Virginia blew a 13-point lead in the last 10 minutes Saturday but held on with a last-second defensive stop to defeat Wake Forest 61-60 in Charlottesville. Junior guard Malcolm Brogdon stole the ball from Wake's Codi Miller-McIntyre with two seconds remaining to escape the Demon Deacon upset bid. Virginia improved to 23-1 and 11-1 in the ACC with the victory, tying the best start in school history.
After Virginia had taken a 13-point lead, Wake Forest came within a hair of pulling off the shocking comeback. The Deacons clawed back to within one behind the play of Miller-McIntyre and the shooting of Cornelius Hudson and Konstantinos Mitoglou. Virginia led by four with less than a minute remaining, but a missed three-pointer from Evan Nolte was followed by a three from Mitoglou to cut the lead to one. Following an Anthony Gill free throw, Miller-McIntyre went one of two from the line. Wake Forest then got an offensive rebound down one with 12 seconds to play, and the Deacs looked to McIntyre to take the last shot. Brogdon blanketed him as the game clock wore down until Miller-McIntyre fumbled the ball into Brogdon's arms.
Virginia looked to be in control after outscoring Wake Forest 27-10 to open the second half. Junior forward Anthony Gill led Virginia with 19 points on a flurry of post moves. Brogdon continued his steady play, adding 11 points and 9 rebounds on top of his game-winning steal.
It wasn't pretty for a Virginia team still searching for answers after the injury to star forward Justin Anderson. The Wahoos entered the contest as an 18-point favorite according to the oddsmakers, but trailed 31-24 at halftime after 20 minutes of uninspired play. The deficit was the largest Virginia faced at halftime all season. The Cavaliers committed six first-half turnovers and struggled to contain Wake Forest's perimeter-based offense.
The main story offensively for Wake was the shooting of freshman forward Mitoglou. The big man from Greece nailed 3 three-pointers late in the first half, which helped stake Wake to its halftime lead. Mitoglou added three more triples in the second half. He finished with 18 points.
A scary first-half moment occurred when junior forward Evan Nolte was fouled on a layup and fell on his right hand. Nolte writhed in pain before being examined by trainer Ethan Saliba. The game seemed to turn around when Nolte returned to the lineup to start the second half. The Georgia native knocked down his next two three-pointers amid the ensuing Cavalier run.
The Wahoos have a quick turnaround, as they'll host Pittsburgh Monday night.