Virginia Tech fell to #6 North Carolina 91-72 in Chapel Hill on Thursday night. The Hokies dropped to 15-5 overall with the loss, and they are now 4-4 in ACC play. The Tar Heels improved to 19-3 overall and 7-1 in the ACC. They sit alone at first place in the conference standings.
The Hokies actually outshot North Carolina 51% to 49.3%. Tech was also 9-of-25 (36%) from three-point range, and they had just 10 turnovers on the road. Normally those statistics are the type of numbers that a team needs to win on the road. However, two other important statistics didn’t go Virginia Tech’s way: defensive three-point percentage, and rebounding.
UNC was 14-of-30 (46.7%) from three-point range. Their 14 made three-pointers represent a season high. After Clemson went 13-of-27 in the previous game, it’s clear that Tech’s three-point defense needs some work.
However, the biggest stat was rebounding, where the Tar Heels beat the Hokies 43-22. UNC pulled down 19 offensive rebounds, 16 of which came in the first half. At halftime, UNC held a 16-1 advantage on the offensive glass. The second half was actually tied at 3-3, but the damage was done at that point.
The Tar Heels got plenty of open looks from the outside against the Hokies, though they made plenty of contested three-pointers as well. On many of their misses, the Tar Heel post players were there on the inside to collect the offensive rebound and get an easy putback. Thanks mostly to the offensive rebound advantage, UNC attempted 22 more shots than Virginia Tech. That’s not a good recipe for winning on the road.
Justin Robinson had 17 points and led the team in assists with seven, breaking a recent slide. He was an efficient 6-of-9 from the field and 2-of-4 from three-point range. Seth Allen continued his streak of good play, finishing with 19 points and five assists. He was 7-of-12 from the field, and 3-of-6 from three-point range. We’ll have more on Allen’s impressive run tomorrow.
Zach LeDay added 12 points for Virginia Tech, but he was outmanned by the size of UNC’s post players and finished with just three rebounds. He also had four of Tech’s 10 turnovers. The normally reliable Chris Clarke also only had three rebounds to go along with nine points. Clarke came off the bench for the third consecutive game as punishment for missing the shootaround before the Georgia Tech game.
The Hokies return to action on Sunday night when they host the Boston College Eagles. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.