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#22 Virginia asserts will on D in second half, defeats Wake Forest, 70-61

kihei clark wake
Kihei Clark had 10 points and three assists for Virginia in its 70-61 win over Wake Forest. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

Wake Forest hit five of its first six from three, led by as many as 12, and then, reality hit, as Virginia clamped down on D, got the offense going, and went on to a 70-61 win Wednesday night in JPJ.

#22 UVA (6-2, 2-0 ACC) took control with a 14-4 run to open the second half that turned a 39-34 halftime deficit into a 48-43 lead on a Trey Murphy III three at the 14:36 mark of the second half.

The ‘Hoos would lead by as many as 13, holding Wake (3-2, 0-2 ACC) to 4-of-13 shooting in the first 13:30 of the second half.

Sam Hauser led five UVA players in double-figures with 16 points, on 7-of-13 shooting, and recorded his second straight double-double, pulling down 11 rebounds.

Murphy had 13 points on 4-of-8 shooting, 3-of-6 from three.

Point guards Reece Beekman (12 points, 3 assists) and Kihei Clark (10 points, 3 assists) also had solid nights.

Jay Huff was the other guy in dubs – with 11 points.

Virginia had to postpone its scheduled game with #19 Virginia Tech on Saturday after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19, and was without two players – Casey Morsell and Kody Stattmann, and assistant coaches Brad Soderberg and Jason Williford – for Wednesday’s game.

“We came together and made the most of the situation, and will hopefully get those guys back soon,” coach Tony Bennnett said afterward.

Wake had been on its own COVID-19 odyssey – having missed more than a month of action after playing two games Thanksgiving week before returning ahead of the New Year.

The Deacs had three guys in double-digits – Isaiah Mucius and Jonah Antonio each had 14, and Ismael Massoud had 13.

Wake Forest shot 51.1 percent (23-of-45) from the floor and 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from three, but 13 turnovers in a low-possession game – the Demon Deacons had 57 possessions on the night – turned out to be too much.

Virginia shot 53.8 percent (28-of-52) and was just 6-of-20 (30 percent) from three, but had just six turnovers on the night.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
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