Virginia-Wake Forest Preview
Still missing one of its top scorers, Virginia could also be without its starting point guard when it tries to win at Wake Forest for the first time in 15 years Wednesday night.
Looking to remain undefeated on the road, the second-ranked Cavaliers aren’t certain injured sophomore London Perrantes will be available to help keep the Demon Deacons from a fourth straight home victory.
Even with 11 points from the light-scoring Perrantes, Virginia (25-1, 13-1 ACC) needed a final stop to win 61-60 over Wake Forest on Feb. 14. That was the second game the Cavaliers played since guard Justin Anderson, averaging 13.4 points, suffered a finger injury that could sideline him the remainder of the regular season.
In addition, Perrantes (5.9 points, 4.4 assists per game) is day to day with a mild concussion and broken nose suffered in a collision with teammate Malcolm Brogdon during Sunday’s 51-41 win over Florida State. That could leave the ACC leaders with an even tougher challenge in this rematch.
However, the Cavaliers remain confident as they look for a seventh consecutive victory. They’re trying to go 10-0 on the road for the first time since 1980-81.
"You never know what’s going to happen," freshman guard Devon Hall said. "It was just a matter of us being ready and being able to step up and make plays."
If Perrantes is unable to play, Brogdon, Hall and fellow freshman Marial Shayok could all spend time at the point. Shayock had seven points and six rebounds but no assists and three turnovers in 24 minutes Sunday. Hall scored two in 12 minutes.
"Obviously, (Perrantes) is a big part of our offense. I also think that we have a lot of great players that can come in," said forward Anthony Gill, who had a team highs of 13 points and nine rebounds Sunday.
Virginia has averaged 55.2 points and not shot better than 45.3 percent in a five-game stretch that began with a 52-47 victory over then-No. 9 Louisville on Feb. 7, in which Anderson was injured. The Cavaliers, though, have kept winning thanks to their defense, as they lead the nation with 50.5 points allowed per game.
Virginia has given up 48.8 points and 36.7 percent shooting in the past five contests.
"We’re in a good place this year, and we’ll keep plugging," coach Tony Bennett said.
Wake Forest (12-15, 4-10) shot 48 percent in the first half, but went 7 of 19 in the second and yielded 20 points off 11 total turnovers while getting outscored 34-14 in the paint Feb. 14. It still had a chance to win before Brogdon forced a game-ending turnover as Cody Miller-McIntyre drove to the basket.
"That’s great team defense and that’s why they are where they are," Deacons coach Danny Manning said. "For us, we have to a better job in that situation."
Wake Forest hopes to be better in Winston-Salem, where it’s won three in a row by nine points and Virginia has dropped 10 straight since its only victory in the last 16 visits, 76-67 on Jan. 30, 2000. The Cavaliers, however, last played there in January 2013 when they were an NIT-bound squad and not one that’s posted 55 wins in less than two seasons.
Gill had 19 points in the first meeting with Wake Forest, while 6-foot-10 Deacons freshman Konstantinos Mitoglou scored 18.
Devin Thomas, averaging 12.9 points and 9.4 rebounds, was held to three points and five boards in 16 minutes while dealing with foul trouble against the Cavaliers. He had 26 and 11 in last Tuesday’s 88-75 loss at then-No. 10 Notre Dame.
Wake Forest is 0-5 against Top 25 teams this season.