something quick and easy, go get some ice cream, and then come back and watch the Wake basketball game."
Seriously. Those were her exact words. She picked watching Wake Forest basketball with me over going to a nice dinner and missing the game. I couldn't wish for anything more.
Needless to say, I won't be blogging live tonight. I definitely need to pay more attention to my girlfriend than to my computer. Chances are it won't be the fastest I ever get up my post-game report either, but I hope you'll forgive me given the circumstances. Let's beat Florida State.
I love you sweetheart, happy Valentines Day!
There hasn't been much of anything going on in Wake Sports since Saturday's basketball victory, and when that gets combined with two exams and a paper things here at Old Gold & Blog slow down. Hopefully I haven't let anyone down too much.
I don't think I'll be previewing the FSU game until tomorrow morning, but I've got a couple of other quick things to touch on for now.
Those of you who are students or still live in and around Winston may have heard about this, so I suppose this is for the rest of you. Yesterday the school announced plans for a $25 development on Deacon Boulevard next to the Joel and BB&T. Apparently they're looking to develop a village-like layout and atmosphere, and will feature new restaurants, shops and entertainment venues.
Since there is very little actual detail available right now I'm going to guess that I will never see this in my time at Wake, but nonetheless it's an interesting idea and it sounds like something that could really add some life to an otherwise dreary area. The athletic venues are nice, but almost everything else over there isn't.
The school's full press release is available here.
Secondly, I asked the school about Soccer recruiting stuff over the weekend and was told that Soccer doesn't have a big signing day deal like football does, so letters of intent tend to trickle in over a much longer period of time. It sounds like we won't here too much about them until that process is completed, but it also looks like I'll be able to talk with coach Vidovich sometime in the near future and ask him about these guys.
As of right now, here is the best list I can compile:
- Dan Wenzel - Federal Way, WA - U-17
- Sean Haglund - Raleigh, NC - CASL
- Chris Estridge - Indianapolis, IN - Carmel United
- Luke Norman - Rochester, MI - Vardar
- Nick Millington - Raleigh, NC - CASL U-17
- Doug Ryan - Statesville, NC CSC
- Kyle Adams - GA - Georgia Lightning
- Jesse Sokolow - McClean, VA - McClean FC
That's about all I got for today. Happy Valentines Day Eve...or something like that.
If you're looking for one easy way to get the Wake Forest basketball team excited, ask them about their shoes.
Although I'm a regular reader of Paul Lukas's Uni Watch Blog, basketball shoes are not a uniform element I tend to follow closely. Nonetheless, I couldn't help but notice on Saturday when everyone on the team was wearing a pair of shoes I had never seen before.
When Ishmael Smith and Harvey Hale walked into the interview room after the game they both happened to be holding the shoes so I asked about them. Immediately their eyes lit up and they began showing us all the cool things about the shoes.They are the new Jordan CP3's, a 2008 model from the Jordan line created for former Wake standout Chris Paul. They feature the new CP logo on the tounge as well as Paul's signature on the sole.
Although those things are pretty cool in and of themselves, two other aspects of the shoe stand out above the rest, and they're both subtle memorials to other people.
The first is the "Sixty1" down the back of the shoe, which is a memorial to Paul's grandfather who died at 61 as well as a reference to the game several day's after his grandfather's death in which Paul scored his 61st point and took himself out of the game when the state scoring record was well within reach.
Finally, here's the element that will get Wake fans excited. On the underside of the tongue, right above the sizing tag, are the scripted initials, "SP." Although the team already wears the "coach" ribbon on the front of the jersey, I love this subtle memorial to Skip Prosser on the shoe as well. Very classy.
Chris Paul deserves credit for his original memorial for Skip, as well as for providing the shoes to the team. Well done, Chris.
Although official announcements were not expected to be made until later this week, on Saturday the school announced that former Syracuse defensive coordinator Steve Russ will be joining the Wake Forest football staff for 2008.
According to Sporting News he will take over the responsibilities of tight ends/fullbacks coach, although the school has not officially made that announcement so for now I will consider that only a rumor, even if it's a pretty good one.
The other coaching hire is expected to be Brian Knorr, current Assistant Head Coach/Co-Def. Coord/ILBs at Air Force. He coached with Grobe at Ohio and replaced him as head coach there when Grobe left.
The exciting thing about these two guys is that they are both coaches with plenty of experience taking significant demotions to join the Wake Forest football coaching staff. In the past that type thing never happened. It's great to see that other coaches are willing to take other jobs in order to be a part of Grobe's staff here at Wake. I expect that with these new coaches in place there will be little disruption to the continuity of things.
There should be an official announcement of Knorr and possibly even a press conference later this week. I expect there to be more information then.
It wasn’t quite as easy as the score indicates. With 4 minutes remaining Cavalier star Sean Singletary made a layup to cut the lead to three at 67-64. After an Ish layup Dino called a quick timeout.
Coming out of that timeout Wake ran a zone defense and all of a sudden Singletary couldn’t make his way to the basket quite so easily.
Even though the Deacs haven’t practiced a zone defense much all season long Dino decided it was necessary. The gamble, as it were, paid off.
I know Dino has taken some criticism as of late for some of his in-game decisions, but I doubt anyone will have any such complaints today. He did a good job calling timeouts when UVA went on runs and made the strategic adjustments necessary to fix problems (the switch to zone being the most notable example).
Ish continued to lead the team as fans have come to expect this season, always having an answer when
For the second straight home game the refs seemed to be making some pretty terrible calls against Wake. The guys found a way to play through it, but you don’t expect to struggle with the refs in your own building. The crowd was also pretty strong today, providing plenty of noise and some pretty clever (if not always entirely appropriate) signs. There wasn't quite as much noise in the second half, but the game was moving so slowly that it seemed to take the energy out of both players and fans.
Couple of quick notes on the game: Chas McFarland played limited minutes today (only about 20) because he had been sick yesterday. He didn’t go to class and was too sick to really practice, but he felt well enough today to go ahead and play. He contributed nicely with 9 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 blocks. I’m definitely proud of his effort.
James Johnson bounced back after a couple of sub-par performances and had a pretty nice game. He was clearly working harder on the boards than the last couple games (he had 8), but also score 21 points and managed 3 blocks. I hope that type of performance is what we see regularly out of him the rest of the way through the ACC schedule.
Gary Clark saw significant playing time for the second straight game and once again had a decent performance. Not quite as solid as Wednesday’s game, but he still provided valuable minutes in the absence of LD Williams. “It feels good to be able to help the team out, do whatever we can do to when and bring some intensity,” said Clark.
Now it’s time for the Deacs to take this show back on the road. They play at
Final - The Deacs allowed a little run, but thankfully didn't let things get out of hand. If they'd made some freethrows this game would never have been in question. The fact that Wake's going to win by double digits is kind of surprising, but it will look a lot better on the schedule. Hopefully this will build some momentum.
Wake wins, 80-64. I'll have a full game analysis up in the next hour.
2:05 - Pettinella just tried to get out of shooting freethrows, and I can see why. These are the ugliest things I've ever seen. Wow. We should have been fouling him all afternoon long. 72-64 Wake leads.
4:10- Ugliest & Longest half of basketball ever. At this point I'm ready for this just to be over with a win. Please? 67-62 Wake.
5:33 - Leave it to Ish to make something happen. The ref's are having an embarrassingly bad game. Great 2-handed slam by James Johnson off of Weaver' offensive rebound. Wake leads 65-58.
7:18 - It isn't getting much better. Thankfully Naz-T's dancing, and Nessler and Dykes seem to be enjoying it. 60-56 Wake.
8:55- Ugly Ugly Ugly. Letting UVA right back in with some ugly play all around. Lead is only 57-51, and thankfully Dino calls a timeout.
9:48 - Letting them hang around with some poorer shooting. A run to make this lead 15 or so would be nice. As it stands, Wake leads 56-47.
11:55 - Good spurt there to get back to an 11 point lead. This is where I'm hoping to see the team do what they haven't been able to do in several games, or really all season, and that's close.
Not going to 4 corners would be nice, too.
12:35 - 6th team foul, this one Chas's third, will put UVA in the bonus the rest of the way. Not a good idea. Some good shooting has expanded the lead a little bit, but Wake shows no sign of running away with it.
Harvey Hale's contact just fell out...oops. 51-43 Deacs.
15:57 - And...after UVA is very dumb and tries to run the baseline on a spot inbounds play Gary Clark promptly turns the ball back over. Nice.
Come on, guys.
16:17 - Very sloppy play so far and I'm not a fan. Wake seems to be making some really dumb decisions on offense. Shooting selection has been poor and there have been some pretty lazy passes. Wake also just ran that terrible inbound play where they just throw it way up top without really doing anything of substance to try to get a good look right away. Quite annoying.
UVA's gotten right back into this and hopefully the intensity will pick up after this timeout. For everyone who was complaining about Dino not calling them last game you can't fault him this time. I like the timeout a lot.
Wake still leads 41-36.
2nd Half: 17:25 - Another slow start for Wake while UVA has scored a few quick ones. The guys seem to be lacking a little bit of the intensity they had in the first half, but I expect to come back with the lead narrowing. Wake leads 40-32.
Halftime Football Ceremony - The team was just honored for their great football season. First a highlight video was shown and now the team is being honored for all of their accomplishments. The crowd roared when the PA said they had swept tobacco road for the 2nd straight year. Nice ceremony and a great reception from the crowd.
Halftime - Solid half from Wake, who leads 36-27. It certainly wasn't perfect, and UVA is obviously pretty bad, but the overall performance isn't one to complain about. The defense looked much better than it has the last couple games, and other than a couple of exceptions the guys did a much better job boxing out. The shooting still left plenty to be desired, but generally speaking I don't think there's too much to complain about, particularly considering the score.
Johnson has played a considerably better game than the last couple and Clark continues to see significant PT. Harvey has shot alright, 1-3 from 3-point range, and the team is a halfway decent 5-12. Since Virginia is only shooting 30% Wake's in pretty good shape. As long as they keep up the effort in the second half then we should finish the day with a comfortable victory.
As long as the Deacs avoid another collapse in the final 10 minutes there won't be much to worry about.
0:48 - Little burst from UVA. Wake's defense appeared to slack a little and give up some offensive rebounds while Clark picked up his 2nd foul. The fact that he's been in there long enough to have 2 fouls is somewhat impressive. Wake leads 36-27.
2:44 - Gary Clark just made what was probably the most impressive drive to the basket by someone not named Ishmael or James. I had no idea he could take the ball to the hole like that, and he probably got fouled, too. Thanks to some better shooting, taking the ball to the hole, and playing very stingy D Wake leads 33-21.
4:23 - When Chas isn't in the game we don't seem to have much of anything inside. Heck, Weaver just hit a 3 and he's the one supposedly playing center. Clark missed an open look for three, but he looks more comfortable out there today than he did Wednesday. Wake leads 28-21.
6:33 - Singletary has made a couple of pretty impressive plays, most notably the layup he made a minute ago between what looked like three or four Wake players. UVA's hit a few shots and closed the gap, but Wake has continued to score. Chas has been doing a good job getting himself good shots in the post. Wake's lead is 6, 25-19.
10:40 - Another 4 points from Wake and UVA calls a timeout. James looks to be having a better game already, with 3 rebounds and 7 points at this point. Only 1 turnover so far is also a great number. Wake leads 18-9.
11:54 - Other than a nice 2-handed dunk by Weaver the last couple minutes haven't been too eventful. I'm surprised Virginia isn't putting more pressure on Wake's inbounding plays under the basket considering the recent problems, but they've been content to clog the middle and allow an easy bounce pass to a post man at the 3-point line on the baseline. Less turnovers is always a good thing, so I won't complain.
Wake leads 14-9.
13:46 - Lots and lots of fouls on the Deacs (5 to be exact), and I don't agree with all of them. Gary Clark has already checked in and has 2 points on a fast break layup, a missed 3-pointer, and a foul. Wake leads 12-9.
15:35 - Those shooting problems turned around in a hurry, with 3's by Hale and Johnson. Not a bad start, and so far Singletary has been well guarded. Wake just needs to watch out for the dumb fouls, having already committed 3. Wake leads 8-4.
17:13 - I think there may have been a renewed emphasis on defense this week. Looks like a little half-court trap to start things off and some good tight D, although two quick fouls hurt. The shooting looks poor already, though. Still 0-0.
Tipoff: Great crowd in the Joel today, I think it will be a fun game and great for the football recruits who are here this weekend. In fact, they're sitting almost directly behind me, so I'll try to keep an eye on how they're enjoying themselves.
Believe it or not, Wake won the tip.
About 10 minutes until tipoff. Today is a game that Wake absolutely needs to win. Virginia has been struggling and a loss today would probably put Wake into an irreparable tailspin. If Wake can go grab a double digit win it could be a huge boost heading on the road later this week. Time to get it done!
My first thoughts are that this schedule works out very well for the Deacs. Although the bye weeks are both early in the season they still come at pretty important times before a couple of the toughest games.
Obviously there will be some rough stretches in this schedule, but I don't think the schedule could ever be expected to work out absolutely perfectly. This one is pretty good.
Starting at Baylor will allow Wake some early road experience before the tough one at FSU, against a team that has the potential to win a few games this season. I'd much rather get experience against a D-1 team, and even a BCS conference team in this case, than against most of the 1-AA opponents people play.
Coming home for Ole Miss the next week should be an equally good experience. Another sub-par BCS conference opponent, but this time for the home opener and a very exciting day for Wake fans. I imagine the crowd will be great for this one based on the excitement for a new season and the opening of Deacon Tower. Should be a fun one and it should put us at 2-0.
Wake then has a bye week before going to Tallahassee to play Florida State. Although FSU is never an easy opponent and can be particularly tough at home, this game will be the last week of their suspensions and hopefully FSU will still be struggling to get their feet under them. Wake's had FSU's number recently and I expect that streak to continue on September 20 as the Deacs to go 3-0 and 1-0 in conference.
Last season Wake took care of business up in Annapolis, and this season the Midshipmen come to us without coach Paul Johnson. Navy is always talented and disciplined, but they should be no match for the Deacs at home.
Although having the 2nd bye week after the Navy game is a bit frustrating since there won't be any more rest, having it before the biggest game of the season (which is on a Thursday night) is definitely advantageous. The FSU game last season proved how great an environment Wake provides on a Thursday night, and I expect the atmosphere to carry Wake against Clemson on October 9th. Clemson will also be coming off of a bye week and will have already played a few tough games against Alabama, NC State, and Maryland so they will definitely be ready. It should be a great night, and quite possibly the defining game of the season.
October will prove to be a pretty big month for Wake, with back to back road games after the Thursday night home game. First Wake will travel to Maryland, a team that always causes problems. It's never easy to win at Maryland, and they will be coming off of a bye so they'll definitely be prepared.
Wake then plays at Miami, a team coming off of a rough season and hoping to bounce back. At this point in the season Miami may very well have proved to be a contender again and in that case this game worries me more than any other. If Miami starts the season poorly then they may be ready to throw in the towel at this point, but if not Wake will have its hands full with this one.
Wake will start November at home with Duke. By November I expect Duke to be almost ready to give up and hope this game will be over almost before it starts. It would be nice to have the opportunity to rest the starters a bit going into the home stretch.
The next week Wake will be home for Virginia. I don't expect Virginia to have a great team in 2008, but they always manage to play Wake close and I won't be taking this one for granted. Virginia will be coming off of a home game with Miami, and if they grab a big win in that one they'll have some momentum heading down to Winston-Salem.
I don't expect NC State being a particularly tough opponent in 2008, but a road game at Carter-Finley requires work to get a win. The Pack will be well rested after a game at Duke the week before, but they may also be looking forward to UNC the next week. I fully anticipate a win, but it won't come easily.
Wake finishes off the ACC schedule at home for Boston College. I don't know what to make of BC in 2008. They definitely graduated lots of talent and I don't expect them to be one of the most powerful teams in the conference, but I think they could prove to be a bit of a wild card and I don't want to chalk this one up as an easy win just yet. If Wake is still undefeated in conference heading into this game then I don't expect them to let it slip away against BC, but if the Deacs sit at 6-1 or 5-2 and are fighting to make it to Tampa then this might turn into a pretty interesting game.
Finally Wake finishes with Vandy at home on Thanksgiving weekend. The supposed rivalry game or whatever people want to call it (not that I'm opposed to the rivalry, I just don't see it developing). Hopefully we'll already be making plans for Tampa, but another win never hurt anybody. Hopefully it will be a win to close out an undefeated season at BB&T.
The great thing about February is that right now Tampa sounds likely for the ACC championship game followed by a trip to Miami for either the Orange Bowl or National Championship Game. Amazingly, that might not be so far fetched this season.
Is it August yet?
It took long enough, but the 2008 football schedules have been released on the ACC website.
I'll have another post up this afternoon with analysis of our schedule as well an any other interesting tidbits from the other ACC schools that I notice.
Here is Wake's:
|Aug. 30||at Baylor|
|Sept. 20||at Florida State|
|Oct. 9||Clemson (Thu.)|
|Oct. 18||at Maryland|
|Oct. 25||at Miami|
|Nov. 15||at NC State|
|Nov. 22||Boston College|
This is should actually be pretty simple. Some of you may have noticed that last night Clemson beat Virginia by 30 at Virginia. Simple transitive property would say that Wake should win by over 20 tomorrow.
Somehow I don't think it will be quite that easy. Obviously UVA is not happy about that loss and will come in Saturday with a chip on their shoulder. It wouldn't surprise me to see Sean Singletary score almost 30 .
Thankfully, after losing to Georgia Tech, the Deacs should have a bit of a chip as well. They didn't like losing at home and I don't expect them to let it happen again. I think both Jeff Teague and James Johnson will score 20+, and I can't imagine the team will turn the ball over more than 10 times.
Games in which both teams are coming off of a bad loss can be somewhat unpredictable, but Wake's had an extra day to prepare and is itching to get back out and start a new streak in the Joel. Wake wins, 76-68.
I'm very happy to report that Wake Forest received a late national Letter of Intent today from running back Chris Givens out of Wylie, TX. The 6'0" 200 lb Givens has been recovering from a torn ACL but has incredible speed, currently 4th fastest in the 100 meters in Texas.
It was originally anticipated that primarily due to his injuries (Givens had torn the other ACL two years ago) he would be given extra time to regain strength/quickness etc. and would gray shirt. This would mean he wouldn't enroll until next Spring and would technically be part of the 2009 recruiting class (which is what Looney and three other guys in this year's class are doing right now).
If I had to guess, Givens signed this LOI today because expected signee Ed Imeokapara ended up shunning the Deacs for Florida State leaving Wake with an open scholarship. It can also be assumed that this was the "other recruit" Grobe mentioned as a possibility yesterday. I wouldn't expect any more of these.
Although gray-shirting can definitely be a good thing, I like the idea of Chris coming in this summer and redshirting this coming fall. Maybe that's just because its fun to see the recruits get on campus sooner rather than later, but I still like it.
Welcome to the family, Chris.
We had all grown accustomed to seeing wins in the Joel, with Wake winning 16 in a row before last night. For the freshman this was the first time they lost a home game as Demon Deacons. After the game I had the chance to ask James Johnson and and Jeff Teague about the disappointment that comes with losing their first home game.
"It's tough. I'm not used to losing here. Getting beat on the road and then coming home and losing. I don't even have the words to say much," Said Teague.
"My first loss in the Joel is horrible, I don't like this feeling," Said Johnson. "It's been a long time, we've played a lot of games here in the Joel and losing this one was big for us. It hurts."
I hope losing this game serves as a wake-up call for these guys. I think they had come to rely on being able to get the wins at home and may have been a little too confident going in to last night game. Now that they know they aren't invincible at home I hope they show some more fire and urgency on their home floor.
It's got to start Saturday afternoon.
Poor shooting down the stretch? Sure. Terrible officiating? Absolutely. Did Georgia Tech deserve to win? I think they probably did.
The home winning streak ends at 16 games, as the Deacs fell to Georgia Tech 89-83. In the highest scoring ACC game Wake has played this season, there wasn’t quite enough firepower down the stretch to stay with the Yellow Jackets.
Without LD Williams Wake couldn’t find anyone to guard Anthony Morrow, who torched the Deacs for 23 points. Besides hitting his shots he drew plenty of fouls and went 8-8 from the line.
By shooting better than Wake and turning the ball over fewer times Georgia Tech did what they had to do to get this win. As frustrating as it was to see the Deacs play the way they did, I give a lot of credit to GT for coming in to a tough road environment (the crowd was great tonight) and getting the job done for the win.
Besides making plenty of bad calls, the refs seemed to lose control of the game in the first half when Matt Causey was called for an intentional foul on James Johnson and Jeff Teague was given a Technical for threatening Causey. Surprisingly (to me anyway) Dino took the blame, saying “That’s absolutely my fault. We should be more poised and have a little more discipline in those situations and that’s on me.”
All the fouling caused rotation problems in the second half. James Johnson eventually fouled out, Jeff Teague and Harvey Hale each ended with four, and Ish and Weaver each had three of their own. Making 23 of 29 free throw attempts put Georgia Tech in great shape.
“We couldn’t play as aggressive as we would have liked,” said Jeff Teague. “Having four fouls for a number of minutes is tough, but you have to go all-out no matter if you foul out.”
James Johnson, who had another disappointing game with several lazy mistakes like not boxing out and playing good defense, said “It’s tough to sit the bench, then have to worry about not being able to play as hard as you can because you might get another foul.”
Although Wake shot considerably better than they have recently (50% from the field, 44% beyond the arc), Dino Gaudio said “that’s a misleading stat when you see we had 20 turnovers.” Considering the team has averaged about nine turnovers in their ACC wins, those 20 turnovers (six from Ish, five from Teague) caused big problems.
The defense wasn’t much better. “I thought our defense was poor this evening. When we needed stops, we didn’t get them.”
Whether it will be a true break-out game, or if it was just because he was playing Georgia Tech, Harvey Hale had one of his best offensive nights of the season, scoring 18 points and shooting 40% from 3-point range. Hopefully these performances will continue.
It was also great to see Gary Clark see some significant minutes off the bench tonight. “He gave us a terrific lift of the bench in the first half, that’s why we had the lead we did,” said Dino. “He was a bright spot for us tonight.”
It’s tough to see the home winning streak end, and even tougher to see the Deacs drop two games below .500 in the ACC for the first time this season. At this point it becomes imperative to beat
“We’ve let three in a row slip away. We have the game and then let it go. It’s really disappointing.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one as well. I don’t think Dino had that bad of a game (although he did say he may lose a little sleep over not calling a couple of timeouts and other small things like that) but I think some might have had problems with him. Feel free to share your thoughts on that, the officiating, or anything else you noticed tonight.
Final - Wake loses, 83-89. Ugly last few minutes cost it
0:29 - Teague tried alley-oop Johnson under the basket and it was deflected for a turnover. Wake now has to foul and after the freethrows trails 88-83. Not good. Wake can't hit a shot and this one is just about over.
1:10 - 2 FTs for Teague, GT calls time out with Wake trailing 83-84.
1:21 - GT hits a three, foul on GT but they have one to give. Chas hits the ground after the play but nothing is called. Wake ball down 3, 84-81.
2:05 - By hitting the offensive glass the Deacs have come up with quite a few second chance points tonight, most importantly the 2 Weaver just got off of a Chas McFarland miss followed by a Harvey Hale miss to tie the game at 81. Most amazing right now is that Wake is shooting almost 60% this half and GT is shooting 57%. It has turned this into a very high scoring game.
4:29 - Big 3-pointer by Harvey, and the Deacs switch to what looks like a Triangle & Two defense, causing a turnover. Momentum looks to be shifting back, Wake leads 79-77
6:01 - Harvey Hale was just called for a charge, but it certainly didn't look like one to me. Media Timeout, Deacs still trail 74-75.
6:23 - Harvey Hale knows how to shoot when he plays Georgia Tech, that's for sure. The Deacs are trailing right now, but not by much. With Georgia Tech shooting almost 65% from the field in the 2nd half, they're making themselves difficult to keep up with, and Wake's foul trouble is not helping matters. GT's lead is only one, 75-74.
8:29 - Johnson just picked up another foul. Not good, and he's out.
9:42 - The ugliness only got worse, and except for a basket by Jamie Skeen Wake hasn't been able to come up with much of anything. The poor shooting has returned and the Deacs seem to be missing defensive assignments and giving up easy buckets. As a result, Wake trails 66-64.
11:25 - Impressive run by Georgia Tech to cut into the lead. Wake turned the ball over several times and GT was hitting their shots. It's been sloppy all night, but it has gotten a bit worse. Some of the dumb fouls and mental mistakes have returned. A 7-0 run has cut the lead all the way down to 62-61. Deacs take a timeout to regroup; something needs to change.
15:57 - Nice run for the Deacs, including 3-pointers from both Harvey Hale and Chas McFarland. Wake's doing a little bit better making smart plays and avoiding dumb fouls, although Weaver's charge wasn't great. Regardless, the Deacs have built a bit bigger lead, 55-44.
2nd Half: 18:00 - Quick 3rd foul on Jeff Teague could cause some problems, he'll be pretty worthless on defense for awhile. I wouldn't be opposed to putting Clark back in there for a few minutes to buy some time. Deacs lead 47-42.
Halftime - Other than a handful of very sloppy plays and some unnecessary fouls it was a pretty strong half for Wake. The scoring was very well distributed, with Teague being the only Deacon in double figures. Gary Clark has had about 8 minutes of playing time and has 8 points, which is nice to see. I"ll be interested to hear what Dino has to say about him after the game.
With a little more of the same it could turn out to be a great win for the Deacs.
1:27 - HUGE dunk by Teague on a fast break off a steal.
1:45 - Clark is now 2-2 from beyond the arc and made both of his freethrows, but he's clearly nervous because he's having trouble holding on to the ball and has 2 turnovers. Timeout, GT. Wake leads 41-32. Causey is absolutely fuming on the bench.
3:57- GT's closed the lead with some pretty good shooting, and in my opinion some help from the refs to get to the line. The crowd is getting pretty ugly towards the Jackets, primarily Causey after the intentional foul and then Aminu, thanks to his brother. Clark is seeing some significant minutes here tonight and is headed to the line after the timeout with the Deacs leading 34-30.
7:47 - Things have gotten ugly out here, and after that intentional foul/technical situation I think things will be getting pretty chippy. Wake needs to keep avoiding fouls and concentrate on smart offensive play. Wake holds onto a five point lead (and the ball) 23-18.
9:14 - Teague just did one of the dumbest things I've ever seen. GT's Matt Causey was called for an intentional foul on James Johnson and Teague got in his face and basically threatened him. There is an intentional foul on Causey, but Teague picked up a technical for his antics. Very Very dumb. Johnson will shoot the intentional foul (of which he misses both) and Tech now shoots a technical 2 shot foul, makes both, and gets the ball. Really dumb series there, mostly due to Teague. Wake leads 23-16.
11:24 - The Deacs are hot from beyond the arc! Both Harvey Hale and Jeff Teague have hit a couple of big ones. Gary Clark is also seeing floor time for the first time in awhile and hit a 3 of his own with his first shot. Hale got his second foul on a really stupid play defending an inbounds pass in the backcourt. Already Wake has 7 team fouls and Georgia Tech is in the bonus. Won't be very helpful the rest of the half. Things got a little sloppy in the last minute, with two straight turnovers. Still, Wake leads 20-12.
15:28 - Sloppiness all over the made for a very bad start. Lazy passes and other seemingly mental mistakes are not going to do us any good. A couple of quick fouls aren't going to help much either. Definitely looked like the refs missed a goaltending call which cost the Deacs a couple of points, too. Thankfully, things started falling and Wake has built a small early lead thanks in large part to a Jeff Teague 3-pointer. Wake leads 9-3.
Getting ready for tip-off, time to extend the home streak to 17! Check back throughout the game for updates, and if you're interested to hear what Grobe said about the recruiting class today, scroll down to the previous post.