Saturday, February 04, 2006

Virginia Survives Wake 75-73

When you're the co-captain, it must be fun to try and outdo your counterpart.

In the Wake Forest v. Virginia game, Sean Singletary has 19 points, but J.R. Reynolds had 21. Those two proved critical, for Reynolds made a huge jumper with 3.8 seconds to go that would prove to be the game winner for Virginia in an epic 75-73 duel.

Singletary still deserves some credit, his performance was Herculean with 8 assists and 6 rebounds to go with the 19 points. Freshman Mamadi Diane had 10 rebounds, the biggest coming with less than a minute in the game in the 73 stalemate. His offensive board allowed UVA to hold for the last shot and secure the win.

"The guys gave him an ovation in the lockerroom after the game." Head coach Dave Leitao said. "We told them at halftime that you can make other contributions in the game. If you defend, rebound, move your feet, those kinds of things, you'll find yourself much more involved in the game. He did a tremendous job."

The win was not assured though until Justin Grey of the Demon Deacons hit the rim on a long three at the buzzer. He didn't miss much though, scoring 18 points and 5 assists to lead his team. Big men Trent Strickland and C Eric Williams helped out with 17 and 14 points respectively. The shocking stat in this game was rebounding. Wake Forest came into the game wit the biggest rebounding margin in the ACC. They were outrebounded 47-25. Virginia had 21 offensive rebounds compared to WF's 5 and 19 second chance points compared to the Deacs 6. This proved critical for Wake's shooting proved to be incredible, shooting 51% for the game, 60% in the second half.

Of course some of that offensive efficiency came from defensive breakdowns. Virginia had trouble containing the big men and got in some foul trouble early and often. The symphony of whistles brought on an unsatisfied fan base who seemed ready to put on the black and white jerseys themselves. This led to a very chippy second half, 20 fouls for each team in total.

The loss sends Wake Forest spiraling. Already last in the ACC before this game, they put a little cushion on the cellar with a 1-8 record, 12-10 overall. They seem like a team full of talent that can't seem to get things together. Skip Prosser must be feeling like nothing can go right for his team, his losing 8 of the last 9 games seems rather reminiscent of his mentor Pete Gillen.

Gillen's successor Dave Leitao has his team at 11-8, 5-4 in the ACC. The road towards the NIT could have taken a huge hit but it didn't. Wake Forest went on a 22-9 run in the first half that threw UVA for a loop. Leitao had a technical foul after throwing his jacket on the floor. He is one passionate man, and his team resembles him. When the chips were down, Virginia responded yet to see another day.

Next up for Virginia are the Maryland Terrapins. The Terps are 4-3 in the ACC, 14-6 overall. UVA's rival from the north looks to be in good shape for the NCAA tournament but are hurting as of late because of Chris McCray's academic ineligibility. McCray was the heart and soul of Maryland and his absence gives the Cavaliers a much better chance. Virginia took the Wolfpack down to the wire, they certainly should be able to do the same at College Park. The Cavaliers will look to their own depth and hope that T.J. Bannister can come back after two games sat out. If he can, watch out ACC, Virginia is not done yet.


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