Virginia Tech played well enough to win, but it slipped away down the stretch. #14 Virginia outscored the Hokies 15-7 in the last four minutes of the game to walk away with a 57-53 win in Cassell Coliseum on Tuesday night. The Hoos improved to 22-5 overall and 13-1 in the ACC, while the Hokies dropped to 9-16 overall and 2-11 in conference play.
Tech led this game from nearly start to finish and held a 46-42 lead with 6:29 left after a free throw from Ben Emelogu. However, three UVA three-pointers (two by Justin Anderson and one by Joe Harris) down the stretch proved to be the difference. The Hoos went just 9-of-25 from three-point range for the game, but those final three deep bombs over the final minutes proved to be the difference.
Anderson had made just one three-pointer over his last 20 attempts before he made those two critical shots after the final media timeout.
“It was a hard fought game tonight,” Tech head coach James Johnson said afterwards. “Both teams competed, both teams played hard. That’s what the rivalry games are about. I thought our guys came out ready to play, ready for the intensity of a matchup like that. I thought down the stretch they made plays. They made plays and we didn’t. To be a winning team and be on the streak that they’re on, you find ways to win games. They’ve done it, and they did it again tonight.”
Devin Wilson paced the Hokies with 13 points and five assists. For the second time this season, he led Tech in scoring against the Hoos. Joey van Zegeren also added 13 for the Hokies.
With five assists, Wilson is now up to 114 assists for the season. That passes Hank Thorns (113) for most assists by a Virginia Tech freshman, and Wilson still has the rest of the season to improve on that mark.
Despite the loss, Virginia Tech was in a position to win for the third consecutive game, two of them against nationally ranked opponents (a win against Miami, and losses to Pitt and UVA). The Hokies are sticking to their 2-3 zone and slowing the game down, and that strategy is putting them in a position to win.
Tech’s next game comes against NC State on Saturday in Cassell Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 2pm, and the game will be televised by RSN. You can view the affiliate list by clicking here.