Virginia Tech Defeats No. 10 North Carolina 80-69

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit
Buzz Williams Virginia Tech
Buzz Williams was fired up on Monday night as Virginia Tech beat the Tar Heels. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

What a difference two days make.  On Saturday, Virginia Tech played poorly and lost at home to Florida State 91-82.  However, on Monday the Hokies played great and defeated No. 10 North Carolina 80-69 in Cassell Coliseum to improve to 14-6 overall and 3-4 in the ACC.  The Tar Heels dropped to 16-5 overall and 5-3 in conference play.

Justin Bibbs said after the Florida State loss that he was feeling a sense of urgency.  That’s exactly what the team played like on Monday night, as the Hokies outshot UNC, outdefended them, outrebounded them, and turned the ball over fewer times.  Overall, it was Tech’s best defensive performance of the season, as they held Carolina to just 42.9 percent from the field and 32.3 percent from three-point range.  Most of the Tar Heels’ shots were contested.

“Yeah, for sure,” Ahmed Hill said, when asked if the Hokies found that sense of urgency on Monday. “I think we found it on defense.”

They also found it in other ways.  Virginia Tech outrebounded North Carolina 36-35, which was surprising considering the Tar Heels came into the game No. 1 in the country in rebounding margin.  At halftime, the Heels had outscored Tech 9-0 in second chance points, but in the second half that advantage went 9-2 in Virginia Tech’s favor.

“They were No. 1 in the league rebounding, they were No. 1 in the league for opponent offensive rebounding percentage,” Buzz Williams said of UNC.  “Obviously, that has been one of two Achilles heels for this year’s team, arguably for every team we have had since we’ve been here.”

Turnovers have also been an issue for the Hokies in their losses this season.  However, they committed just nine turnovers against UNC while forcing 13, and held an 11-2 advantage in points off turnovers.

The Hokies were paced by Justin Robinson, who had 19 points, five rebounds and four assists and just one turnover in 29 minutes.  Ahmed Hill added 18 points, while Kerry Blackshear had 16 points and five rebounds.  After playing just 18 minutes against Florida State because of foul trouble, Blackshear was on the court for 33 minutes against the Tar Heels.

“I need to do a better job of not putting my teammates in that situation, where they have to downsize,” Blackshear said. “I just tried to stay aggressive on both ends.  Just stay engaged on both ends.”

Justin Bibbs did not have a good shooting night, going 3-of-10 from the field, but he had a couple of critical shots late in the game, and he also contributed with five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.  Chris Clarke came off the bench to finish with eight points and eight rebounds.

North Carolina led for the majority of the first half, though they could never put the Hokies away.  Instead, it was the home team that ended the first half on a huge run to take control of things at the intermission.

At the 6:19 mark of the first half, a Cameron Johnson three-pointer made the score 28-21 UNC.  At that point, the Hokies turned it up a notch.  Nickeil Alexander-Walker responded with a three-point play the old fashioned way, and that sparked an 18-4 Virginia Tech run from that point until the end of the half.  That included a buzzer beating three-pointer at the end of the half by Justin Robinson that made the halftime score 39-32 Hokies.

North Carolina had a chance to get back into the game early in the second half.  The Hokies missed a lot of open looks in the opening minutes, but the Tar Heels could not take advantage, and still found themselves trailing by seven points, 58-51, with 9:59 remaining in the game.  Despite Tech’s inability to make shots at the beginning of the second half, UNC could not close the gap.

In fact, that’s as close as UNC would get.  The Hokies steadily extended their lead to as many as 16 points, and they basically dominated the game for the final 26 minutes.  The rout was so complete by the final minute that the Virginia Tech student section serenaded departing UNC fans with chants of “Just like football!”

“I think Buzz had his team much more ready to play, more than I had my team,” UNC head coach Roy Williams said. “They were much more aggressive physically, and mentally into everything that they were doing.”

Virginia Tech returns to action on Saturday when they travel to South Bend to take on Notre Dame.  Tipoff is scheduled for 8pm, and the game will be televised nationally by ESPN2.

Box Score

Game Notes From Virginia Tech

Justin Robinson scored 19 points. It is his 14th game in double figures this season and the seventh consecutive.

Ahmed Hill scored 18 points. It is his team-leading 15th game in double figures this season.

Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored 16 points. It is his 14th game in double figures this season and the fifth consecutive.

With his eight points, Justin Bibbs passed Jamon Gordon and Wayne Robinson into 26th place in career scoring. He now has 1,285 career points.

The win over the 10th ranked Tar Heels is the Hokies’ first win over a top 10 team since defeating No. 5 Duke, 89-75, in Cassell Coliseum on Dec. 31, 2016.

The win snaps a seven-game losing streak in the all-time series with UNC. This is the Hokies’ first win over the Tar Heels since Feb. 4, 2010, a 74-70 Tech win in Cassell Coliseum.

This is the Hokies’ first win over a defending national champion since defeating No. 1 Duke, 64-60, in Cassell Coliseum on Feb. 26, 2011.

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit

13 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Well there you go. I made it down for the FSU game and things were out of kilter, FSU ran Blackshear out of the game with foul trouble, Justin dropped kicked the ball late when we might have had a chance, and NAW just looked like he didn’t want to shoot (late in the game when the ball was snapped to him and got the ball off before a defender got in his face he sank the 3–point, other shots it look like he had too much time, mind tying him up?)

    So there’s the ya never know in buying stocks and sports, it looked like a falling knife at that point, season….pretty much over but the guys dug deep and we’re back in it again. (Don’t get too cocky, maybe UNC figured this was easy pickins night and got schooled) Enjoy the moment, we beat UNC we’ll see how the seasons pans out.

  2. Didn’t see the game, but my FSU brother texted me to say that the Hokies were laying it on the Heels … and that he “loved” our Coach. I assume that Buzz was his old animated self.

  3. It’s so gratifying to beat those arrogant, cheatin’ Heathens in any sport; especially men’s basketball. Nothing could be finer than beating Carolina!

    1. Well said, I couldn’t agree more. Don’t go to ND and lay an egg (i.e. VT football OSU win followed by ECU loss), make a statement that this wasn’t a fluke, then we may have something………..

  4. Great job tonight. I’m happy for the players and Buzz. They gave it their all and it showed. I hope they can keep it rolling at ND Saturday. This team really needed a good win and now they have one. I am glad to see the Buzz Williams from last season back. His energy is contagious!

  5. All right! With our OOC schedule so weak I think we have to go 6-5 the rest of the year and finish 9-9 in conference to get to the NCAA bubble, 10-8 to have a decent chance to get in. It’s still a tall order but I’m much more encouraged now. We are capable.

Comments are closed.