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No. 11 Virginia escapes with win over Wake Forest

By
The Sports Xchange

Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't sure if his team solved its Atlantic Coast Conference road problems, but Darius Thompson needed to take only one shot to make the No. 11 Cavaliers feel differently about their latest venture.

Thompson banked in a winning 3-point shot from the left side at the buzzer to allow the Cavaliers to escape with a 72-71 victory against Wake Forest on Tuesday night at Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C.

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It was the only shot of the game for Thompson, who took a pass from guard Devon Hall for the dramatic conclusion.

"I didn't call the bank shot," Thompson said.

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A video review confirmed the shot was good.

The Cavaliers were caught off guard by Wake Forest's defensive set-up on the last possession, but improvising worked out fine.

"The (zone press) threw us off," Thompson said. "... I had only one second left. I had to throw it up."

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Virginia wiped out a 13-hole hole in the second half.

"We got outplayed pretty much most of the game," Bennett said. "We didn't play well. We showed enough fight to get back. I'll look at that as a positive."

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Virginia guard Malcolm Brogdon hit a 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds to play to make it 70-69.

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Wake Forest guard Bryant Crawford made the second of two free-throw attempts at the 4-second mark.

Brogdon, a senior, scored 28 points, tying his career high.

Virginia made up for a miserable night of offense by scoring 20 points in the final two minutes. The Cavaliers trailed 64-54 with 1:20 left and out of timeouts.

Forward Anthony Gill scored 17 points before fouling out in the final minute for Virginia (16-4, 5-3), which improved to 1-4 in ACC road games. Guard Marial Shayok had 10 points.

"I don't think we shook the road woes as far as our play," Bennett said. "But whatever you want to say, we got the monkey off our back."

Crawford, a freshman, racked up 22 points for the Demon Deacons.

Forward Devin Thomas returned from an in-game ankle injury to produce clutch offense down the stretch and finished with 19 points for Wake Forest (10-10, 1-7), which lost its fifth game in a row amid a brutal stretch in the schedule.

Wake Forest missed seven free throws in the last 80 seconds.

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"I hope they don't sleep tonight," Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said of his team. "I hope it burns. I hope they stay up all night tossing and turning."

Wake Forest had a scare early in the second half when Thomas scored a bucket for a 31-28 lead, but came down awkwardly and departed with an ankle injury.

Wake Forest's next three baskets were 3-pointers -- by forward Dinos Mitoglou, Crawford and forward Cornelius Hudson -- for a 40-32 edge. That was Hudson's lone basket in five attempts.

The margin grew to 52-38 with less than eight minutes to play.

Thomas came back and supplied more energy, including a three-point play with a dunk at the 1:23 mark.

"We didn't do enough," Manning said.

Virginia was kept afloat by eight free throws in a five-minute stretch late in the game.

"Every road game we've come out with low energy and it has hurt us," Thompson said. "Tonight, we were able to find a way. ... Luckily, they kept missing their free throws and we kept believing."

Then Brogdon drained a 3-pointer with 57 seconds left to close the gap to 64-61. It was a 7-0 spurt in 23 seconds.

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Thomas responded with two free throws and Crawford canned his next two foul shots.

"We just tried to get some quick shots and attack, attack," Bennett said. "We've got to fix some things. But it's a joyful (moment) rather than (sad). We just have to raise our game and be better at everything."

The teams combined to make 1 of 17 shots from 3-point territory in the first half. Wake Forest led 26-24 at the break.

Wake Forest hit eight of its first 12 shots from the field, helping it to a 17-8 lead.

A 10-0 run for Virginia put the Cavaliers, who missed their first five shots from 3-point range, in the lead.

The outcome extended Wake Forest's losing streak in the series to four games.

NOTES: This game was originally scheduled for Monday night. But last week's Atlantic Coast Conference schedule moves based on the weather-related change of the Syracuse-Virginia game from Saturday to Sunday night created the altering of the date for the Virginia-Wake Forest game. ... Virginia G London Perrantes missed the road matchup last year with Wake Forest because of a concussion and broken nose. ... For Wake Forest, this was the third game among four consecutive outings against ranked opponents. ... This was also Wake Forest's only home game among the four-game stretch. ... With this being the eighth ranked opponent this season for Wake Forest (and another Sunday at Notre Dame), this will be the most ever ranked foes for the Demon Deacons prior to the end of January. ... Last year's 70-34 road victory for Virginia snapped Wake Forest's 10-game home winning streak in the series. ... Virginia goes to Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

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