Virginia bounces back, bumps off Wake Forest

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[January 09, 2017]  CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- After Virginia's loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday, its second straight defeat, head coach Tony Bennett made it known to senior guard London Perrantes that his role was different this season. Bennett preached that Perrantes needed to take his team under his wing and lead them the rest of the way.

On Sunday night, Perrantes did just that by scoring a season-high 24 points and leading No. 11 Virginia over Wake Forest 79-62 at John Paul Jones Arena.

"London had a nice game tonight, we needed that from him," Bennett said of his senior point guard. "I thought we were steady enough and made enough plays to win the game. The contribution from the upperclassmen was key."

Virginia (12-3, 2-2 ACC) used a 10-0 burst midway through the second half to pull away from a pesky Wake Forest squad that played the Cavaliers tight for 30 minutes.

Perrantes' 24 points were the most by any Virginia player this season.

The Cavaliers shot 49.1 percent for the game and connected on 9 of 19 shots from beyond the 3-point arc. Guard Marial Shayok put up a career-high 17 points while fellow guard Devon Hall scored 13 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. It was the second straight game that Hall led the Cavaliers in rebounding.

"I just told the guys to play as smart as you can, as hard as you can and as free as you can," Bennett said. "We missed some free throws, had some shaky moments, but for the most part the guys played hard and just kept playing."

Wake Forest (10-6, 1-3) was held to 40.4 percent shooting and 28.6 percent from 3-point range (6 of 21), well under their season average of over 40 percent.

"We didn't help ourselves by the way we shot the ball from beyond the arc," Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning said. "I thought at the 10-minute mark they [Virginia] got some stops, we went zone on them and they made some key shots to put us away."

The Demon Deacons put four players in double figures, led by John Collins with 16 points. Guard Bryant Crawford scored 15 points and handed out six assists. Keyshawn Woods added 12 points and Dinos Mitoglou added 11.

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Virginia Cavaliers forward Isaiah Wilkins (21) reacts after a play in the second half during a game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at John Paul Jones Arena. The Cavaliers defeated the Demon Deacons 79-62. Mandatory Credit: Patrick McDermott-USA TODAY Sports

 "I thought tonight's game for us was a tale of two halves," Manning said. "We came out in the first half and did a pretty good job of getting decent looks on the offensive end. In the second half, Virginia came out defensively and shut down some of the things we were doing well in the first half."

The teams traded leads nine times in the first half, and Wake Forest took a 29-28 advantage into the halftime break. Each team's largest lead was just four.

Virginia led 28-24 late in the half before the Demon Deacons tallied five straight points on one possession to take the one-point lead.

Wake Forest shot 42 percent in the half and was led by Mitoglou and Crawford, who tallied seven points apiece.

The Cavaliers shot at a 46 percent clip before intermission and got 10 first-half points from Shayok.

NOTES: G Darius Thompson's 3-pointer at the buzzer lifted Virginia over Wake Forest 72-72 in the two team's lone meeting last season. Thompson scored seven points Sunday. ... Virginia has won five straight meetings with the Demon Deacons. ... With its next victory, Wake Forest would match its win total from last season (11). ... The Cavaliers finished with a 37-32 rebounding edge. ... F Isaiah Wilkins recorded five of Virginia's eight blocked shots. Wake Forest finished with just three blocks.

[ 2017 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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