Make no mistake, Wake Forest sucks. They haven’t finished higher than 10th in the ACC during Danny Manning’s entire stay there, and if it weren’t for Brandon Childress honoring the memory of his father’s tenure there, there would be literally no reason to watch Wake. Of course, it’s been a very long time since UVa has been so desperate for a win….
A win is a win is a win. But it was once again another shambolic performance on the part of the Cavaliers. With Virginia holding a 63 – 62 lead late in overtime, Braxton Key stepped to the line for a pair of free throws. He missed them both, but two Wake players collided on the rebound and the ball went out of bounds. Announcer David Ryan voiced what was on everyone’s mind: “Who wants to win this game?” It was that kind of game.
Going to OT against a Wake team that was missing both Brandon Childress and Chaundee Brown. If you are keeping score, that’s Wake’s 1st and 2nd leading scorers. Ryan was on the money again when he said that Virginia had escaped Winston Salem for the win. Spot on, David.
Tomas Woldetensae. 7 – 14 from three point range. You could be excused for thinking that this is a typo given the woeful state of Virginia’s shooting this year (the rest of the team did combine to go 1 – 16 from three, so no one else was of any use) but Woldetensae got off to an early good start and he continued to hunt his shot all game long. The majority of Woldetensae’s shots were corner 3s, long recognized as the most efficient three-point shot (and one that Virginia shoots but rarely.) It is usually posited that the corner 3 is better because it is a shorter shot, but I think a more crucial reason is that the rim stands out more, vis a vis the backboard. Jay Huff did have a crucial three late in the second half, and the shot was a corner three.
Braxton Key. Since averaging 16 points/game over the Navy-Virginia Tech-Boston College span, Key has really struggled. He’s down to 8 points per game over the last 5 games, going 17 for 58. He’s back to missing bunnies, going 2 – 16 today, 0 – 4 from 3, and 3 – 9 from the line. He’s still the same utility-knife player, but he’s had a rough stretch of games. I will be very happy when he gets that splint off.
EDIT: Upon re-watching some of the game, it is very apparent (well, when I look specifically at Key) that he is basically playing one-handed. His left is really bothering him.
Speaking of rough nights…
Casey Morsell. Much as I expected in this circus of a season, Morsell took a big step back after a solid outing vs NC State. He was 1 – 7 and 0 – 5 from three (though a pair were desperation heaves late in the shot clock) and he was almost the goat of the game for his foul on Wake’s Andrien White with 1.7 seconds left in the game. White did his best Kyle Guy impersonation, calmly sinking all three free throws to knot the game at 56 and send it to overtime. Morsell had defended White perfectly, bodying him and forcing White into a desperation heave. But Morsell got greedy and got White’s hand.
Andrien White. In a blatant case of what soccer refs call “simulation” White snapped his head back as if he’d been slapped by Morsell, when all Casey did was get him on the hand. Morsell did foul him, but the ref bought the cry-baby act and the game went into overtime.
Negative then Positive
Fouls and Free Throws. St Lou described one of his keys for the game was denying Wake the opportunity to go the line. They are good foul shooting team and they are good at getting to the line. While Wake did have a heroic spurt to close the first half with a solid lead, the bigger factor in their game was going to the line and making 11 of 12 free throws. Virginia was much better in the second half, only picking up their seventh team foul in the closing seconds. The Deacons were still deadly at the line all game long, but we were up to the task after the break.
Chase Coleman. The walk-on freshman continues to impress and Bennett finally (to my mind) utilized Coleman in the right manner, bringing him in for Kihei Clark a couple of minutes of the last TV timeout in the first half. The break, plus the timeout, gave a real breather to Clark. He plays like he belongs. In one span, Wake had four straight offensive rebounds – they couldn’t convert – and it was up to Coleman to finally end the onslaught by digging out a ground ball for a tied-up ball.
Changing the narrative. Like all of our recent losses, we came from behind, took the lead late in the second half, and in many ways we tried to give the game back. But we didn’t. On a day when Key was dreadful and Huff all but invisible, I’m going to celebrate the wins we get.