After the Hoos went on the road and notched a blowout loss followed by a dominant win, Wahoo fans wondered: which UVA team would show up in Virginia's home opener against Wake Forest? Back at JPJ, the Hoos continued to put it together, controlling the game from start to finish in a dominating 74-51 victory. The win moves UVA to 2-0 in ACC play and 11-4 on the season, while Wake follows up their win over UNC by dropping to 11-4 (1-1 ACC).
Virginia ran out to a quick 11-0 lead and never looked back. When Wake Forest used an 11-3 run to close a 17 point UVA lead to 9 points, the Hoos scored 12 of the first half's final 16 points, capped by a Joe Harris buzzer beater 3 (Check out the video!) to go into halftime leading 41-24. The second half was again all Virginia, as the Hoos led by as many as 32 points before bringing in the walk-ons with 4 minutes to play.
Joe Harris showed no lingering effects from his concussion sustained Saturday in Tallahassee, finishing the game with 11 points on 4 of 8 shooting, and 3 of 6 from behind the arc. He looked confident and aggressive, but didn't force things. That's the Harris this team needs down the stretch. Malcolm Brogdon led the Hoos, shooting an efficient 6 of 8 for 14 points and grabbing six rebounds. Justin Anderson added 11 more, while Gill finished with 10. The team made 50% of its field goals, including 7 of 14 from behind the arc.
Defensively, UVA absolutely smothered the same Wake team that put up 73 points on North Carolina. The Deacons finished with 15 turnovers, 9 in the first half, as a persistently aggressive on-ball defense gave them fits. When they did manage to get shots off, players were constantly contested and shots were way off - if stats were kept for number of air balls, Wake Forest may have set a record. Virginia didn't allow second chances, rebounding 85% of Wake's misses (and grabbing 31% of their own).
(The only area in which Virginia struggled, once again, was free-throw shooting, where the team shot 65%).
It's tough to imagine how this same Wake Forest team beat North Carolina just days earlier, but the Demon Deacons have always displayed an extreme home/road split, and that continued tonight. Luckily, UVA has completed their series with Wake Forest, and won't have the chance to stumble in Winston-Salem.
The team looks to have meshed nicely since the Tennessee loss, but Tony Bennett must ensure that the Hoos keep it up on a tough road trip. UVA will head to Raleigh to play at NC State on Saturday, then will have a quick turnover before they take on Duke on ESPN's "Big Monday." (Coach Bennett indicated that the team will stay in North Carolina between games).