Wake Forest upsets No. 13 Indiana at Maui Invitational
Penetration, domination down low and poise down the stretch helped the Wake Forest men’s basketball team stave off the No. 13 Indiana Hoosiers 82-78 in the first round of the Maui Invitational.
Freshman point guard Bryant Crawford’s driving layup with 3.2 seconds left in the game and two free throws by freshman forward John Collins helped the young, gritty Deacons make good on a their debut at the Valley Isle classic.
“Coach drew up a play for (Konstantinos Mitoglu) to come and set a fake bust screen and for Devin (Thomas) to clean it up. He just told me get to the hole, and that’s what I did,” Crawford said.
Mitoglou set the tone early, contributing all 18 of his points in the first half. The agile sophomore forward accounted for nine of the team’s first 11 points as Wake Forest built an early 13-12 lead.
“He carried us in that first half,” Manning said. “He didn’t score in the second half, but the work that he put in in the first half and having his presence on the court, the defense has to account for him, which opens up more driving lanes.”
“We’re throwing a lot at (Crawford). He made a big shot for us down the stretch, but he has to do a better job of securing the basketball and making easy plays throughout the course of the ballgame.”
Crawford committed a team-high eight turnovers.
Playing to their strengths in the paint to a tune of a 20-point advantage and a decisive 23-11 edge on the glass were huge for the Deacons.
“We’re going to go at whoever we play. That’s our mindset. That’s Indiana’s mindset,” said Manning. “That’s all basketball teams’ in the country’s mindset and tonight, things just worked out for us down the stretch.”
Senior center Devin Thomas picked up where Mitoglou left off in the second half with quick, decisive moves down low. He finished with a game-high 21 points and hauled in eight rebounds as the Deacons were able to tame Indiana point guard Kevin “Yogi” Ferell and the Hoosiers’ high-octane offensive attack.
Aiding the Deacons offensive output in the first half was the efficient guard play of Mitchell Wilbekin, Greg McClinton, and Crawford. The trio combined for 18 first-half points to help Wake Forest build a 50-45 lead at the half.
Ball security, or the lack thereof. proved to be the Achilles’ heel for the young Deacons once again and will continue to be a point of emphasis in the next game, against Vanderbilt.
“We turned the ball over enough for them to score 19 points off of our turnovers, and that number has to go down,” Manning said.
It was a seesaw battle down the stretch in a game that featured nine lead changes. A Thomas bucket closed the margin to 75-72 with 3:06 to play. A lay-in by Ferell increased the Hoosier lead to five until Wake Forest answered with a timely tip-in by Collins to make the score 77 -74.
Thomas came up clutch again after an errant pass to cut the Hoosiers’ lead to 77-76. A missed free throw by Collins kept Indiana ahead, but Ferell’s jumper hit the backboard, failing to draw iron, and allowed Wake Forest to seal the victory on Collins’ late free throws.
WAKE FOREST (3-1) — Thomas 10-18 1-3 21, Wilbekin 5-10 0-2 13, McClinton 3-4 1-2 7, Crawford 5-16 2-2 13, Mitoglou 8-12 0-0 18, Moore 0-0 0-0 0, Collins 4-7 2-3 10, VanHorn 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 35-69 6-12 82.
INDIANA (3-1) — Bielfeldt 4-6 1-2 11, Blackmon Jr. 1-8 2-2 5, Williams 6-10 3-4 16, Ferrell 4-11 3-4 11, Bryant 2-5 4-7 8, Zeisloft 3-7 0-0 9, Anunoby 0-1 0-0 0, Johnson 5-10 2-2 14, Morgan 0-0 0-0 0, Hartman 1-2 1-1 4. Totals 26-60 16-22 78.
Halftime–Wake Forest 50-45. 3-Point Goals–Wake Forest 6-14 (Wilbekin 3-5, Mitoglou 2-4, Crawford 1-4, VanHorn 0-1), Indiana 10-29 (Zeisloft 3-7, Bielfeldt 2-4, Johnson 2-4, Hartman 1-2, Williams 1-3, Blackmon Jr. 1-6, Ferrell 0-3). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–Wake Forest 43 (Collins 9), Indiana 30 (Bryant 8). Assists–Wake Forest 6 (Thomas 3), Indiana 17 (Ferrell 5). Total Fouls–Wake Forest 18, Indiana 15. A–2,400.