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After the Buzzer: Wake Forest

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Wake Forest v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Quick Hitters

-Full disclosure: I have not yet read Mike’s extended thoughts post about the game so if you see anything similar, it’s just a coincidence that neither of us know what we are talking about. I try to get my post done sooner and, in all honesty, it is nice when his comes out later and I see some similar thoughts that he expands on. But in this case, whenever his comes out first, I do avoid it so as not to be influenced by any of it. Just wanted to get that out there. I know it doesn’t matter.

-I started watching the game about 40 minutes late, but I started from the beginning and knew nothing. I told my group text of guys that I would catch up to them as soon as I could. All I saw was one person had said “Justin is going to have fun with this first half (for film review).” So I assumed “Ah, cool. We come out and dominate and look great. This will be good.” Then Wake kept hitting shots. And extending their lead. Then I realized what he meant. I would have fun pointing out so many negative things. Great.

-Luckily a different team came out in the second half and the Cards were back. It’s cliché, but that was definitely a tale of two halves. Be upset about the start if you would like, but I will never be bummed after a Cards win. Just can’t do it.

-I’m sure there are people that look at lackluster starts and just blame coaching. If you watched the game on TV, you heard them say how much Coach Mack emphasized ball pressure at shootaround and not backing up from the ball handler. What I have learned in coaching (not at this level, I know) is that you can have a perfect game plan and tell your players exactly what to do to be successful, and you know what? They may just not do it. But if you do blame coaching for the first half, that means you need to credit coaching for the second half, right? Either way, the players came out flat and then they are the ones that turned it up. They control their effort, regardless of what someone tells them to do.

-For the first time this season, Louisville had six double-figure scorers, led by Jordan Nwora’s 21. Love the balance.

-The Cards continue to light it up from three, making 14/28 for 50%, which is just crazy.

-17 assists on 24 made baskets is also very good.

-As said before, Jordan Nwora had 21 points and also seven rebounds. This was another game where it didn’t feel like he forced anything. He hit some big shots early to keep the Cards in the game and ended up 6/12 from the field, 5/8 from three, and 4/4 from the line. Very good performance and any time he plays within himself and the team and doesn’t try to do too much, everyone benefits.

-Fresh Kimble just continues to make big shots. He was 3/5 from three and for some reason, his seem to always feel like they are at big moments. All three were in the second half. His first one cut the deficit to 49-38 right after Wake had hit one to make it 49-35. His next one pushed the UofL lead to 63-58. And his last one felt like a dagger, taking the lead to 80-72 with 2:40 left to play. You will see that one on the film review. He also had four assists and four rebounds with only one turnover.

-I said in the last post that if two of the four guards play well, then this team puts themselves in a good spot. This game it was Kimble and Ryan McMahon. Darius Perry and David Johnson still did some good things, but it wasn’t their best games. And that’s fine. It will be hard to have all four play their best in the same game.

-Malik Williams just doesn’t look healthy to me. That knee looks to be bothering him and he seems a step slow and not as aggressive.

-Steven Enoch had a huge block and a monster dunk. Can we get more of those? Also the 3/3 from the field and 5/5 from the line were good to see.

-Dwayne Sutton: Beast. 15 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, one steal. One big dunk after his steal.

-Let me go back to Jordan Nwora for a minute. Sometimes we see bad or lazy defense. I did not see that last night. I saw him talking and communicating with his teammates. I used to see him switch everything, which showed laziness to me. Last night I saw him make the RIGHT switches. I can’t remember exactly, but there was a time where he and (I think) Sutton switched. But then Malik’s man screened and Jordan fought through it and did not switch. So he realized which switches were ok to make and which to try to avoid. I point out so often when he doesn’t play good defense so I had to give him props for his effort there.

-Was the first half ideal? Absolutely not. But this team got down by 15 and came all the way back and looked dominant in the second half. And it was definitely a team effort to do so. Again, some will just be upset about the slow start, but I love this team and where we are at. 20-3 and 11-1 in the ACC is not too shabby.

-Next up is Virginia. We owe them.

-As always, thanks for reading and checking out film review. Go Cards!

Film Review