No. 10 Virginia holds off Wake Forest 76-67
Published 5:27 pm Saturday, January 21, 2023
By Aaron Beard
AP Basketball Writer
WINSTON-SALEM — Armaan Franklin scored 18 of his 25 points during the first half and No. 10 Virginia survived blowing nearly all of a 19-point lead to beat Wake Forest 76-67 on Saturday.
Kihei Clark added 12 points despite getting into foul trouble for the Cavaliers (15-3, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference). But it was a day of wild swings for Virginia, who went from missing its first eight shots to suddenly being unable to miss to go up 34-15 — only to see the Demon Deacons push back to within a single point with 8 1/2 minutes left.
Yet Virginia hung on, coming up with just enough timely baskets and stops to end Wake Forest’s recent surge up the league standings.
Damari Monsanto had a career-high 25 points for the Demon Deacons (14-6, 6-3), highlighted by making 7 of 15 3-pointers with a stroke that looked confident and in-rhythm all day. The last two gave Wake Forest its final gasp, with Monsanto following his sixth 3 with another after a Virginia turnover to cut the deficit to 71-67 with 52.5 seconds left.
But Clark hit two free throws to push the margin back to six, then Tyree Appleby capped a rough offensive day by missing a driving layup after getting past Franklin. Clark followed with two more to stretch the lead back out to 75-67 and start sending fans to the exits.
The Cavaliers shot 40% for the game but made 15 of 34 3-pointers, with Franklin hitting four during the 30-8 first-half run that pushed Virginia to its huge lead that took an energetic crowd out of it early.
The Demon Deacons clawed back to within 10 by halftime, then kept inching closer and closer until finally getting to within 57-56 on Appleby’s free throws with 8:33 left.
But Virginia never surrendered its slim margin.
Reece Beekman hit two free throws, Franklin threw down a dunk off a feed from Clark then Ryan Dunn dunked home a missed drive from Franklin to push the lead back out to 63-56.
The win marked the 400th career victory for Virginia’s Tony Bennett, now in his 14th season with Virginia and 17th overall.
Virginia: The Cavaliers hung on to win their fifth straight game since losing to Pittsburgh on Jan. 3, which has kept them near the top of the league standings behind No. 19 Clemson.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons had been rolling coming into this one. They had won four straight games, with Tuesday’s win against Clemson — which was 7-0 in ACC play — marking a third in a row by a double-digit margin. The Demon Deacons responded well after digging themselves a huge hole, but they didn’t have enough to push through against a team that has been regarded as possibly the ACC’s best as the season has gone on.
Virginia: Hosts Boston College next Saturday.
Wake Forest: At Pittsburgh on Wednesday.
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