The 2016-17 season is barely a week old, and there have already been a slew of fantastic games that we will be talking about for the rest of the season.
Last night, we witnessed the upset of the season so far, as the Lamar Cardinals went on the road and forced the Oregon State Beavers into committing 27 turnovers, en route to the 63-60 victory in Corvallis.
According to Ken Pomeroy, the Cardinals has a 5% chance of winning the contest.
On Thursday, a number of early season evens kicked off, giving fans basketball action all day long. One of which that kicked off Thursday morning was the Gildan Charleston Classic.
After the Villanova Wildcats opened up the tournament with a closer-than-expected win over the Western Michigan Broncos, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons took on the UTEP Miners with a date against the reigning National Champions awaiting the winner in the semi-finals.
Wake Forest came to play in the first half, and were hot from the field. They shot 13-of-20 in the first half from three point range, putting up 63 points in the process.
The lead was too much for UTEP to come back from, and the Demon Deacons cruised in the second half, punching their ticket to the semi-finals with a 103-81 win over the Miners.
On the day, Wake Forest shot a combined 35-of-59 (59.3%) from the field, and 13-of-21 (61.9%) from three point range. After their strong shooting performance in the first half, the Demon Deacons attempted just one three point jumper in the final 20 minutes of the game.
Not to be outdone, the Miners shot 31-of-58 (53.4%) from the floor, but just 5-of-14 (35.7%) from three point range. Wake Forest’s big night from beyond the arc was the difference on the afternoon.
After the teams traded baskets on the opening two minutes, Wake Forest began to take over. With just over five minutes off the clock in the first half, the Demon Deacons had opened up a 24-10 lead.
As the half ticked on, the Demon Deacons slowly built on their lead. UTEP managed to cut the deficit down to 4 with just over 10 minutes left in the half, but that was as close as they would get.
Bryant Crawford connected on a jumper to give Wake Forest a 21-point lead with 13 seconds left in the half, but Kelvin Jones beat the buzzer with a dunk to cut the deficit back to 19 at the break.
The second half was merely a formality at this point. Early on in the half, Wake Forest pushed their lead to 25 points, and UTEP was never able to launch a serious comeback.
Wake Forest’s lead reached as big as 28 points in the second half, and the Demon Deacons cruised to the 103-81 win over the UTEP Miners in the opening round of the Gildan Charleston Classic.
A balanced scoring attack led the Demon Deacons on Thursday afternoon. Four players scored in double figures, and seven players had at least 7 points in the win. Forward John Collins led the way, scoring 24 points on 9-of-10 shooting, and adding 6 rebounds.
Bryant Crawford added 20 points and 7 assists, while Keyshawn Woods came off the bench and added 16 points of his own in the win.
Senior guard Dominic Artis led the way for the Miners, scoring 24 points and adding 6 assists and 4 rebounds in a losing effort.
Forward Matt Wilms added 13 points and 5 blocks, while Omega Harris chipped in with 16 points of his own.
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-0, 0-0) will take on Villanova in the semi-finals on Friday, while the UTEP Miner (1-1, 0-0) will face off against Western Michigan on the consolation side of the bracket.
– T. Bennett