CHARLOTTESVILLE – In case coaching a game without his three assistants wasn’t enough of a challenge, Tony Bennett saw Wake Forest come out with a first-half in which it seemed they couldn’t miss any shots.
Bennett turned to other staffers to fill the coaching roles. No. 22 Virginia turned to Sam Hauser to pull out a win.
“There were a lot of things we had to deal with,” Bennett said. “It was an interesting time but we just talked about banding together.”
Hauser, the Marquette transfer who has struggled shooting the ball so far this season, had 16 points and posted his second straight double-double by grabbing 10 rebounds as UVA rallied for a 70-61 win over the Demon Deacons on Wednesday night.
All five of Virginia's starters scored in double figures, and four of them played over 35 minutes.
Guard Trey Murphy III scored 13, guard Reece Beekman added 12, forward Jay Huff had 11 and guard Kihei Clark chipped in 10, while playing every minute of the contest for the Cavaliers (6-2, 2-0 ACC).
Wake Forest got 14 points each from guard Jonah Antonio and forward Isaiah Marcus.
Wake Forest (3-2, 0-2) led by as many as 12 points and went to the locker room up 39-34. It shot 62.5 percent from the floor in the first half and hit six of its 10 attempts from 3-point range.
But in the second half, it was Hauser and UVA that got hot. Hauser scored 11 of his points after the break as Virginia started the second half on a 14-4 run, going up 48-43 after a 3-pointer by Murphy III, a transfer from Rice.
UVA didn’t have associate head coach Jason Williford and assistants Brad Soderberg and Orlando Vandross on Wednesday night due to COVID-19 testing and contact tracing. The team also played without guard Casey Morsell and walk-on Austin Katstra.
Guard Kody Stattmann remains out as he deals with a non-COVID related medical issue.
Bennett turned to director of operations Ronnie Wideman and director of player personnel Johnny Carpenter as his two bench aides against Wake. He noticed the pair chest-bumping out of excitement before the game and joked they’d need to have a few beers after the win to calm down.
Wake Forest jumped out to a 26-14 lead with 8:47 left in the first half, hitting five early 3-pointers.
But the Cavaliers were the team that came out stroking shots after the break, hitting 10 of their first 12 second-half shots to build a 58-49 lead.
They ended up outscoring Wake Forest 36-22 over the final 20 minutes of play.