Gray's Three Propels Deacs Over UVa

Wake Forest needed another superb performance from senior Josh Howard and an acrobatic three-pointer from freshman Justin Gray Sunday night to keep their homecourt winning streak alive, defeating Virginia 75-71.

Early in Wake Forest's match-up with Virginia, a hush fell over a crowd that didn't seem to mind a quiet Sunday evening in the Joel Coliseum. Led by senior Josh Howard, #10 Wake Forest rolled to 19-4 overall and 9-3 in conference play with a victory over the Virginia Cavaliers. But the rolling wasn't without a few bumps.

After a scoreless start, the Demon Deacons and Cavaliers grappled a close one through the first half. Virginia pulled away with minutes remaining while the Demon Deacons fought to keep within reach, ending the first half trailing 35-30.

Second half play resumed and the Demon Deacons allowed the Cavaliers to retain the lead for some time before pulling within one. For the rest of the second half the two teams battled back and forth, the lead for either team never reaching more than four.

With about a minute and a half remaining, Justin Gray put the Demon Deacons ahead, 71-68, on an off-balance three-pointer as the shotclock expired. Wake Forest followed Gray's three-pointer up by two points apiece from Josh Howard and Vytas Danelius at the free-throw line. The hush that had kept the crowd to a dull roar most of the night finally lifted for the last few plays of the game as Wake Forest completed its fifteenth consecutive home win.

All in all there were 14 lead changes and 11 ties as the Demon Deacons prevailed 75-71.

All-American candidate Josh Howard led the Deacons with 28 points on the night while Vytas Danelius tied his career high with 21 points. Wake Forest will be in action again Wednesday night at Flroida State. Gametime for the Deacons and the Seminoles is 9:00.

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