Dominant Second Half Leads UVA Over Wake Forest, 70-61

Wednesday night , the #22 Virginia Cavaliers (6-2, 2-0 ACC) defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-2, 0-2 ACC) by a score of 70-61 at John Paul Jones Arena.

It was all Demon Deacons in the first minutes of the game, with Wake Forest making their first 4 three pointers to lead 19-10. All UVA could do was keep the game close as Wake Forest dominated on offense and led by as many as 12 in the first half. Isaiah Mucius and Ismael Massoud lead the charge for their team early on, and finished with 14 and 13 points respectively.

For the Hoos, Sam Hauser and Reece Beekman carried the load offensively in the first half, with Beekman scoring 8 of UVA’s final 20 points. UVA managed to lower the deficit to just five at half, with the Demon Deacons leading 39-34.

UVA came out of the break more aggressive on offense. Sam Hauser completed a three point play off of a Wake Forest turnover to make it 41-39, and UVA drew 5 fouls in the first 3 minutes, led by Jay Huff, Sam Hauser, and Trey Murphy III.

UVA took care of the basketball and only had 6 turnovers on the night, while Wake Forest committed 13 turnovers. After a 12-2 scoring run, UVA turned the game around and led 48-43.

In an impressive stretch, UVA made 10 straight field goals. UVA’s starting five, which consisted of  Kihei Clark,  Reese Beekman, Trey Murphy,  Sam Hauser, and Jay Huff,  combined for 62 of their team’s 70 points in a very balanced attack among the five players. Meanwhile, Wake Forest could not replicate their hot shooting from the first half and went 1 for 10 from behind the arch for a period of time after making 5 of their first 6. Part of the way through the second half, Wake Forest was just 4/12 (25%) from the field, while UVA was 12/18 (67%).

With 7 minutes remaining, the Hoos were up 62-49. Jonah Antonio made a three for Wake Forest to end a six minute scoring drought and cut the lead to 10, but UVA closed out the game in a comfortable fashion and the Demon Deacons never got closer than 8 points in the final minutes as the Cavaliers won 70-61.

After giving up 39 points in the first half, Tony Bennett’s team locked down on defense in the second half, and Wake Forest could not maintain their impressive pace. Reece Beekman led the Hoos with 5 steals. The Hoos were also outrebounded in the first half, but evened the score by the end of the game behind Sam Hauser’s 11 rebounds. The 14 point turnaround in the second half proved the potential of a UVA team that will head into the depths of ACC play in the following weeks.

The Hoos will take their undefeated record in ACC to Boston College this Saturday at 2pm. The Demon Deacons will look to rebound against another difficult ACC opponent when they face the Duke Blue Devils Saturday at noon.


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