Virginia Tech flat took the game from Wake Forest tonight, and the Demon Deacons didn’t seem to mind much.
Credit the Hokies for coming back from an 11-point deficit with 16 minutes to play. And credit them with just taking over the game in the final nine minutes to win by four. Tech was better on defense, smarter with the ball, aggressive going to the basket and swarming on the glass in scoring arguably its biggest win of the season.
The Hokies take over sole possession of second place in the ACC, and might be ready to move into the Top 25 as well.
Meanwhile, Wake Forest is fully ready to move out again after breaking in at No. 25. The Deacons are undeniably talented and athletic, but have many flaws.
Most glaring: their defense is plagued by breakdowns, which is how you give up 55 second-half points. The biggest culprit against Tech was Wake’s best player – Al-Farouq Aminu. He was beaten several times off the dribble, lazy rotating to help stop penetration and disinterested in getting a hand up on shooters. After scoring 21 points in the first half, Aminu finished the game with 25 and seemed to lack energy in the final 10 minutes. He largely spectated while guard Ishmael Smith tried to keep Wake in the game by himself.
In the Guys You Have To Love Dept., save a spot for Michigan State power forward Draymond Green. In the Spartans’ 14-point victory at Indiana, Green made all five of his shots and finished with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists in just 19 minutes of playing time.
He has beautiful basketball instincts. Green is a 6-foot-6 sophomore who rebounds like he’s 6-10 and passes like he’s 6-2. He has flypaper hands that inhale the ball yet also produce a soft shooting touch and deft assists. With season averages of 10 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals, he’s always got his hands on the ball.
Momentum is a fleeting thing in the Big East. With South Florida whacking Cincinnati to further muddle the turbulent superconference, only four teams currently have won at least two conference games in a row: St. John’s, Seton Hall, Pitt and Marquette. The Golden Eagles have won five straight. Rutgers could join that group but is getting licked early by DePaul.