Ishmael Smith scored 15 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out five assists in 44 minutes of playing time to lead Wake Forest to a 64-61 overtime win over Virginia on Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena.
Al-Farouq Aminu had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Demon Deacons (16-5, 6-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who improved to 4-0 in overtime games this season. C.J. Harris added 10 points for Wake Forest.
Virginia (14-7, 5-3) was led by Sylven Landesberg's game-high 28 points. Mike Scott was the only other Virginia player to score in double figures with 10 points - none in the second half. Scott also had 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.
Wake Forest, which outscored Virginia 9-6 in the overtime, moved into third place in the ACC behind Duke and Maryland. The Demon Deacons scored the first four points of the overtime period, including a three-pointer by Ari Stewart. The Cavaliers got within two points on three occasions, but Wake Forest held on for the victory.
The Demon Deacons shot 43.9 percent (25-57) from the field for the game, holding Virginia to 33.8 percent (22-65). Wake Forest out-rebounded the Cavaliers 46-34.
"That was a hard-fought game," Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said. "Defensively there was a lot of slugging going on and there were not easy shots to come by. We got some good looks, especially at the start of the second half. We ran a little set to try and take advantage of their foul situation, and we got a little stagnant early and had some breakdowns. Sylven (Landesberg) was certainly terrific with his ability to score, but they are really stacking the deck on Sylven. When he is making that next pass we are getting some looks and some inside touches, but it was not enough. Then I look at the second-chance points - with what (Ishmael) Smith did and the way they got on the glass late in the game - that was the difference."
The Cavaliers led by as many as eight points early in the first half and by five points (34-29) at halftime. The Demon Deacons rallied in the second half and led 53-48 with 3:43 remaining after a three-point play by Harris. Virginia came back on a layup and two free throws by Landesberg before Jontel Evans made one of two free throws to tie the game at 53-53 with 1:56 left to play. Smith gave Wake Forest a two-point lead on a layup with 26 seconds remaining, but Landesberg sent the game to overtime when he scored on a layup with 15 seconds left to play.
Wake Forest head coach Dino Gaudio talked about the play of Smith.
"He is the straw that stirs the drink for us - we just try to put the ball in his hands at the end of the game and most of the second half for that matter - and he just made plays," Gaudio said. "I am going to tell you something - Jontel Evans is as good a defender as we have had on Ishmael Smith in a long time. That kid can really guard, he is a really good defender."
In snowy conditions 5,988 fans braved the weather to attend the game.
"I want to say thanks to the fans that came in the weather," Bennett said. "That was unbelievable, that meant more to me and to our team than you will ever know. I am beginning to understand more and more what Virginia fans are about - that they would come out and support us in that weather and cheer like they did, it was a home court advantage because of them. So I say thank you to them, and sorry that we did not do our part. We battled hard, there is no question."