Box Score | Postgame Notes | Video Highlights | UVA Men’s Basketball on Twitter | Jeff White’s Twitter | Subscribe to UVA Insider Articles

By Jeff White (
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. –– Little has come easily this season for the University of Virginia men’s basketball team, and so it was again Sunday afternoon at Wake Forest’s Lawrence Joel Coliseum.
After an unnecessarily dramatic ending to regulation, however, the Cavaliers steadied themselves in overtime. One final defensive stop preserved a 65-63 win over Wake for Virginia.
“To come away with this one was important,” UVA head coach Tony Bennett said, “because in this league, as you’re seeing, whoever’s ready and whoever’s playing the best [that day] has a chance.”
The Wahoos, who improved to 13-6 overall, are 5-4 in ACC play. In each of those four conference defeats, Virginia stumbled late after putting itself in position to win.
“We were in a bunch of games,” redshirt junior Jay Huff said, “and we just didn’t close.”
Huff smiled. “Despite our best efforts, we managed to finish this one off with a win.”
The Cavaliers could have––and probably should have––won this one in regulation, but guard Casey Morsell made a freshman mistake and fouled Wake’s Andrien White on a 3-point attempt with 1.7 seconds left. White calmly sank all three free throws to make it 56-56, and the game went to overtime.
Two weeks after an overtime loss to Syracuse at John Paul Jones Arena, Virginia never trailed in this extra period. Junior swingman Tomas Woldetensae’s career-high seventh 3-pointer, with 3:51 to play, put the Hoos up 61-58, but Wake (9-10, 2-7) continued to push back.

Each time the Hoos scored, the Demon Deacons answered. After a Woldetensae miss, Wake called time out with 8.2 seconds remaining and UVA leading 65-63. The ball ended up in the hands of 7-0 center Olivier Sarr, who, well-defended by the 6-9 Diakite, did not get off a shot before time expired.
“I thought we showed some great grit and resolve in overtime,” Bennett said.
That grit was apparent in the second half, too. After falling behind by 12, Virginia battled back. Morsell’s fast-break layup with 8:09 left put the Hoos up 46-44, their first lead of the second half, and a Woldetensae trey made it 49-46 with 4:23 to play.
“There’s so many possessions in a game, and you just keep knocking, keep playing, and the guys showed some [fight],” Bennett said.
So did Wake, which played without its top two scorers, Brandon Children (15.2 ppg) and Chaundee Brown (13.3 ppg), who are out with injuries. A 5-0 run put the Deacons up 51-49, and after UVA point guard Kihei tied the game with a short jump shot, Wake answered with two free throws to take a 53-51 lead.
The Cavaliers didn’t panic. Woldetensae, a junior-college transfer, drove the right baseline and then fired a pass to the 7-1 Huff in the left corner. Huff, in foul trouble most of the game, had yet to score or even attempt a shot, but he buried a 3-pointer that put Virginia back in front, 54-53.
“To come in off the bench and bang that 3, my hat goes off to him, because that was huge,” Bennett said.
Clark said: “Coach always says, ‘Be ready when your number’s called.’ He came right off the bench and banged a 3, ice cold. Big shot for him.”
With 19.6 seconds to play, Clark hit both ends of a one-and-one, pushing UVA’s lead to 56-53, and Wake called a timeout nine seconds later to set up a final play. Bennett instructed his players to foul on the floor if the opportunity arose, but not to take any undue risks, as Morsell ultimately did.
“That was the plan, and sometimes the best-laid plans,” Bennett said, shaking his head.
The other Cavaliers’ message to Morsell?
“We told him, ‘Forget about it. There’s nothing you can do about that. It happened,’ ” Huff said. “Obviously it wasn’t a great play, but he’s a first-year, and he’ll learn from it. I think that it’s better that it happened today when we finished off with a win.”
Woldetensae led the Cavaliers with a career-high 21 points, Diakite scored 16, and Clark added 13. Braxton Key, like the 5-9 Clark, grabbed eight rebounds for UVA, but the 6-8 senior was 2 for 16 from the floor and 3 for 9 from the line.
UVA played without sophomore swingman Kody Stattmann, who suffered a concussion in practice late in the week and didn’t travel with the team to Winston-Salem.
LIGHTS OUT: On an afternoon when his teammates were a combined 1 for 16 from 3-point range against Wake’s matchup zone defense, Woldetensae was 7 for 14.
“If anybody can make shots, it’s big for us,” Clark said. “So kudos to him.”
Bennett said: “We’ll take anybody making them. Good game for Tomas.”
Woldetensae, who’s from Italy, played at a junior college last season. At UVA, “I think he’s continuing to learn the system and where he can be aggressive,” Bennett said. “He’s unaffected. He’s not afraid to shoot, and I like that.
“He’ll make two or three and he might shoot an airball, and then take the next one, and I like that. And he’s lefty, so that’s another good thing. And he’s Italian, so that’s even another good thing.”
Woldetensae’s seven 3-pointers are the most by a Cavalier since Kyle Guy had seven against NC State in last year’s ACC tournament. For the season, Woldetensae leads Virginia with 27 treys and is shooting a team-high 35.5 percent from long range.
“It’s just shown that the extra work I’ve put in the last couple of months [is paying off], and I’m happy with it,” Woldetensae said.
ROUGH STRETCH: Wake shot only 31.5 percent from the floor Sunday, but the Cavaliers’ Pack Line defense was far from perfect.
After the Deacons missed 14 of their first 15 shots from the floor, they heated up in a hurry. Wake made 8 of its final 9 shots in the first half, including six 3-pointers. In a span of 8 minutes, 34 seconds, the Deacons scored 31 points.
V.I.P. SECTION: Fans behind the Cavaliers’ bench included Charlotte head coach Ron Sanchez and two members of his staff at the Conference USA school, Vic Sfera and Marcus Conrad. All helped Bennett build UVA into a national power.
REST IN PEACE: Before the national anthem was sung Sunday, a moment of silence was observed in memory of Gene Corrigan, who died early Saturday in Charlottesville.
Mr. Corrigan, a former ACC commissioner and NCAA president, also held several positions at UVA, coaching lacrosse, soccer and basketball, working as sports information director and, finally, serving as director of athletics. 
SOUND BITES: The victory was the Cavaliers’ eighth straight over Wake. Among the postgame comments:
• Bennett: “Hopefully we showed some grit and we’re moving that needle a little closer to having some composure down the stretch, and that’s a process.”
• Woldetensae on the late-game pressure: “It was tense, yes, but … we’ve pretty much had games like this the past three, four ACC games, and I believe we were more experienced today and we had the ability to come through.”
• Bennett: “There were certainly good moments for both teams, and there were certainly some head-scratching moments. That’s part of teams continuing to try to find themselves and grow through different experiences.”
• Huff on Woldetensae: “We’ve all known that he could do that type of thing on a given night. We’re lucky he picked today to do it.”
• Clark on Woldetensae: “I know he works. We know it was only a matter of time before he started making shots consistently.”
• Woldetensae on Huff’s trey: “It was amazing. I knew they were focusing on my 3-point shot, and so I had to drive it and facilitate for my teammate.”
• Head coach Danny Manning on Wake’s injuries: “[Those] are some things that teams go through. I told our guys that I was proud of the effort they put in. Don’t like the outcome, because I want to win. I thought our guys came out and showed great spirit to battle the way they did.”
BACK AT IT: For the second straight week, the Cavaliers are facing a quick turnaround after a road game. UVA (13-6, 5-4) hosts No. 5 Florida State (17-2, 7-1) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at John Paul Jones Arena.
A limited number of tickets remain for the game, which ESPN will televise.
Florida State edged visiting Notre Dame 85-84 on Saturday.
This will be the second game in two weeks between UVA and FSU. The Seminoles edged the Hoos 54-50 on Jan. 15 in Tallahassee, Fla.