No. 7 Virginia Tech was never in the game on Tuesday night in Charlottesville, falling to No. 1 UVA 81-59. The Hokies dropped to 14-2 overall and 3-1 in the ACC with the loss, while the Hoos improved to 16-0 overall and 4-0 in the ACC. They are now 47-3 in their last 50 games, as the program continues to hit its stride.
UVA is noted for their team defense under head coach Tony Bennett, but they entered Tuesday’s games as one of the nation’s best offensive teams as well. They came into the game ranked No. 2 in Ken Pomeroy’s adjusted offensive efficiency, and they showed why on Tuesday, busting out to a 44-22 halftime lead and never looking back.
Virginia Tech was 19-of-44 (43.2%) from the field, 7-of-21 (33.3%) from three-point range and 14-of-17 (82.4%) from the free throw line. In last season’s overtime win at UVA, their numbers were very similar: 22-of-51 (43.1%) from the field and 11-of-29 (37.9%) from three-point range. They scored 49 points in regulation last year before going on to win in overtime, and they scored 59 points this year in regulation. However, the difference was how much more potent the Hoos are offensively this season.
UVA shot the lights out from the outside in the first half, going 10-of-14 (71.4%) from three-point range. Their shooting dropped off a bit in the second half, but not nearly enough to make a difference. For the game, they were 58.5% from the field and 13-of-24 (54.2%) from three-point range. That’s a stark contrast from last year’s Virginia Tech victory in Charlottesville when Virginia went 11-of-38 (28.9%) from beyond the three-point line.
Projected first round pick De’Andre Hunter had 21 points and five rebounds for the Hoos. Virginia Tech’s projected first round pick, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, was one of just two Hokies in double figures. He had 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting, he was 2-of-3 from the outside, and 5-of-7 from the free throw line. Ahmed Hill added 14 points on 5-of-12 shooting. However, those two guys didn’t get much help on the offensive end from their teammates.
Kerry Blackshear played 28 minutes, but he was in foul trouble for much of the game and finished with just six points. Justin Robinson had only nine points, and after he was whistled for a technical foul with 9:31 remaining, Buzz Williams benched him for the remainder of the game.
Ty Jerome had 14 points and 11 assists for UVA, while Kyle Guy added 15 points. Perhaps the story that sums up the game is that of freshman guard Kihei Clark. Clark came into the game with just six made three-pointers on the season, but he nailed three of them in 30 minutes against the Hokies, including one from the corner just before halftime to give the home team even more momentum heading into the intermission.
It was at typical start to a conference game for the Hoos, who have held at least a 22-point lead in all four of their ACC games this season. Meanwhile, the Hokies have started slow in all four of their conference games, and that’s a problem that will need to be corrected as they get deeper into ACC play.
Virginia Tech will return to action this Saturday when they host Wake Forest (8-8, 1-3). The Demon Deacons are 0-4 on the road this season, while the Hokies are 9-0 at home. Tipoff is scheduled for 4pm, and the game will be televised by RSN. Check your local listings.