augusta free press news

Scott German: #2 UVA rediscovers offense

uva-logo-new2A UVA team whose offense had been missing in action over the past month traveled to Tobacco Road and struck gold Wednesday evening in a 70-34 annihilation of Wake Forest in Lawrence Joel Coliseum.

Down two starters, the second-ranked Cavaliers punished the Deacons on both ends of the floor and matched the worst loss ever for a Wake Forest team in its home arena.

Wake Forest coach Danny Manning summed up the night: “It was simply a slow, steady beatdown, almost from the opening tip,” said the first year Wake boss.

And indeed it was. After scoring the first basket of the game to take their only lead at 2-0, it was all downhill for the Deacons. Virginia led 8-7 at the 13-minute mark of the first half, but closed out the opening half with an impressive 28-8 run.

Ballgame.

The Cavaliers finished the game with 62 possessions, scoring 32 times. That’s not boring basketball, to borrow from the line that ESPN and Seth Davis are trying to sell us, that’s amazing basketball. Wake’s 34 points was a low-water mark for a team, home or away, at Lawrence Joel Coliseum, which opened during the 1989-90 season.

Anthony Gill led an overwhelming, but balanced, Virginia offensive attack with 11 points, while Darion Atkins had 10 points.

UVA pummeled Wake Forest in the paint, outscoring the Demon Deacons 46-14, and held a 15-5 margin in second chance points.

The Cavaliers’ game plan was simple: play aggressive, defend the ball screen, and extend Wake’s offense. Check. Wake made just three of their first 17 field goal attempts.

Meanwhile, Virginia, shooting a torrid 56 percent in the first half from the floor, put Wake away by intermission taking a 36-15 lead at the break.

UVA was playing without Justin Anderson for a fifth straight contest, and without sophomore guard London Perrantes, who suffered a broken nose and mild concussion in a collision with teammate Malcolm Brogdon in Sunday’s win over Florida State.

A trio of first-year players for the Cavaliers stepped up on cue. Marial Shayok had five rebounds, seven points, Isaiah Wilkins had nine rebounds, and redshirt freshmen Devon Hall added nine points.

So after surviving a near Valentines Day massacre by Wake Forest 11 days ago in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers quickly and efficiently put Wake Forest to bed here Wednesday night.

– Column by Scott German