Virginia Tech led practically the entire game, but ultimately fell to North Carolina 72-60 in overtime on Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill. The Hokies fell to 11-10 overall and 2-6 in the ACC with the loss, while the Tar Heels improved to 15-6 and 5-3.
This game was book-ended by big runs by each team. The Hokies jumped out of the gate fast, taking a 12-0 lead, and maintained an advantage throughout nearly the entire game. UNC took the lead briefly during regulation, but two Joey van Zegeren free throws forced overtime. Tech even had a chance to win in regulation, but Erick Green’s fadeaway jumper from about 18 feet away fell short.
UNC’s big run came in overtime when they outscored the Hokies 17-5.
Erick Green finished with 16 points on 7-of-21 shooting, and he did not have a free throw attempt. It was just the second time this season that he has been held below 20 points in a game. Jarell Eddie added 15 points, while Cadarian Raines had 12 points and six rebounds. Robert Brown finished with 10 points, but 3-of-12 from the field, and he had five of Tech’s 14 turnovers.
Tech used both man-to-man defense and zone, but primarily stuck with a 2-3 zone to deny UNC’s entry passes and force the Tar Heels to beat them from the outside. The strategy worked, as UNC went just 5-of-24 from three-point range. However, they pulled down 19 offensive rebounds against Tech’s zone in the process, and finished with 20 second chance points. That ultimately proved to be the difference in the game.
Overall, the Hokies have played much better in their last two games against two talented basketball teams. However, a lack of defensive rebounding and the struggles of Robert Brown continue to plague the team.
Virginia Tech returns to action again on Thursday night when they host the Maryland Terrapins. Tipoff is scheduled for 9pm, and the ACC Network will televise the game.