After his team had beaten Wake Forest, 107-74, tonight, Terry Holland, coach of No. 2 Virginia said, "This game would have been a classic game in which to have a letup."
Holland was alluding to the possibility that his team might look past Wake Forest and ahead to this Sunday's matchup with Maryland in Charlottesville for Ralph Sampson's final home game. But after a slow start, there was no letup by the Cavaliers, who made 10 of their first 11 shots in the second half and gradually widened the margin.
Sampson, scoring on hooks, jumpers and dunks, finished with 28 points before leaving with 9 1/2 minutes left.
The Cavaliers (24-3, 11-2) remained tied for first in the conference with North Carolina, which defeated Georgia Tech, 85-73.
Virginia led, 53-38, at intermission. But after Danny Young's foul shot opened the second half, Wake could not manage a basket until Delaney Rudd made an 18-foot jumper four minutes later.
Meanwhile, Virginia scored 12 points, Sampson accounting for eight of them, and the Cavaliers surged ahead, 67-39.
Virginia's pressure defense, strong rebounding on both ends and running game overwhelmed the Deacons (17-9, 7-6).
"We hurt a lot on rebounding," Wake Forest Coach Carl Tacy said. "I thought each time down Virginia made deeper penetration than what we wanted. We lost our concentration and things went from bad to worse."
Not surprisingly, Tacy said, "It wasn't a very interesting game to watch. We got off to a pretty good start. We didn't have good alertness or concentration on either end of the court to keep us in the game."
John Toms led Wake Forest with 22 points.
Wake was able to move to an early lead. After Rick Carlisle followed his missed jumper for the game's first two points, the Deacons scored the next seven points.
Sampson put an end to that streak with a dunk, the assist going to Wilson, and Virginia trailed, 7-4.
Over the next 2 1/2 minutes, Toms made three baskets and a foul shot to help the Deacons to their biggest lead, 16-9.
Sampson's reverse layup, Wilson's foul shot and a layup by Carlisle cut the lead to 18-13.
Following Kenny Green's jumper that gave Wake a 20-13 lead, Virginia rallied for eight straight points. With 10:38 remaining in the half, Ricky Stokes made a foul shot that gave Virginia a 21-20 lead.
Toms put Wake ahead 20 seconds later with a 12-footer. From that point, the lead changed three times before Wilson made two foul shots with 7:50 left in the half for a 29-28 Virginia lead.
His free throws began an eight-point run ended by Sampson's tap-in off a lob pass from Wilson.
Although Green scored for the Deacons, the Cavaliers outscored them, 16-4, over the next 4 1/2 minutes. Sampson and Tim Mullen had six points each, Mullen making two three-points baskets.