The Hokies put up a good fight in the first half, but their three-pointers stopped falling in the second half, and #8 UNC pulled away for an 82-68 win in Cassell Coliseum on Thursday night. UNC improved to 16-3 overall with the win, while Tech dropped their fourth straight game. The Hokies are now 11-7 overall and 0-4 in conference play.
Virginia Tech took a 39-34 lead into halftime behind the strength of impressive three-point shooting. The Hokies were 8-of-16 from the outside in the first half, but cooled off in the final 20 minutes, finishing 13-of-31 for the game. Tech couldn’t attack UNC on the inside because the Tar Heel frontcourt had a tremendous height advantage with 6-11 John Henson and 7-0 Tyler Zeller. The Heels blocked nine shots as a team, including six by Henson.
Seth Greenberg started Robert Brown over Dorenzo Hudson, and the move seemed to work. Hudson came off the bench to score 16 first half points, and he knocked down 4-of-6 three-point baskets for the game. Unfortunately, he went scoreless in the second half. Brown scored 12 points in 32 minutes.
Erick Green returned to the starting lineup after missing the BC game due to an injury. He played well, scoring 17 points and dishing out five assists. As a team, Tech had 14 assists and just eight turnovers, and overall it was their best offensive outing of the season.
Dorrian Finney-Smith had the worst game of his college career, scoring just two points on two free throws, and pulling down only one rebound. He was matched up against future lottery pick Harrison Barnes, who scored 27 points for UNC. He played just 12 minutes before fouling out. Victor Davila had a strong rebounding game with eight boards, but he was out-manned with so much height around him on the inside.
The game turned in UNC’s favor in the early second half. The Hokies stopped making shots, and their long three-point misses led to the Tar Heels getting out and running in transition, which is exactly what they do best.
UNC’s bigger lineup also dominated the glass and the paint against Tech in the second half. The Tar Heels outrebounded the Hokies 51-28. John Henson had 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Tyler Zeller had 14 points and grabbed 11 boards.
Jarell Eddie added 15 points and six rebounds for the Hokies. He was 4-of-7 from three-point range.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Sunday, when they face #17 UVA in Charlottesville. Tip-off is scheduled for 6pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.