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Sunday, March 20, 2005

Black Saturday

West Virginia 111 Wake Forest 105 2 OT

Though Wake did everything it could offesively to save its season, the Deacs broke down defensively, save Eric Williams' block on the back-door pass in the first overtime.

Skip Prosser:

"The hard thing to figure out is how well we played defensively in the first half. It was as well as we've ever played probably defensively, in terms of forcing turnovers and holdiong a team that can score like West Virginia to 27 points."

Trent Strickland:

"To be honest with you, I thought in that second OT we were going to come out and defend like we were supposed to and get the win. But we didn't."

Eric Williams:

"You've got to guard. I mean, if you don't have defense, you don't have nothing."

Taron Downey, who silenced the critics by saving Wake not once, but twice:

"We had so many high expectations for ourselves. Anything less than a national championship, I think for this whole team, was unacceptable."

Lenox Rawlings:

"The season ended in shirtsleeves, and it ended prematurely because (the Deacons) never roled up their sleeves on the defensive half of the 94-foot court. .....Wake Forest couldn't stop five soccer moms from dribbling into the lane."

Chris Paul:

"It started slipping through our fingers whgen they started getting basket after basket after basket. And it wasn't just 2's and 3's. It was drives for fouls and baskets."

When all is said and done, was Wake's defense really that bad, or did West Virginia just give the Deacs a lesson on how basketball is supposed to be played: Accurate three-point shooting mixed in with drives to the basket and back-door passes?

I have to admit I was impressed with the way Wake kept themselves in the game in both overtimes. Downey nailed the threes to keep the Deacs alive, Williams' nice hands to block a potential game-winning layup, the way Paul didn't panic by gunning threes when there was still plenty of time on the clock. The better team simply won.