Wake Forest used a balanced performance to overcome a pesky Virginia squad 70-60 Saturday afternoon in Charlottesville. While it was not a signature performance for the Demon Deacons, any road win in the ACC is huge at this point. Click through for our complete postgame coverage...
While it was not the prettiest victory, Wake Forest needed this one in a bad way. They had not won on the road since the Clemson game on January 17th and needed a win to keep their focus on getting the second or third seed in the ACC tournament.
The Deacs played early well, jumping out to a nine point advantage behind six straight points by junior center Chas McFarland. While it seemed promising early, UVA never let the lead get out of hand and kept it within single digits throughout the game. A couple big dunks by Al-Farouq Aminu that were assisted by Ish Smith and James Johnson helped Wake close out the first half successfully. The second half was more of the same for both teams. Virginia would battle back several times behind some nice shots by Calvin Baker and Mike Scott, but ultimately Jeff Teague's trifecta and McFarland's three-point play closed the game out with around two minutes to play.
This game was different than most Wake games for several different reasons. First, Wake only shot 43.1percent from the field, far worse than their 50 percent average on the season. These problems extended beyond actual game play, as Wake missed 12 of their 30 free throw attempts. Luckily for the Deacons, Virginia only shot 41 percent from the floor and LD Williams once again stepped up big and held Sylven Landesberg to only 10 points on 3-10 shooting.
Also, this game did not feature one big scorer as many of Wake's games do. Aminu, McFarland and Teague all finished with 12 points while Smith and Johnson adding 10 and 8, respectively. Baker and Diane led the Wahoos with 13 and 12. Another big factor in the game was the play of Wake's big men, out-rebounding the Cavs by 14 and allowing only 4 offensive rebounds. Wake will need to continue to crash the boards like this for the remainder of the season if they are going to make some noise in March.
Overall, this game was not pretty by any stretch of the imagination. Poor shooting and a combined 32 turnovers contributed to much frustration on both ends of the court. However, it was nice to see the Deacs grind one out and pick up a big road win on the last day of February on only one day of rest. Unfortunately, it only gets tougher for the Deacons as they head to Maryland on another short turnaround to take on the Terps Tuesday night at nine. This is sure to be a tough game because Maryland is fighting for its tournament life, while Wake is trying to secure a nice seed for both of the post season tournaments. It certainly helps that Clemson dropped another game today against the Seminoles and FSU still has to go to Cameron to take on the Devils. While it would be nice for Wake to get some momentum and beat both Maryland and Clemson next week, it seems that they might only have to win one of those games to get the three-seed.
And just for good measures, here's a little clip of the And One-style performance that is often contributed by James Johnson:
Wake Forest Alley Oop! (via DeaconSports)