Cavaliers' Win Streak Snapped at Wake Forest
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -Ishmael Smith scored 21 points, had seven rebounds and six assists Saturday to lead Wake Forest past Virginia 69-57. The loss broke an eight-game UVa winning streak and was the first in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the Cavaliers this season.
Chas McFarland added 16 points and six rebounds for the Demon Deacons (14-4, 4-2 ACC), who blew the game open with an 18-1 run spanning halftime. Wake Forest got plenty of close looks early and shot 52.2 percent (12-23) from the field in the first half, while its defense completely shut down the league’s surprise first-place team. McFarland scored 12 of his points in the game’s first 20 minutes.
The Demon Deacons led 18-14 with 8:49 left in the first half and then closed the half on a 16-1 run to take a 34-15 lead into halftime. Wake Forest scored the first two points of the second half to increase its lead to 21 points (36-15). The Cavaliers went 10 minutes without a field goal during the decisive run, with Sylven Landesberg on the bench for much of that time with early foul trouble. Landesberg led UVa with 18 points in the game.
Virginia shot just 20.7 percent (6-29) from the field in the first half, including 14.3 percent (1-7) from three-point range, and was 2-6 from the free throw line. UVa’s 15 first half points were their fewest in the first 20 minutes of a game since scoring 15 points against Connecticut on Nov. 29, 1993.
The Cavaliers (12-5, 3-1) trailed by 24 points (55-31) with 8:08 left in the game before scoring 13 consecutive points to cut the Demon Deacons lead to 11 (55-44) on a three-point basket by Jeff Jones with 4:22 remaining to play. Jones had six points on two three-pointers in the UVa run. Wake Forest scored the next four points and the Cavaliers got no closer than 10 points the rest of the way, the last time with 40 seconds left in the game.
“I thought our kids played very hard against a very well-coached and hard-playing Virginia basketball team,” Wake Forest head coach Dino Gaudio said. “As you know from so many conversations over the past three years about our defense, so much of the credit goes to the Bennett family – Tony and his dad Dick. I’m glad we guarded as well as we did today and our kids did a really good job on the defensive end of the floor. I thought we lost our focus a little bit down the stretch.”
Al-Farouq Aminu finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Demon Deacons.
Jones and Mustapha Farrakhan each scored 10 points for the Cavaliers.
For the game Wake Forest shot 52.3 percent (23-44) from the field, including 30 percent (3-10) from three-point range, and 69 percent (20-29) from the free throw line. The Demon Deacons out-rebounded the Cavaliers 42-29.
Virginia shot 33.8 percent (22-65) from the field in the game, including 23.8 percent (5-21) from three-point range, and 50 percent (8-16) from the free throw line. The Cavaliers tied their season high with 12 steals and forced 24 Wake Forest turnovers.
“Not a whole lot to say, I think we got outplayed early and often,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said after the game. “They were really aggressive, they kind of hit us in the mouth with their play on the offensive glass and we had way too many breakdowns defensively. I think that affected us; they had so many easy hoops.
“You’re going to have games where you struggle to shoot the ball, which showed at the free throw line tonight. Usually our defense is good enough to keep us in there until we can get something going offensively, but that wasn’t the case today and then certainly some foul trouble hurt us. You have to credit Wake Forest, they did the job, they were aggressive, they were ready. We made a nice run at the end, there was some effort shown that we didn’t die, but the game got out of hand too soon and it was just a mad dash to get a chance.”
Virginia was picked to finish 11th in the 12-team ACC, but entered as the last unbeaten team in league play for the first time since the 1994-95 season. The Cavaliers’ eight-game winning streak was their longest in six years.