Virginia Tech lost a heartbreaker 94-90 at #7 Louisville on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies dropped to 18-8 overall and 7-7 in the ACC with the loss, while the Cardinals improved to 22-5 and 10-4.
Virginia Tech shot 29-of-49 (59.2%) from the field and 17-of-26 (65.4%) from three-point range. The 17 three-pointers in one game broke the school record. The Hokies were also 15-of-19 (78.9%) from the free throw line. Louisville countered by shooting well in their own right: 51.5% from the field, 54.5% from three-point range, and 80% from the charity stripe.
The big difference in the game, however, was second chance points. Though Louisville outrebounded Tech just 33-25, the Cardinals pulled down 16 offensive rebounds against the much smaller Hokies. They made them count, scoring 26 second chance points to Virginia Tech’s 3. Considering that margin, it was amazing the game was as close as it was.
Virginia Tech overcame a 10-point deficit with 7:44 left in the first half to take a 44-43 lead into halftime. At that point the game became back-and-forth, and the Hokies led five different times throughout the course of the game. Ultimately it wasn’t enough, as Louisville’s superior length and depth won out.
Seth Allen was once again amazing for the Hokies. The redshirt-senior scored 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting, and he was 6-of-8 from three-point range. At one point in the second half, Allen scored 15 out of 17 Virginia Tech points, and he made all five of his three-point attempts in the process.
It was also the coming out party for redshirt-junior Ty Outlaw, who is playing increased minutes with Chris Clarke out. Outlaw played 35 minutes on Saturday, scoring 19 points and pulling down seven rebounds. He was 7-of-8 from the field and 5-of-6 from three-point range.
Despite being outmanned by multiple Louisville frontcourt players for the entire game, Zach LeDay managed to finish with 18 points and nine rebounds. LeDay drew fouls driving to the hole and was 10-of-11 from the free throw line. Ahmed Hill and Justin Bibbs added 11 points apiece.
Virginia Tech played just seven players again, except for Matt Galloway’s two minutes when a limping Justin Robinson exited the game briefly. Robinson returned, but fouled out late in the game. Here’s how Virginia Tech’s minutes broke down…
Ty Outlaw: 35
Justin Bibbs: 32
Ahmed Hill: 32
Justin Robinson: 30
Zach LeDay: 30
Seth Allen: 28 (foul trouble)
Khadim Sy: 11
Matt Galloway: 2
Expect that to be Virginia Tech’s rotation for the rest of the season, as Buzz Williams and the Hokies are down to just seven scholarship players.
Despite the loss, the Hokies remain a solid #34 in the RPI. They have four games remaining, three of which are at home. Here’s the remaining schedule…
Tuesday, Feb. 21: vs. Clemson (14-12, 4-10, #57 RPI)
Saturday, Feb. 25: at Boston College (9-18, 2-12, #203 RPI)
Monday, Feb. 27: vs. Miami (18-8, 8-6, #46 RPI)
Saturday, March 4: vs. Wake Forest (15-12, 6-9, #37 RPI)
If the Hokies can close strong they will make their first NCAA Tournament since 2007.
Tech’s Tuesday game with Clemson will tip off at 7pm, and it will be televised by ESPNU.