Second half surge lifts Virginia past Wake Forest
With a season-high 24 points behind 4-of-5 shooting from three-point range, senior guard London Perrantes helped the Virginia men’s basketball team snap a two-game losing streak in conference play Sunday night at home against Wake Forest. The Cavaliers (12-3, 2-2 ACC) outscored the Demon Deacons (10-6, 1-3 ACC), 51-33, in the second half after scoring just 28 points in the first half, ultimately winning 79-62.
Junior guards Marial Shayok and Devon Hall also provided important lifts for Virginia on the offensive end. Shayok — who kept the Cavaliers in their game last week at Pittsburgh — hit timely, tough jumpers off the dribble and contributed 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting in his first start of the season. Hall added 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Efficient, aggressive guard play made up for an absence of interior production, as junior forward Isaiah Wilkins, sophomore center Jack Salt, sophomore forward Jarred Reuter and redshirt freshman forward Mamadi Diakite combined for only 14 points and 12 rebounds. Defensively, though, Wilkins was superb, blocking five shots and recording two steals.
Freshman guard Kyle Guy carried over his shooting woes from the Pittsburgh game where he shot 1-of-7, including a 0-of-2 mark from downtown. Against Wake Forest, the former Indiana Mr. Basketball player finished 0-of-4 from the field, missing on all three of his three-point attempts. Guy drained two free throws to finish with just two points for the second-straight game.
Junior guard Darius Thompson — in his second game coming off the bench — knocked down two huge threes on back-to-back Virginia possessions midway through the second half to increase his team’s lead to four. On one end of the court the Cavalier pack-line defense made Wake Forest work for everything, and on the other end, the Cavaliers converted on 18-of-24 free throws to close out the contest.
Virginia shot 75 percent from the charity stripe Sunday night and 49.1 percent from the field, including 47.4 from three. The Cavaliers’ defense, which had been vulnerable in recent weeks, held Demon Deacon shooters to 40.4 percent from the floor and 28.6 percent from downtown. Sophomore forward John Collins led Wake Forest with 16 points, while sophomore guard Bryant Crawford chipped in 15 points.
Virginia will next enter a rowdy, renovated Littlejohn Coliseum to take on Clemson (11-4, 1-2 ACC) Saturday at 12 p.m.