When Wake Forest took down Charlotte, 80-57, on Tuesday night, it marked the Demon Deacons’ second straight win by 20-plus points as Wake captured it’s largest win of the season, 82-53 over Richmond on Saturday.In both games, Wake was able to seize the early lead and push it forward. The development of a “killer mentality” may be a stabilizing force after tough early season losses that the Deacons feel like they should have won, but could not finish. Playing by committee is an intangible that Coach Danny Manning is looking for as a consistent norm which occurs from game to game. Nine Deacons posted double figures in minutes in both wins as chemistry seems to be forming with the depth.
“Being able to go into our bench paid off for us and all your long we talk about being a team by committee and tonight was the definition of that as guys that came in there gave us good minutes while they were in there,” said Manning.
Keyshawn Woods set the example of sacrifice that all coaches look for as the junior guard came to Manning after the win over
Quinnipiac and suggested that Manning take a look at him coming off the bench. That is a variable in the Deacons’ winning four in a row.
“Key' came to me when we were in Lynchburg and he sacrificed and said he would rather come off the bench and which would let ‘Mitch’ (Mitchell Wilbekin) to do a little more as a starter,” noted Manning, “At the end of the day, Keyshawn will be in our top five minutes played.”
Woods’ 15 in the win over Charlotte supplemented Bryant Crawford’s game-high 17. He scored 12 in the first half as he continually broke down the 49ers’ guards off the dribble as Wake physically had a mismatch on the perimeter with physical size.Woods at 6-3 can also create mismatches with the oppositions’ swingmen and even power forwards. He can get to the rim off the dribble in these positions as well. Manning uses him in different positions and scenarios as the matchups dictate.
“I use him everywhere but center,” noted Manning, “He has a great understanding of our offense. I can put a different lineup out there and I can ask what spot do you know and Key will run to those spots himself because he knows it.”
Inside the intangibles - This was a tightly officiated game as 44 fouls were called; yet the Deacons didn’t get to the line but four times in the first half. They were only 9-of-19 in the second which was unlike their output as they came into the game making 77.2 percent of their free throws.
“All year long we have done a good job shooting free throws and getting to the line,” Manning commented, “Everybody we put out there got in foul trouble, though.”
In addition, Manning got meaningful minutes from big men Olivier Saar and Sunday Okeke off the bench. The 7-0 Saar has averaged double figures in minutes, but is finding his way inside the system. He had seven points while Okeke had five points and four boards in eight minutes.
“This is the most aggressive I have seen Olivier as he had seven rebounds,” Manning commented, “He can shoot the basketball, “He got up three threes. I thought this was by far the most aggressive he has play.”
Okeke showed plenty of workmanship as he scored his two field goals on offensive rebounds. Manning said that this has become his mantra as it magnified his work in practice.