If you only saw the first 38 1/2 minutes of the game between Virginia and Wake Forest Tuesday night, you wouldn’t believe the final result.
In fact, the same would go if you only saw the first 39 minutes and 45 seconds. It was the Demon Deacons’ night, about to snap a four-game losing streak with a home win over a top 15 team. The Cavaliers were done.
And then they weren’t.
Virginia 72, Wake Forest 71.
UVA stole one from its longtime ACC rivals, hitting four three-pointers in the final minute (after making one all night prior). Three of those came in the final 14 seconds, as the Cavaliers rallied from down seven with less than 20 seconds left Darius Thompson delivered the game-winner, banking in a three pointer from the left corner at the buzzer (yes, the angle was as improbable as that sounds).
Prior to the final minute, Wake Forest was the better team on this night. The Demon Deacons torched Virginia’s normally reliable defense for 53.5% shooting. Bryant Crawford scored 22, Devin Thomas pitched in 19, and too often the visitors had no answer for either one. Losing this one is a crushing loss for still-building Wake.
As he often does, Malcolm Brogdon kept the Wahoos in it, scoring 28 points. The final hero, meanwhile, was Thompson, whose game-winner were his only points and who coming into the night had scored a total of 18 points all month.
Where this win takes the Cavaliers from here bears watching. UVA could get hot and still challenge for the ACC title and a very high seed in the NCAA Tournament. Or it could be the Green Bay Packers, a season not quite living up to recent lofty standards and preseason expectations, its problems only temporarily masked after its Hail Mary was answered.
Virginia goes to Louisville, Pittsburgh and Duke in its next five games and also has trips coming up to Miami (Fla.) and Clemson. We’ll find out our answer soon.
- Georgetown knows the joy Virginia was feeling last night, while Creighton knows Wake Forest’s pain. The Bluejays led the Hoyas on the road by 11 with under four minutes left, but John Thompson III slapped a press on the Jays and Georgetown rallied for a huge 74-73 win. The Hoyas are now a game up on Creighton in the Big East standings.
- Also in the Big East, Xavier showed its road toughness again with a 75-68 win at Providence. The Musketeers are looking a lot like a 2 seed in the NCAA tourney next month.
- Wisconsin continues to have Indiana’s number at the Kohl Center. The Hoosiers have not won there since the second game ever played in it in January 1998. The Badgers won 82-79 in overtime as Nigel Hayes scored 31 and freshman Ethan Happ continues to come on with 25.
- Buddy Hield was on fire from outside yet again, scoring 30 points and hitting 5 of 8 from three-point range (9 of 12 overall) in top-ranked Oklahoma‘s 91-67 roll past Texas Tech.
- Kent State continues to impress in the MAC and is now 15-5 overall after topping Eastern Michigan 73-58. Also, Akron won a showdown with Northern Illinois 76-66, dealing the Huskies just their fourth loss this year.
- In the SEC, where you can put almost everyone on the bubble: LSU held on to defeat Georgia 89-85, almost squandering a big lead late. Vanderbilt also held off a rally, edging Florida 60-59 behind a much-needed 20 points and 12 rebounds from Damian Jones.
- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is a quiet 16-3 and is now 7-0 in the Southland after a 73-63 win over SE Louisiana. Willis Wilson has done a terrific job on the island.
- Illinois State has been one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country, but the Redbirds hit 15 triples in a 76-64 win over Drake. MiKyle McIntosh is a budding star for ISU and scored 25 in this one.
- Two weeks after leaving the team due to unhappiness with his role, junior guard Carlin Dupree has returned to the North Dakota State team. According to excellent reporting by the Fargo (N.D.)Forum, Dupree has been accepted back by NDSU coach David Richman with conditions, with no timetable for when he’ll return to play with the Bison.
Tonight’s Menu: A thick schedule, but also one that largely features few matchups of heretofore strong teams.
- Clemson has been off more than a week since its last game, a narrow loss at Virginia. The Tigers can recapture their momentum by beating Pittsburgh at home.
- Texas A&M is now in the top 5 in the polls, and the Aggies will get tested but should pass the test at Arkansas (7 p.m., ESPNU).
- UNC Asheville leads the Big South, but two-time champion Coastal Carolina is lurking two games behind and hosts the Bulldogs tonight.
- Tulsa is one of those Rasputin teams-you just can’t quite put away its NCAA tourney chances. Tied for second in the AAC, the Golden Hurricane can stay ahead of teams like Connecticut and Cincinnati by picking up a decent road win at Houston (8 p.m., ESPNews), which has lost four straight after a 13-2 start and last time out lost at home to South Florida.
- It may not be Kansas, Iowa State, Oklahoma or West Virginia, and that’s exactly why Baylor has to be on alert as it travels to face Oklahoma State (9 p.m., ESPNU). OSU’s Jawun Evans has proven he can disrupt a night for ranked teams almost by himself.
- Stanford, Colorado, California and Utah are four of the six Pac-12 teams currently tied in the standings at 4-3. The Rocky Mountain schools get to host here, with the Cardinal at the Buffaloes and the Golden Bears traveling to face the Utes (11 p.m., ESPNU).
Have a wonderful Wednesday.