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No. 3 Virginia cruises past Wake Forest 68-45

Kyle Guy scores his 1,000th career point in the win.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Virginia Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

In a late night sleepy affair, the No. 3 Virginia Cavaliers got back to their winning ways with a comfortable 68-45 win over the visiting Wake Forest Demon Deacons. With the win, Virginia improved to 17-1 (5-1 ACC), while Wake Forest dropped to 8-10 (1-5 ACC).

Virginia’s offense was extremely balanced as five players hit double digit scoring in the game. Kyle Guy and Jay Huff led with 12 apiece, De’Andre Hunter and Mamadi Diakite each had 11, and Ty Jerome added 10. The Cavaliers shot 39% from the field as a team and 33% from three, and only turned the ball over six times. Guy needed just five points in the game to reach his 1,000 point mark in his career.

Defensively, Virginia held Wake Forest to 31% shooting from the field. After going 5-for-14 from three in the first half, the Demon Deacons were just 1-for-10 beyond the arc in the second and 25% for the game. Brandon Childress led WFU with 12 points, followed closely by Olivier Sarr with 11.

The Hoos were successful at getting to the line and converting, going 17-for-21 (81%) for the game. Conversely, Wake shot just six free throws. Although Virginia looked sloppy at times—Wake getting seven points off of six turnovers and 15 fast break points—things were never in doubt for the Cavaliers.

Diakite got things going for the Hoos, converting the old-fashioned three point play then connecting on a soft floater in the lane on back-to-back possessions to put Virginia up 5-0 right out of the gate. He was feeling it, backing his man down in the lane on Virginia’s next offensive possession to get good position for his third straight bucket. Hunter pushed the Cavaliers’ lead to 10-0 with a three from the wing, and WF head coach Danny Manning needed the timeout.

The Virginia defense was locked in early as Wake Forest’s first five offensive possessions went missed three, missed three, missed three, missed long two, and turnover.

After another bucket from Hunter, Wake Forest got their first points of the game with 16:06 left in the first half thanks to a three-pointer from Childress to make it 12-3, but Guy connected on a triple of his own to push Virginia’s lead back to 12. A long two from Hunter extended the Hoos’ lead even further as they opened the game shooting 58% from the field.

Jay Huff entered the game for Virginia and had an immediate impact on both ends with a block, three pointer (off a gorgeous behind the head feed from a triple-teamed Guy), converted the old fashioned three point play, and slammed home an alley-oop in a three minute span.

Virginia’s offense quieted for a spell, but the defense didn’t slow down. Olivier Sarr got an easy layup for Wake’s second bucket of the game to make it 24-5 with 8:48 left in the half. Two free throws from Hunter broke a three minute scoring drought for Virginia, and outstanding one-on-one defense from Diakite gave the ball back to the Hoos. A turnover at mid-court (Virginia’s first of the game) led to a breakaway dunk for Jaylen Hoard, but Jack Salt returned the favor on the other end to push the advantage back to 22 points at the under eight timeout.

Hoard drove the baseline past Hunter for a layup to make it a 20 point game, but Jerome stepped into a three after a Salt tip-out rebound to give Virginia its biggest lead of the game at 23. Huff had a dunk blocked on one end, leading to a three pointer for Childress to put Wake into double digit points with 4:39 left in the half. A three from Sharone Wright Jr. gave the Demon Deacons a little life, but good passing from Key found Huff for an easy lay-in.

Wright Jr. connected from beyond the arc again, and Key got on the score sheet with an offensive rebound and put-back to make it 36-18. Childress hit Wake’s fifth three of the first half with just under a minute left in the half, and followed it with a run out from a Virginia missed three to send the game into the break with UVA leading 36-23.

Virginia shot 45% in the first half, led by Huff’s 10 points while Hunter added nine, and Diakite had seven. After a blazing hot start to the first half, Virginia got outscored 14-4 in the final 4:39 as Wake Forest his four of its five three pointers in that stretch. Neither team turned the ball over much, but the Demon Deacons turned the Hoos’ two turnovers into five points.

Wake Forest shot just 32% in the first half, but went 5-for-14 from three to keep things closer than they appeared out of the gate. Childress led WFU with 11 points, with Wright Jr. adding six on 2-for-3 shooting from three.

Virginia opened the second half with a perfect defensive possession, forcing Wake into a bad shot late into the shot clock. On the other end, Jerome canned a three off of a pass from Hunter to push the lead back to 16 points. A mid-range jumper from Wright Jr. kept the pressure on the Hoos, but Jerome’s three point attempt wouldn’t fall. Childress missed a three on the other end, giving Virginia a chance to extend their lead once again.

Guy just missed a three, but Diakite was there for the offensive rebound and put-back. A long two from Sarr made it 41-25 with 17:23 to play, and a miscommunication between Diakite and Clark led to Virginia’s third turnover of the night. Wake Forest’s bench was called for a technical foul before the Demon Deacons could capitalize off of the turnover, and Guy connected on both free throws—including his 1,000th point—to make it a 16 point game with 16:16 to play.

Hunter found Salt down low who finished with the lay-in and drew a foul. He made the ensuing free throw, pushing Virginia’s lead back to 19 with just over 15 minutes to play. Sarr got loose for an arcing floater, but Jerome answered with one of his own in the lane. After a missed three from Wake, Jerome did the same again, giving the Hoos a 50-29 advantage and a little more breathing room.

A three from Guy added to the cushion, gave Jerome his fourth assist of the game, and capped a 7-0 run for the Hoos. Sarr’s fourth field goal of the game cut the lead slightly, but Guy added another free throw to make it 54-31.

Wake Forest took their first free throws of the night with 11:57 to play, with Michael Wynn making both. Hunter scored his first points of the second half at the line with 10:50 left to push Virginia’s lead to 56-33. After almost turning it over several times in one possession, Sarr connected with a three from straight out, and Torry Johnson added two more at the free throw line to cut Virginia’s lead to 18.

Diakite narrowly missed the put-back with the whistle, but he made both free throws coming out of the under-eight timeout. One free throw by Childress cut into the lead slightly, and Wake was unable to take advantage of several offensive rebounds to cut things even closer. On the other end, Guy found Salt for an easy dunk, then Jerome found Guy for a three to make it 63-39.

Isaiah Mucius and Hoard got back-to-back buckets to cut Virginia’s led to 20 with 3:45 remaining, but Key drove the lane hard and drew a foul on the other end. Key made both, then grabbed a defensive rebound on the other end to give the Hoos more time to run out the clock. Huff added two more free throws to cap off his scoring as Tony Bennett cleared the bench with 1:30 to play.

Next up, Virginia hits the road again as the Hoos head to South Bend to take on Notre Dame. The game will be broadcast on CBS and is set to tip at 1pm.