Virginia rallies from 12 down, beats Wake Forest in OT

uva basketballWake Forest led by 12 with 17:36 to go, but defense and Tomas Woldetensae made up the deficit for a Virginia team that really needed that 65-63 win in Winston-Salem on Sunday.

First, the defense: the Demon Deacons (9-10, 2-7 ACC) led 40-28 on a Jahcobi Neath dunk at the aforementioned 17:36 mark.

They’d score 13 points over the next 17:35, needing three free throws on a chintzy call on Casey Morsell, who was whistled for a foul on Andrien White behind the arc with 1.7 seconds left.

White made all three to force the extra period, where a Woldetensae three with 3:55 left gave Virginia (13-6, 5-4 ACC) the lead for good.

About Woldy: wow. The JUCO transfer was 7-of-14 from three-point range on the afternoon to finish with a career-high 21 points in 43 minutes.

He also assisted on a big three from the left corner by Jay Huff that put Virginia on top in the final minute of regulation.

Over his last 11 games, Woldetensae is 24-of-55 (43.6 percent) from three. The ‘Hoos have their guy on the perimeter.

And boy, did they need him Sunday.

His teammates were a collective 1-of-16 from three. Casey Morsell missed five, Kihei Clark and Braxton Key missed four each.

Key had a particularly abysmal day on the offensive end: 2-of-16 shooting from the field, an atrocious 3-of-9 from the free-throw line.

Key did give UVA eight rebounds.

Clark had 13 points on 4-of-11 shooting, connected on all five of his free-throw attempts, had eight rebounds, and dished out seven assists.

Mamadi Diakite had a nice 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting along with seven rebounds.

Huff had just three points, and the three in the final minute was his only shot attempt. He also fouled out after playing only 13 minutes.

Today, the shrinking violet Huff was on full display, if you can say that.

The defense was dominant for roughly 33 of the 45 minutes. Wake missed 14 straight shots at one point the first half, but then made seven straight – repeat, for emphasis: seven straight – from three during a torrid 10-of-14 stretch.

Over the last 22:36, then, the Deacs were 6-for-25 from the floor, so, for the 33 good minutes, the UVA D held Wake to 7-of-40 shooting, with an otherwise inexplicable insane hot streak in the middle of all that.

Credit to the Virginia team, then, for surviving that insanity, and also for not falling victim to the big call on Morsell on the three attempt from White in the closing seconds of regulation.

That one seemed to foretell another late collapse by a Virginia team that had leads in the final four minutes of all four of its ACC losses.

Next up for Virginia: fifth-ranked Florida State (17-2, 7-1 ACC), Tuesday at 7 p.m. in JPJ.

Story by Chris Graham

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