Virginia Tech Falters Late In Loss To Louisville

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Kerry Blackshear had a double-double, but it wasn’t enough. (Ivan Morozov)

For the second consecutive season, Virginia Tech lit up Louisville on the road.  And for the second consecutive season, the Hokies allowed 94 points and lost despite their great offensive effort.  Tech fell 94-86 in the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday afternoon, dropping the team to 13-5 overall and 2-3 in the ACC.  The Cardinals improved to 13-4 and 3-1.

Last season the Hokies set a school record by making 17 three-point attempts, but still lost at Louisville 94-90.  They didn’t make 17 three-pointers this time, but the offense still clicked, and Tech scored a lot of points.  However, they were poor defensively, and once again they turned the ball over far too many times.

Louisville shot 52.5% from the field, and were 13-of-23 (56.5%) from three-point range.  They also forced 19 Virginia Tech turnovers and scored 20 points off of them.  The length of the Cardinals bothered the Hokies at times, as did the fact that they played tight man-to-man defense all day long.  However, Tech still had plenty of success offensively when they weren’t turning the ball over.

Justin Robinson had 23 points for the Hokies, while Kerry Blackshear finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds.  Ahmed Hill added 17 points, while Nickeil Alexander-Walker chipped in with 10.

The Hokies led on eight different occasions, including four times in the second half.  Each and every time they took the lead in the second half, they failed to get a stop on Louisville’s ensuing possession.  Tech’s last lead came with a Justin Robinson layup with 5:39 remaining, and that score put the Hokies up 72-71.  However, it was answered less than 30 seconds later by a Deng Adel three-pointer, and the Cardinals did not trail for the remainder of the game. 

Virginia Tech might have run out of gas in the closing minutes, as Buzz Williams continues to shorten his bench in ACC play.  Here’s a breakdown of minutes played by each player…

Kerry Blackshear: 37 minutes
Justin Robinson: 36 minutes
Justin Bibbs: 35 minutes
Chris Clarke: 29 minutes
Ahmed Hill: 27 minutes
Nickeil Alexander-Walker: 22 minutes
Devin Wilson: 9 minutes
Wabissa Bede: 3 minutes
Tyrie Jackson: 2 minutes

Once again freshman forward PJ Horne did not get off the bench, while freshmen guards Wabissa Bede and Tyrie Jackson combined for just five minutes of playing time.

As a team, Virginia Tech was 30-of-61 (49.2%) from the field, 8-of-22 (36.4%) from three-point range, and an impressive 18-of-22 (81.8%) from the charity stripe.  They outscored a bigger Louisville team 40-28 in the paint, and were only outrebounded 34-30.  In fact, the Hokies had more second chance points (16) than Louisville (15), which is something that won’t happen very often in ACC play.  Once again, Buzz Williams will be able to point to turnovers as one of the main causes of defeat.  The Cardinals had 11 steals, and they also used their superior length to block seven shots. 

Virginia Tech will return to action next Saturday when they face yet another tall and lengthy team: Florida State.  Tipoff is scheduled for noon, and the game will be televised nationally by ESPN2.

Box Score

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18 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. You either want to play defense or you don’t. No in between. Not enough of our guys understand how important playing good defense is. These young guys watch too much NBA where there is zero D being played.

  2. Major issue for me is sloppy turnovers and drives to the basket in David vs Goliath situation where you can see the blocked shot before it happens. I think 4 of the 7 blocks and a lot of the turnovers turned into run-outs for Loserville were the difference in the game. These are things we can control. We have to cheat inside due to lack of size, so we get out of position on 3’s and drives to the basket.

      1. You guys (flemdawg and 133222) are nuts! Look how far Buzz has taken this team in less than 4 years. And now you write of the coach being “overpaid” and the team “underperforming.” Rome wasn’t built in a day.

        Geez!

    1. Final four caliber team that we could have won. Going on the road and winning a game like that might happen once a year for the majority of NCAA teams. Learn the game before critiquing our ADs judgement please.

  3. Allen and LeDay. As each game passes, it becomes more apparent exactly how much they did for us last year. These guys don’t have the same fire OR have the same fun. They need to loosen up their attitudes and somehow also tighten up on the ball security.

    1. I think there fire and passion is fine. They lost at Louisville almost the same way last yr with those two guys. We were very game AT Louisville. It is hard to go into Louisville and win, matter of fact it is hard to go on the road at any ACC team. Louisville had just handed ND a 40 pt loss in Louisville just 3 days prior. It was a very game team that played well. You would be lucky to see top 15 teams win in Louisville this yr.

    2. I think our overall basketball IQ went down between this years and last years team. We don’t play like we know how to handle the situation when it matters most. This L was eerily similar to the one at UK. This team will be judged on its ability to play great defense in the last five minutes of the game when we take the lead by a point. Overall tho I still believe the overall talent level of this years team is greater than last years…

  4. We just need some bigger players. Overall, I thought the team showed well in the loss. I wish we had won, but I like watching this team play.

    1. Agree. The team plays hard (though a little sloppy at times with passing), but our lack of a 2nd athletic big in the lineup is causing major challenges with matchups on defense and inability to effectively rebound. Afraid will be our Achilles heel the rest of the season.

      1. Sloppy passing is one of the bigger things they can control that is causing them to shoot themselves in the foot and lose the game.

    2. Lack of “bigs” has nothing to do with VTs inability to defend on the perimeter. The guys just aren’t sound in what they do, giving up dribble penetration and three point shots. The basics just aren’t there with any consistency.

      1. It is a little bit of dribble penetration and a little bit of teams working high low game and we have to double down when outsized. The rotation defense is poor and we have several guys who are terrible on ball and rotating. JRob is unfortunately a pitiful defender. He makes the offense go (and we are how he plays any given night) but he consistently gets blown by, he rotates poorly and it he gives half hearted close outs after losing sight of his guy he is defending.

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