Virginia Tech was brutalized on the boards by #15 North Carolina, losing 68-53 in Chapel Hill on Sunday night. The Hokies dropped to 8-9 with the loss, and they are 0-4 in the ACC. The Tar Heels improved to 14-4 overall, and 4-1 in conference play.
Tech was outrebounded by UNC 49-22. The Tar Heels grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, while the Hokies only had 18 defensive rebounds. That was expected, as UNC came into the game #3 in offensive rebounding efficiency, while Tech was #338 in defensive rebounds.
Without leading scorer Justin Bibbs (20.7 points per game in ACC play), who was out with a concussion, Tech shot just 35.8% from the field. Adam Smith had 11 points, while Shane Henry had 10 points and nine rebounds. The rest of the team combined for just 13 rebounds. Jalen Hudson added eight points, but starting point guard Devin Wilson did not make a field goal, and had five turnovers and only three assists.
The Hokies were able to stay in the game somewhat thanks to turnovers. Tech had a season-high 13 steals. They were down just 61-53 when Adam Smith drained a three-pointer with 2:08 left, and then Smith stole the inbounds pass. Unfortunately, the Hokies turned it over immediately thereafter, and UNC got a breakaway dunk to take the lead back to 10 points.
On the whole, Tech’s first shot defense was good, but the Tar Heels were able to score 15 second chance points off of their 16 offensive rebounds, and ultimately that was the difference in the game.
The Hokies return to action on Thursday, January 22 when they host #12 Notre Dame. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will be televised by RSN.