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Adjustment on ball screens keys UVA D in win over Wake Forest

jay huff ismael massoud
Jay Huff defends Wake Forest forward Ismael Massoud. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference.

Wake Forest looked like Gonzaga in the first half Wednesday night – scoring 39 points, shooting 62.5 percent from the floor, 6-of-10 from three.

Ismael Massoud was the troublemaker.

The lithe 6’8”, 220-pound sophomore was a modest 5-of-16 from three coming in, but in the first half he was 3-of-4 from long-range, as Virginia struggled to contain him on ball screens.

Tony Bennett had to do something, and it’s something he’s loathe to do – switching on screens – but there’s principles, and there’s winning.

“The way he was screening and separating, it’s tough. We’ve had trouble with that. So we just tried to do a few different things. Tried switching some screens. We got to kind of pick our poison. So we decided to stay a little more at home on him, and I thought it was, it helped us,” Bennett said.

It did help. Massoud did bang in a three at the 13:19 mark to get Wake, which led by as many as 12 in the first half, back to a 50-48 deficit, but that was it for him – and a 12-1 UVA run over the next 5:49 would put the game out of reach.

After that big first half, the Deacs got just 22 points in the second half, on 8-of-21 shooting (38.1 percent).

The Wake offense scored .759 points per possession in the second half.

In the first half: 1.345.

That’s Gonzaga-like. The second half was what UVA’s Pack Line does to teams.

“The ball pressure, the ability to, like, let’s pick a point, and everybody be more active on the ball. Kihei got down the floor, and those things kind of mixed together. Sam was on the glass, which was good. So again, I thought the guys responded well to that challenge,” Bennett said.

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press
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