CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — With the game on the line, Malcolm Brogdon and No. 2 Virginia just needed to get one stop.
Brogdon found himself matched up one-on-one with Wake Forest’s best crunch time player, Cody Miller-McIntyre, and had to figure the outcome was hanging in the balance. Brogdon won, preventing Miller-McIntyre from driving past him and causing a game-ending turnover Saturday as the Cavaliers held on after blowing almost all of a 13-point second-half lead in a 61-60 victory against the Demon Deacons.
“I knew he wanted to get by me,” Brogdon said. “He’s not a shooter. He’s a slasher. I knew he was going to try to get into my body and I just tried to square him up and stay in front of him, and he coughed up the ball.”
Brogdon’s backcourt mate, London Perrantes, wasn’t surprised by the outcome.
“It’s nothing new with Malcolm. He does that in practice,” Perrantes said. “When it comes down to the last possession, especially on defense, I feel like that’s where we’re most comfortable. … We just strap up and play the play out.”
Anthony Gill scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half, including nine in a 27-67 run to start the half, and Brogdon and Perrantes added 11 points each for the Cavaliers (23-1, 11-1 Atlantic Coast Conference), who trailed 31-24 at the half.
Virginia seemed likely to keep padding the lead, as it has so many times this season, after opening a 13-point lead, but Wake Forest (12-14, 4-9) wasn’t on board, riding the 3-point shooting of Dinos Mitoglou, who hit six and scored 18 points.
The Demon Deacons had a chance to tie when Miller-McIntyre had two free throws with 16.5 seconds to play. He made the first, but missed the second, but was able to chase down his own rebound. After a timeout, they got the ball to Miller-McIntyre, and as the final seconds ticked off and he looked to make a move, he lost control of the ball.
Brogdon was credited with a steal on the play, but said he never touched the ball.
“There’ll be lots of people that look to the last minute or so of the ballgame, but for me, I saw those omissions that if we corrected them it wouldn’t have been that close down the stretch,” first-year Deacons coach Danny Manning said, listing Virginia 34 points in the paint, 20 points off turnovers and his own team’s 12-for-22 free throw shooting as problems.
And the learning experience?
“We’ve had a lot of learning experiences this year by that definition, and I’m tired of them,” he said.
Mitoglou’s last 3-pointer, with 39 seconds left, pulled Wake Forest to within 60-59. Gill was fouled with 28 seconds left and made the first but missed the second, and Wake Forest rebounded with the shot clock off and a chance to tie it or win.
The game was the second for Virginia since losing No. 2 scorer Justin Anderson to a broken finger, and for the opening half, the Cavaliers not only missed his scoring, but also his ability to provide a spark.
That changed after halftime as Evan Nolte, who has replaced Anderson in the starting lineup, made a 3-pointer for the Cavaliers’ first points of the half, drawing thunderous cheers from the crowd. It started the big run that seemingly put Virginia in command, before Wake Forest started chipping away.
Wake Forest: Devin Thomas, averaging 14.8 points in conference play, had 1 until he made a pair of free throws with 5:34 to play. He played just 16 minutes because of foul trouble. … Miller-McIntyre also had eight rebounds and four assists.
Virginia: The Cavaliers had 10 FGs in the first 8:18 of the second half after making just eight in the first half. … Virginia’s 31-24 halftime deficit was its largest of the season. … Brogdon also had nine rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Mitoglou, a 6-foot-10 freshman from Greece, is 21 for 36 on 3-pointers in his last five games.
Bennett used four reserves for a total of 39 minutes, and Mike Tobey, with eight points, was the only one to score.
Wake Forest plays at No. 10 Notre Dame on Tuesday.
Virginia is at home against Pittsburgh on Monday night.
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