The Virginia Men’s Basketball hadn’t had a three-game losing streak since February of 2011, something the visiting Demon Deacons of Wake Forest threatened late Sunday night. Virginia finished a strong second half to defeat Wake 79-62 to improve to 2-2 in the ACC.
With the game tied at 46 with 10:19 remaining in the second half, Virginia used a 19-4 run over 6:41 to take a 65-50 lead behind timely shots from London Perrantes and Devon Hall. Perrantes led all scorers with 24 points, and Hall (13) and Marial Shayok (17) also finished with double digit points. Isaiah Wilkins finished with a career-high five blocks, and Jack Salt made a highlight worthy screen/dunk combo in the second half to give the home team a spark.
Both teams shot well in the first half with Wake connecting on 42.3% (41.7% from three) and Virginia making 46.4% of their shots (but only 2-for-8 from three). WFU was led by Dinos Mitoglou and Bryant Crawford, each of whom had seven. Shayok - who got his first start of the season - had 10 first half points as he went 5-for-6 from the field.
Virginia ended the first half about as poorly as you can as Perrantes was called for a foul on a Bryant Crawford three pointer when the Hoos were up 28-24. Crawford missed the free throw for the and-one attempt, but failure to box out left Keyshawn Woods open for a put back, completing the rarely seen five point play and giving the Demon Deacons the one point lead they’d take into halftime. Coach Bennett was heated on the call, pointing out that Crawford kicked his leg out, initiating contact.
John Collins led the way for Wake Forest with 16 points, as the Deacons finished the game shooting 40.4% from the field. Their three point shooting came back down to Earth over the course of the second half, finishing at 28.6% for the game.
Both Wilkins and Salt were fantastic for the Hoos, especially given their struggles with the bigs in recent games. Wilkins went for seven points on 3-for-3 shooting from the field (including 1-for-1 from three) with four rebounds, five blocks, two steals, and an assist before leaving the game with an apparent injury. Salt fouled out with five points on 1-for-1 shooting (3-for-3 from the line), five rebounds, two assists, one block, and zero turnovers.
Darius Thompson - the hero in the team’s last meeting - brought a spark off the bench for Virginia, going 2-for-3 from three in the second half during a crucial stretch.