Wake Forest 78, Virginia 72
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP)—Kyle Visser scored 17 points and hit the clinching free throws with 10 seconds left as Wake Forest spoiled Virginia’s chance to wrap up the Atlantic Coast Conference title outright with a 78-72 win over the Cavaliers on Saturday.
Visser, playing in his final home game, added 10 rebounds and fellow senior Michael Drum scored 16 points for the Demon Deacons (14-15, 5-11) who snapped a two-game losing streak.
Sean Singletary scored 25 points for Virginia, but missed a potential tying putback with under 20 seconds remaining, and a driving layup with 10 seconds left. Visser then hit two free throws, and Wake Forest’s fans stormed the court a few seconds later to celebrate a rare high point in an otherwise disappointing season.
J.R. Reynolds was held to 11 points on 3 of 14 shooting for the Cavaliers (20-9, 11-5), who were trying to win their first outright ACC title since 1981— Ralph Sampson’s sophomore season.
Instead, the Cavaliers now must wait to see how No. 8 North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Boston College fare Sunday on the final day of the regular season. All three times can tie Virginia for the regular season crown with wins.
The Cavaliers, picked to finish eighth in the 12-team league in the preseason poll and just two years removed from a 4-12 conference mark, played one of their worst games at the worst time.
Virginia shot 36 percent, committed 14 turnovers, was outrebounded by three and had trouble defending Visser down low.
After seven lead changes and three ties in the second half, Harvey Hale and Jamie Skeen hit consecutive 3-pointers to put Wake Forest ahead 68-64 with 4:18 left.
The Cavaliers got within 74-72, but Singletary missed a putback in the lane after Jason Cain’s missed free throws. Skeen then hit two free throws to put Wake Forest ahead by four.
Wake Forest secured the 11th seed for next week’s ACC tournament early in the second half when Miami lost to Florida State.
Virginia, playing 40 hours after an emotional win over rival Virginia Tech on Thursday, missed 14 of its first 20 shots as Wake Forest took a 19-15 lead.
But Singletary started to heat up, scoring 15 of Virginia’s next 24 points as the Cavaliers rallied to take a 39-35 halftime lead.
The Demon Deacons shot 32 percent in the first half, but stayed in it by pounding the ball inside.
Visser, playing in his final home game, took eight of Wake Forest’s 19 first-half free throws. Three Virginia big men had two fouls at halftime trying to guard him, prompting coach Dave Leitao to switch to a zone late in the half.