Cold-shooting Cavaliers Fall To No. 19 Wake Forest, 92-70
Feb 17, 2002
By DAVID DROSCHAK
AP Sports Writer
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Skip Prosser was concerned after his team allowed more than 100 points in consecutive games.
The first-year coach of No. 19 Wake Forest can rest easy after a 92-70 victory over No. 15 Virginia on Sunday night.
Darius Songaila scored a career-high 30 points on near-perfect shooting, and Craig Dawson added 17 in the 22-point blowout.
“My trepidation factor was incredibly high,” Prosser said. “I don’t know these guys as well as I would if I recruited them and how they would respond. This game doesn’t built character, it reveals character and I think our kids showed tremendous character.”
The Demon Deacons (18-8, 8-4) remained in third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference, snapping a four-game skid against ranked teams.
Wake Forest had given up consecutive 100-point games for the first time since 1982-83, but held Virginia to 34 percent shooting while hitting 58 percent.
“We couldn’t defend,” Virginia coach Pete Gillen said. “They just carved us up.”
Songaila sank his first 10 shots and finished 11-for-13 from the field, 8-for-8 from the foul line with 11 rebounds. His previous high point total was 29 against Florida State earlier this season.
“I kind of lost count,” Songaila said when asked if he knew how many hoops he made in a row. “I get too involved in a game emotionally. I hope 30-and-11 is one of my better games. Whatever I have to do to win the game.”
“I feel privileged to coach Darius Songaila,” Prosser added. “He’s smart, he’s tough, he’s selfless.”
Dawson tied an ACC record with 11 3-pointers in a 118-115 loss to Clemson on Wednesday night, and remained hot beyond the arc, going 5-for-9.
“We got off the deck and played perhaps our best game of the year, especially when you consider the quality of the opposition,” Prosser said. “To me, the telling stat is 26 assists on 33 baskets. We shared the ball exceedingly well.”
The Cavaliers (16-7, 6-6), picked in the preseason to finish third in the ACC, fell to .500 in the league and remained in fifth place with games left against Duke and Maryland – the top two teams.
Roger Mason Jr. led the way with a career-high 31 points, but got little help from his teammates. Mason’s previous best was 30 against Gonzaga last season.
Wake Forest didn’t start its normal lineup, but it mattered little.
Josh Howard sat out with a bad left ankle, and Vytas Danelius started in place of Antwan Scott, who was late for practice. The freshman made the most of his first start, scoring 13 points and grabbing eight rebounds.
Virginia trailed by as many as 22 in the first half and closed within 13 twice early in the second period.
But the Demon Deacons went on a 14-4 run over the next four minutes to take a 71-48 lead with 12:10 left. Dawson had a fastbreak layup early in the spurt, then closed it with a 3-pointer.
“Coach knew in the back of his mind we were a good basketball team, but we proved to him we’re a tough basketball team,” Wake Forest senior Ervin Murray said. “We just weren’t going to lay down and let things happen to us.”
The Cavaliers missed 15 of their first 20 shots and never recovered.
Dawson and Songaila did most of the offensive damage for Wake Forest in the opening half as Songaila had 18 points, and Dawson made four 3-pointers.
Virginia fell behind by 21 with 3:47 left in the first half before Mason made a 3-pointer and four free throws in a span of 54 seconds to close to 45-31.
But Broderick Hicks and Dawson each hit 3-pointers over the next 2:20 as the Demon Deacons took an 18-point lead into the locker room, making 7 of 10 beyond the arc.
While Dawson and Songaila combined for 30 of Wake Forest’s points at the break, Virginia’s frontcourt was a combined 2-for-14 from the field for eight points in one of the team’s more forgettable periods of the season.
“You can’t dig a hole like that on the road against a very good team, and they’re a very good team,” Gillen said.