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Cavaliers falter in narrow home loss

Sherrill misses game-tying shot in overtime; team falls to Deacons for second time

Despite the frigid temperatures and falling snow, John Paul Jones Arena hosted a heated thriller Saturday afternoon, as Wake Forest handed the Cavaliers their second home overtime loss on the year, 64-61.

"That was a hard-fought game," Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. "Defensively, there was a lot of slugging going on."

Both teams were held to just 55 points in regulation, with the Cavaliers shooting a languid 33.8 percent from the floor throughout the game - the same percentage they managed against the Demon Deacons Jan. 23.

Neither team distanced itself from the other during the contest, leaving the results uncertain right up until the final possession.

Down 64-61 with only 20 seconds remaining in overtime, the Cavaliers inbounded the ball from their side of the floor. Landesberg missed a hesitant, off-balance jumper with 10 seconds to go, and junior forward Will Sherrill snagged the offensive board. An easy two would have given the Cavaliers the chance to tie or win on their next possession, assuming they could foul Wake immediately following the Deacons' inbounded play.

But Sherrill dribbled back to behind the three-point arc and hurled up a prayer - which would have tied the game with six seconds left - but it failed to strike the rim. It never had a chance.\n"We drew up a play - our timing was off on it," Bennett said. "We were looking for a three, and if it wasn't there, [we hoped to] attack and get a score. Will made a great hustle play but lost track of the time ... I wish we had gotten a cleaner look than that."

Landesberg led the team with 28 points on 8-of-19 shooting and 10-11 from the line. Junior forward Mike Scott, who scored 10 points, was the only other Cavalier to break double digits.

"Sylven was certainly terrific with his ability to score," Bennett said. "They are really stacking the deck on Sylven, and when he's making that next pass, we are getting some looks ... But it wasn't enough."

Though Virginia led the Deacons for a good chunk of regulation, the team struggled to deal with Wake Forest on the front court. The Deacons obtained 46 rebounds to just 34 by the Cavaliers, a deficit that was particularly wide on the defensive end, where the Deacons nabbed 30 compared to Virginia's 19. Big man Al-Farouq Aminu brought down 10 boards for Wake Forest and blocked three Virginia shots, including two during overtime.

Senior guard Ishmael Smith also helped to dizzy the Cavalier defense, playing during 44 of the game's 45 minutes and finishing with 15 points and five assists.

"He's just so fast," Landesberg said. "He can get pretty much anywhere he wants on the court. And when he gets there, he's very unselfish ... That's what makes it so difficult: he's able to score and find the open man."

With the win, Wake Forest has vaulted ahead of the Cavaliers in conference standings; Virginia has fallen back into a tie for fourth with in-state rival Virginia Tech.

The Cavaliers now will prepare for a Wednesday night road showdown with Maryland, which leads the Cavaliers by two spots in the ACC race.

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