Scott German: Virginia asserts will in second half on its way to win over Wake Forest
Virginia used a 28-10 run over the first 10 minutes of the second half to defeat Wake Forest, 70-61, in ACC action at the John Paul Jones Arena Wednesday.
The Deacons opened the game red-hot from the field, making five of their first six three point attempts, and led by as many as 12 in first half action.
Virginia closed to within five at intermission, 39-34.
A short-handed Virginia coaching staff found a way at the break to make some defensive adjustments as the Deacons finished the contest 23-of-45 from the floor, including 10-for-19 from beyond the arc.
Virginia never led in the opening 20 minutes of play.
The Cavaliers offensively did not settle for jump shots and took the ball to the basket with aggressiveness. Sam Hauser paced five Cavaliers in double figures with 16 points. Hauser also had 11 rebounds and three assists for the Cavaliers.
Virginia outscored Wake 22-4 in the paint in the second half.
A bright spot for the Cavaliers on offense was freshman Reece Beekman, who had a career-high 12 points with three assists and five steals.
Virginia coach Tony Bennett said that Beekman was asked to be more of a threat offensively.
“We asked Reece to be more aggressive, look for the shot opportunity, and I thought he responded terrific,” noted Bennett.
Virginia, after trailing by as many as 12 in the first half, at 26-14, took its first lead of the game at the 16:12 mark of second half play.
A stepback jumper by Kihei Clark in the paint gave the Wahoos a 43-41 lead. Virginia never trailed thereafter.
Clark played all 40 minutes and finished the game with 10 points and three assists.
Hauser played effectively and aggressively in the second half as he had 11 points after the break with seven defensive rebounds.
Virginia, now 2-0 in ACC play and 6-2 overall, plays next at Boston College Saturday.
Story by Scott German