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No. 10 Virginia shoots past Wake Forest on the road

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Virginia missed its first six 3-point attempts on Saturday at Wake Forest, an array of open looks that the Cavaliers just couldn’t get down.

But with the Demon Deacons packing the lane and denying penetration, there was only one thing No. 10 UVa could do — keep shooting.

“We know we can shoot the ball,” guard Armaan Franklin said. “Everybody on our team knows we can get hot at any time.”

Franklin scored 25 points and had 10 rebounds, his first career double-double, and Virginia hit a season-high 15 shots from 3-point range, including seven straight after their six opening misses, as it beat Wake Forest, 76-67.

UVa (15-3, 7-2 ACC) led by as many as 19 points in the second half, but the Demon Deacons pulled within a single point, down 57-56 with 8:33 to go, before falling for the first time in 11 games at home this season.

Guard Kihei Clark scored 12 points and had four assists for the Cavaliers, who won their fifth straight.

Guard Damari Monsanto led Wake with 25 points, hitting three of his four 3-pointers in the second half as the Deacons (14-6, 6-3) mounted a furious, and ultimately unsuccessful, comeback.

“I know everybody talks about their defense. I think they’re really good on offense,” Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes said after Virginia improved to 10-0 this season when scoring 70 or more points. “I guess they showed it today.”

Relying on a small lineup for the third straight game, the Cavaliers took 34 shots from 3-point range while only attempting 26 from inside the arc. They didn’t score a 2-point basket for the first 13:58 of the second half, when Clark slipped a pass to Franklin for an unguarded, two-handed dunk that put UVa ahead 61-56.

Freshman Ryan Dunn, who had five points and a career-high eight rebounds, helped Virginia finish off Wake Forest. With both Clark and Reece Beekman saddled with four fouls for the final 10 minutes of the game, the Cavaliers leaned on Franklin and fellow rookie Isaac McKneely — and both responded.

Dunn’s put-back slam on a Franklin miss with 4:38 to go gave Virginia a 63-56 lead.

“I went to go get the rebound and I just jumped,” said Dunn, who also had a key block about four minutes earlier. “I saw the ball. I didn’t see anything else.”

UVa came out of the gates ice cold, missing its first eight shots before Ben Vander Plas rebounded a Beekman missed 3 and muscled it up inside for the Cavaliers’ first points, four minutes into the game.

It missed its first six 3-point attempts before Clark buried one from straightway with 13:16 left. Wake Forest didn’t really take advantage of the Cavaliers’ slow-shooting start, and Clark’s 3 tied the game 7-7.

Clark’s make started an unreal run where Virginia hit its next seven 3-pointers and used a 17-0 stretch to build a 29-14 lead with 7:43 left in the half. It led 42-32 at the break.

But after a first half that saw it post 14 assists and no turnovers, Virginia turned it over seven times after the break, helping Wake fight back into the contest.

“First half was really clean, moved the ball,” said UVa coach Tony Bennett, who notched his 400th career win. “Then they upped their pressure. We were maybe trying to attack a little more.”

Bennett’s team had already lost twice on the road in the ACC this season and, Saturday, Wake drew 12,443 at Lawrence Joel Coliseum, the crowd coming alive in the second half during the Deacon’s comeback bid. Bennett called it the best atmosphere at Wake Forest in his 14 seasons leading the Cavaliers.

But in holding on for a road win, UVa proved its mettle.

“I found out before the game that they hadn’t lost at home this year,” said Franklin. “This is a big win to come in here, and have the poise to stay calm when they made their run is really big for us.”

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