Virginia Tech Hammered By No. 8 UVA 78-52

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Virginia Tech
This Justin Robinson breakaway layup was one of the very few bright spots for the Hokies. (Ivan Morozov)

Virginia Tech suffered a humiliating 78-52 loss in Cassell Coliseum at the hands of in-state rival No. 8 Virginia on Wednesday night.  The Hokies dropped to 11-4 overall with the defeat, and they are now 0-2 in ACC play.  The Hoos improved to 13-1 overall and 2-0 in ACC play.

Tech’s three-point shooting began to slump in the second half of the Kentucky game, though their overall offense was very good for all 40 minutes of that contest.  However, since then the Hokies have been mired in a major shooting slump from three-point range, and to make matters worse, they have executed their halfcourt offense at a very poor level in two ACC games against Syracuse and Virginia.

Virginia Tech’s shooting numbers have plummeted ever since they began ACC play.  After shooting just 34.6% from the field against Syracuse, the Hokies responded by going 17-of-47 (36.2%) against UVA, and that includes a 2-of-12 (16.7%) mark from three-point range.  After turning the ball over 12 times against the Orange, they had a whopping 16 turnovers on 69 possessions on Wednesday night against UVA.

“Yeah, we haven’t shot the ball well, and I think the thing I would say on that is our turnover rate is just really high,” Buzz Williams said following the game. “It was 25 percent at Syracuse and it was 23 percent tonight. The pace of play was much faster tonight than it was at Syracuse, it was a 69-possession game. When you miss shots and you’re giving them the ball 23 percent of the time, it just compounds the problems that we are having.”

The ball movement and wide open shots that were present earlier in the season, even against a high-level opponent like Kentucky, have disappeared with the start of ACC play.  Kerry Blackshear had a good game with 14 points and five rebounds, and he was 5-of-9 from the field, but no other Hokie enjoyed a good offensive night.  Justin Robinson chipped in with 12 points, but he was only 3-of-9 from the field, he committed four turnovers, and he pressed too much when the halfcourt offense wasn’t working.

“I don’t know, to be honest,” Justin Bibbs said when asked if there was something wrong with Tech’s offense besides simply their inability to make shots. “But something is going to have to iron out.”

The Hoos meanwhile were their usual efficient selves.  Besides their dominant defensive performance, they turned Virginia Tech’s 16 turnovers into 23 points.  Their offense generally executed well, and it got even better late in the game as the Hokies’ frustrations from the offensive end carried over into their defensive performance.

UVA was 30-of-61 (49.2%) from the field and 12-of-25 (48%) from three-point range.  They committed just six turnovers and had 18 assists, and led by as many as 33 points in the second half.  The only area of the game in which the Hokies can say they played well was on the boards, where they outrebounded UVA 33-31 overall, and held a 6-4 edge in offensive rebounding.

The last time Virginia Tech was defeated that badly at home came on December 30, 2015 when they were beaten by No. 19 West Virginia 88-63.  They responded by winning their next two games, including a victory over No. 4 UVA.  Virginia Tech also started poorly in ACC play last season.  Despite knocking off Duke in Cassell, they began conference play 1-2, with two blowout losses to NC State and Florida State.  They rebounded to finish 10-8 in the ACC in both of those seasons.  The start to ACC play is disappointing thus far, but past experience should tell the players that there is a lot of basketball left to be played.

“16 games [remaining],” a dejected Bibbs said when asked what he could say to the team after such a disappointing loss. “We can’t dwell on it…just treat it as a learning experience.”

With teams now figuring out ways to limit Virginia Tech’s open three-point shots, it’s up to the Hokies to figure out a way to counter.

“I think we will continue to get the same test until we figure out how to pass it,” Williams said.

Virginia Tech will return to action on Saturday when they face struggling Pitt (8-7, 0-2).  Tipoff is scheduled for noon, and the game will be televised by The ACC Network. Click here for a list of local affiliates broadcasting the game.

Virginia Tech-UVA Box Score

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12 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. This is not the same team that played Kentucky. Something/somethings are missing….teamwork, leadership,drive, maybe all of the above…..not sure what. It appeared that five individuals were playing last night, not a team. We did not belong on the court in the last two games. It could be a long season.

  2. Really disappointed in this team. They seem to be in a self-inflicted funk, and I currently see no leadership (in terms of coaching or upperclassmen) to step in and correct it.

    I will root for them, I will continue to go to the games, but I just don’t see a post-season team here. Maybe NIT. Maybe.

  3. This team, in its current form, has no business entertaining thoughts of postseason play. I love Buzz but his challenge is to motivate and inspire these kids to play up to their potential. There is no confidence or swagger like there was with LeDay and Allen. Who is our team leader? You’d be hard-pressed to find one. At this rate, we’ll be LUCKY to make the NIT.

  4. Buzz proving to be extremely overpaid and overrated……………..he will continue to get hammered by elite schools until he can get some big time recruits………….just like CJF.

  5. Bibbs, worst post game interview I’ve seen from you. Poor responses and too, too much hands all over the face mannerisms. You look like you would rather be anywhere else but answering questions in that chair. You can certainly make a better effort representing Virginia Tech and yourself.
    Go Hokies

    1. you can clearly see that he was rattled in one of the plays. he had clear path to the hoop, but he rushed it and of course missed it.

  6. I guess the silver lining is that from a defensive perspective you aren’t going to play two opponents in the ACC more difficult than Syracuse and UVA. Both have defensive philosophies that are unique and both are typically adept at playing a high level of defense.

    The team definitely needs to work through the struggles because they are going to be successful based on what they can do offensively this year.

      1. Yea, I hope we can soon stop congratulating the other team’s defenses. Most teams we play are going to play good defense. This team has to learn not to crap the bed when that happens and start playing on through it.

    1. we still have to play uva again at their place, then we have to content with the firepower of duke, north carolina, florida state and the likes. it doesn’t look good…

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