No. 10 Virginia Knocks Off No. 14 Wake Forest, 86-74
Jan 15, 2002
By HANK KURZ Jr.
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The last time Virginia played at home, Roger Mason Jr. tried to do it all by himself down the stretch, came up empty more often that not and the Cavaliers lost to North Carolina State.
On Tuesday night, with No. 14 Wake Forest in town, Mason had far more help in helping lead No. 10 Virginia to an 86-74 victory over the Demon Deacons.
“For us to be a big-time team, it can’t be just one person,” Mason said after scoring 25 points, eight after a trip to the locker room to have his right shoulder popped back into place. “We’ve got a lot of people that can do a lot of things. It was nice to see other guys step up.”
This time, there were plenty.
The Cavaliers hit nine of their first 10 shots to open the second half, using a 24-14 run to take a 65-53 lead. Mason started the half with the fifth of his seven 3-pointers, and Watson finished it with the second of his three three-point plays, all coming in the second half.
The Cavaliers, who never clicked in their 81-74 loss to the Wolfpack, played like a team at its peak after rallying to lead 41-39 at halftime.
“We just kept going at them,” Watson said. “The scores kept going back and forth. We knew we needed to get a stop and we looked up and were up by 13 or something. Coach told us to attack them and we did.”
No one more than Watson, who more than once stood scowling over the player who had hacked him, then calmly made the free throw.
“Watson was absolutely terrific inside,” Demon Deacons coach Skip Prosser said. “He was a dominant player inside, and obviously Roger Mason was a dominant player outside.”
Wake Forest (13-4, 3-1) was seeking its fifth consecutive ACC road victory dating to last season, but couldn’t contend with the barrage of three-point trips for the Cavaliers. Virginia was 10-for-18 on 3-pointers – 5-for-9 in each half – and had four three-point plays in all, three after the break.
Virginia, which ended a two-game losing streak to begin conference play Saturday by winning at North Carolina for only the second time in 17 attempts, outshot the Demon Deacons 49 percent-42 percent.
The victory was bittersweet for Virginia coach Pete Gillen, coming against Prosser, a first-year coach and his former assistant.
“It wasn’t a good experience for me,” Gillen said. “I don’t take any joy in going against as assistant, win or lose. Some people like coaching against friends. I don’t. I feel badly because I know they are in pain.”
Josh Howard led Wake Forest with 19 points and Broderick Hicks had 12. Darius Songaila had 11, six below his team-leading average.
Virginia erased a nine-point deficit over a span of 4:14 in the first half, holding Wake Forest scoreless while Mason hit consecutive 3-pointers, Williams scored on a drive and Watson hit a turnaround 8-footer.
The burst gave Virginia a 32-31 lead and began a back-and-forth duel in which the next eight baskets all produced lead changes, the last on Mason’s shot clock-beating 3-pointer 4.8 seconds before halftime.
The Demon Deacons hit 11 of their first 17 shots, including four 3-pointers, and led 27-17 midway through the half before going cold.