Virginia’s Ryan Dunn (13) swats away an attempted basket by Kevin “Boopie” Miller (0). Dunn finished the afternoon with a career-high seven blocks.
Virginia’s Ryan Dunn (13) swats away an attempted basket by Kevin “Boopie” Miller (0). Dunn finished the afternoon with a career-high seven blocks.
Evan Harris

MBB lose to Cavaliers in slugfest

Demon Deacons drop another opportunity despite Reid’s double-double

It was a game of who could outlast the other — and Wake Forest Men’s Basketball came up short on the road, falling to the No. 21 Virginia Cavaliers, 49-47.

Forward Efton Reid (10pts, 12reb) became a focal point of the Demon Deacons’ offense early. The big man scored Wake Forest’s first six points of the game through a mixture of layups and dunks. Guard Cameron Hildreth (4pts, 5reb) distributed the ball well throughout the first frame — including a pass to Reid inside the paint for a quick basket.

The low-scoring first half was in part due to a tremendously slow pace between both teams, with each team going well into the shot clock on most possessions. Both teams went into halftime with subpar offensive numbers and the Demon Deacons led, 22-21.

After the break, the teams traded offensive runs, with the Cavaliers initially breaking out to a five point lead. The Demon Deacons answered with a run of their own, scoring six consecutive points to put themselves up one.

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Offensively, the Demon Deacons found themselves stifled by one man — Cavaliers guard Ryan Dunn (6pts, 9reb, 7blks). Dunn, the ACC leader in blocks coming into the game (2.2 BPG), created havoc both inside and on the perimeter on the defensive end whilst guarding both wings and forwards alike.

“I thought Ryan [Dunn] played exceptional defense against us,” said Wake Forest Head Coach Steve Forbes.

Both Dunn and guard Reece Beekman (20pts, 9-16 FG) led the Cavaliers on a 10-2 run midway through the second half to create a buffer from the Demon Deacons. The run was highlighted by a Beekman dunk that sent a raucous John Paul Jones Arena crowd on their feet.

“Those two guys [Beekman and Dunn] in my mind really stood out,” said Forbes. “Beekman had a terrific second half. He really came out aggressively.”

The game was decided within the final four minutes, as the Cavaliers entered the final media timeout up a single point. They came out of the media timeout ready —  running a half-court offense for a wide-open Isaac McKneely (12pts, 5-12 FG) 3-pointer from the corner.

“McKneely made some timely shots,” said Forbes. “Especially that one 3-pointer coming out of the timeout.”

After a series of missed chances on the offensive end, the Demon Deacons tried to respond back with a late 3-pointer from Hunter Sallis (12pts, 5-10 FG) — but came up short. Virginia gave them chances, notably going an abysmal 1-11 from the free throw line, but Wake Forest squandered what seemed to be another opportunity for a highly-touted win.

“We’re now focusing on Pitt,” said Forbes. “Every game is important. They’ve won more road games than they have at home.”

The Demon Deacons return home to face the Panthers on Tuesday, February 20th. Tip-off is set for 9 p.m. on ACC Network.

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