Conditions were ripe for an upset at South Bend Tuesday night. The reeling Irish were on short rest, having played at UNC Sunday afternoon instead of Saturday as originally scheduled — and they'd lost four straight contests.
The Deacs got good production from their "Big Two" in sophomores Bryant Crawford and John Collins. Crawford scored 19 points and had five assists against just one turnover, while Collins notched yet another double-double, scoring 24 points and grabbing 14 boards. It was the seven-straight 20+ point outing for Collins.
But a 16-4 Notre Dame run wiped away an eight-point Wake second half lead. The Irish drained 9-of-14 from behind the arc in the final 20 minutes to come away with a 88-81 victory over the Deacs (14-10, 5-7).
Here's Wake coach Danny Manning's comments after the game.
"In the first half I thought we did some fairly good things offensively. We moved the ball. Defensively, we were much better in the first half than in the second. In the second half, Notre Dame got comfortable running their offense. They made some tough spots, but we have to do a better job creating resistance. They hit some tough spots. They played a short while ago, but we thought this was one where we had some opportunity for success."
On the difficulty defending Notre Dame with the number of capable shooters on the floor at once
Manning: "They're tough to guard. They have some guys that can hit shots. We have to do a better job of closing out on shooters and making them uncomfortable."
On John Collins consistency
Manning: "I think he's improved. I think he's starting to understand how good and how athletic he is. He's understanding the nuances of the game like attaining good post position and getting to the line. For us, we also have guys around him who are capable shooters. That gives him some more space to operate. He's needs to continue to improve and get better, but he's certainly headed in that direction."
On what Bonzie Colson did that was tough to defend
Manning: "I know Bonzie pretty well, so when I say this don't take this as anything wrong, but he was just Bonzie. He posted up. He made plays. He just played a good game."