No. 11 Virginia Downs Demon Deacs, 82-71
Feb. 3, 2001
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – On what could be a big night for Virginia’sfuture, the No. 11 Cavaliers gave a big boost to the present.
Donald Hand scored 21 points, Roger Mason Jr. added 19 and Virginia used a15-6 run midway through the second half and tough defense to pull away for an82-71 victory over No. 16 Wake Forest on Saturday night.
Coach Pete Gillen called it the best victory of the year for Virginia (16-4,5-4 ACC), and it was the third straight to come in impressive fashion.
“It was not any X’s and O’s,” Gillen said. “Nothing fancy. They just dugdown. I thought we did it with character, with defense.”
Adam Hall, a 6-foot-5 swingman who tied the ACC high with 17 rebounds,called it sweet revenge for a 96-73 beating the Cavaliers absorbed at WakeForest after having climbed to No. 8 in the Top 25.
“After what they did to us down there, it was revenge,” Hall said. “Thisteam is out to prove a point that we belong where we’re ranked.”
They picked a great time to show it, too, with a raucous, sellout crowd onhand mindful not only of the importance of the game, but also of the presenceof several prize recruits in football and basketball.
In the final minutes, with the Cavaliers’ lead safe, the crowd beganchanting “We want Diop! We want Diop!” in the direction of 7-footer DeSaganaDiop of Oak Hill Academy, one of the nation’s most highly sought recruits, whohad played at University Hall earlier Saturday.
Diop finally rose from his seat, getting a thunderous ovation.
“The three studs, Watson, Hand and Williams, all came to life at the sametime,” Wake Forest coach Dave Odom said of the second half. “They put theball in their hands, spread the court and drove it at us.”
The loss was the sixth in nine games for the Demon Deacons (15-6, 4-5), whohave struggled since starting with 12 straight wins.
“We want to be playing the kind of basketball I think Virginia is playingright now, and we want to be playing it before Tuesday night,” Odom said,looking ahead to a home game against No. 4 North Carolina.
The game turned decidedly in the Cavaliers’ favor in a rapid series ofevents that started about two minutes into the second half.
First, Watson emerged from the locker room, drawing a huge roar from a crowdsilenced when he hit the court hard late in the first half, laying prone forabout five minutes before being helped to the locker room.
With the crowd still roaring, Williams hit a 3-pointer from the left wing,Hand hit one from left of the key and Mason hit two penalty free throws afterDarius Songaila drew a technical.
The foul, Songaila’s fourth, sent him to the bench, and when Williams addeda baby hook 13 seconds later, Virginia had a 10-0 run, a 44-36 lead and allsigns pointing to a night of sweet revenge for the Cavaliers.
The Demon Deacons got within four twice, but each time Virginia answered,finally using the 15-6 run to take a comfortable 65-50 lead.
Craig Dawson and Josh Howard led the Demon Deacons with 14 points each.Songaila, who was 11-for-12 and had 27 points in the first meeting between theteams, finished 3-for-7 from the field with 12 points.