CHARLOTTESVILLE, FEB. 2 -- Jeff Jones and Dave Odom, who for seven years shared jobs, offices and insights here as assistants to Terry Holland, spent this afternoon coaching teams that not surprisingly are mirror images.

Jones's 15th-ranked Virginia Cavaliers saw a nine-point lead all but evaporate in the last 37 seconds, but hung on to defeat Odom's Wake Forest squad, 83-80, as Chris King's three-point try at the buzzer fell short.

Virginia (16-4, 5-2 ACC) hosts Radford on Monday before embarking on a testing three-game, four-day conference stretch with stops at Duke, North Carolina and Wake Forest (10-7, 3-4).

Bryant Stith made 13 of his 21 shots and led Virginia with 31 points. Point guard John Crotty scored 24, Kenny Turner 10.

"We had to sweat it out in the last few minutes," Jones said. "That's the toughest a team has played against us defensively all year. . . . Wake was very aggressive and very active and we didn't seem to be reacting well to that. They pose a lot of problems for you."

Both teams played the type of chest-to-chest pressure taught for 16 years here by Holland, a fact not lost on forward Stith, who finished with two rebounds. "I think that was the reason," he said. "They were putting bodies on us and we were feeling it."

"You couldn't cross the lane without getting hit," Crotty said.

Cornel Parker sank a pair of free throws to give Virginia an 81-72 lead, then fouled Randolph Childress on a successful three-pointer. Childress converted the free throw, then stole the inbounds pass. King tipped in his missed layup to make the score 81-78.

Two free throws by Crotty followed, and after Robert Siler's jumper for the Demon Deacons, Virginia's Matt Blundin threw away his second straight inbounds pass. Derrick McQueen tapped the loose ball out to King, whose shot hit the front of the rim.

"We lucked out," said Blundin, Virginia's backup football quarterback. "Everything they wanted at the end happened."

Odom and Jones were full-time assistants for three years under Holland before Odom was named head coach at Wake Forest two years ago. Odom returned last season and defeated the Cavaliers -- the Demon Deacons' first win in a span of 10 meetings with Virginia -- in Holland's last game at University Hall before becoming athletic director at Davidson.

Virginia players, most of whom either played for or were recruited by Odom, insisted the novelty of playing against him wore off last season, but Jones and Odom were quick to pronounce today's game as rivaling Holland's swan song in awkwardness.

"It was difficult, awkward, uncomfortable -- whatever," said Jones, who replaced Holland in April. "But we're both very competitive people, so there was nothing held back."

"I just have a great deal of respect and admiration for Jeff and his staff for the way they've handled things this year," said Odom, who would have been a likely candidate to replace Holland had he not already departed for Wake Forest.

"It's a veteran team and they should play well. But the country is full of exceptions to that rule and that's where you have to give the Virginia coaches a lot of credit. . . . I think they're playing as well as anyone in our league right now."

The Demon Deacons' front line of King, Anthony Tucker and Rodney Rogers threatened to impose on the smaller Cavaliers the kind of inside domination they could not handle in their losses to UCLA, New Orleans, North Carolina and Georgia Tech. But what proved particularly unnerving for Virginia was the outside shooting of the 6-foot-8 King, who made 13 of 21 shots in scoring 26 points. Freshman Rogers added 15 points and 10 rebounds.

"Chris King was unbelievable," Jones said. "Finally Matt Blundin was able to shut him down, but for a while there I was wondering what we could do."