Wake got off to a quick start, taking a 17-8 lead early in the game and leading by two at the break before falling 72-71 at home to the Virginia Cavaliers on a Darius Thompson buzzer beating three - his first points of the night.
The first half saw Wake play some of their best basketball of the season, especially over the first ten minutes. Senior Devin Thomas was seeing a lot of the ball from the opening tip, recording a bucket off a goaltending call for the first basket of the game. Wake saw success early getting the ball inside, but was also draining shots from the outset and started 7-10 from the field. Point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre drilled a jumper off a fast break and was fouled to set an early tone about how the Deacs were shooting.
Unfortunately, Wake's shooting cooled down from the hot start but the Deacs still took a 26-24 lead into the half and shot 50% from the field despite going 0-8 from outside the arc. Thomas recorded 9 points and 4 boards in the first half while Malcolm Brogden of Virginia kicked in 10 of the Cavs 24 points over the first 20 minutes and ended up with a game-high 28 points. Virginia was only marginally better from outside, opening 1-9 from behind the arc. The Deacs controlled the glass and led 18-10 at the break.
Both teams got off to a slow start in the second half and Wake led 29-28 with four minutes gone off the clock. After a Demon Deacon basket, Devin Thomas rolled his ankle in the paint and left to go to the locker room in obvious pain and Wake up by 3 with just over 15 minutes left. Even without Thomas inside Wake went on a quick spurt with him out of the game and when the senior big man jogged back out of the locker room with just under 12 minutes left on the clock, the Deacs had stretched the lead out to 37-32. As Thomas made his way to the scorer's table to check in, Cornelius Hudson buried a three from the wing to give the Deacs a 40-32 lead going into the under-12 minute timeout.
The Deacs maintained the lead into the under 8 timeout behind two threes and a massive breakaway slam from freshman Bryant Crawford to give him 17 total points for the contest. Quick ball movement on the offensive end of the court gave the Deacs several open looks from outside and after an 0-9 start in the first half from outside, finally started hitting some threes and took a 52-38 lead.
Tony Bennett's squad bounced back with two quick buckets to get within 52-42 with 6:13 left in the game, prompting Danny Manning to use his second timeout of the game to quell the Cavalier tide. Mitch Wilbekin drilled a three to stretch the Deacon lead back out to 55-44, but Virginia responded to cut the lead back to 9 with 4:30 left. With Thomas getting double teamed inside, Virginia was able to get pressure on him and force some turnovers to get the ball back on offense.
Both teams traded quick baskets and Wake took a 57-48 lead into the under four timeout. The Deacs took another double-digit lead behind an absolutely vicious slam dunk by Thomas on an and-one. He made the back end of it to stretch Wake's lead to 64-54 with 1:23 remaining but the Cavaliers kept fighting back, cutting the lead to 64-61 with just under a minute remaining.
After a pair of Devin Thomas free throws, the Hoos responded with a dunk to cut the lead to 66-63 with 45 seconds left. Crawford redeemed himself and drilled two critical free throws to make amends for two earlier misses. Wake had the ball up 70-63 with 20 seconds left but turned the ball over and UVA hit a three. After missed free throws, UVA drilled another three and ultimately Thompson drilled a three to win it after Crawford made one of two free throws for a 71-69 lead with 4 seconds left. Virginia was able to capitalize on Wake's missed free throws to hit three threes in the final 25 seconds of the game and stun the Demon Deacons 72-71 in Winston-Salem.
Really not much more to say about this one then that's crushing. As always, go Deacs.