19-0 Run Leads No. 20 Virginia Tech Past No. 8 UVA

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Virginia Tech
Keve Aluma and Hunter Cattoor were huge for Virginia Tech on Saturday night. (Matt Gentry, ACC Pool)

Only one conclusion could be drawn from No. 20 Virginia Tech’s 65-51 victory over No. 8 Virginia; this team is special and has the potential to make a run in the postseason.

“These guys don’t care who you are, they’re going to fight and they’re going to compete,” Head Coach Mike Young said. “I’m having the best time coaching this team, but not because we’re winning a lot of games. They’re just great people who are about the right stuff. They make it a lot of fun for this old boy, I’ll tell you that.”

The Hokies improve to 13-3 and 7-2 in conference, while Virginia drops to 11-3 and 7-1 in the ACC. The loss also snaps UVA’s fifteen-game ACC winning streak which dated back to February of 2020. This victory not only puts Tech all alone in second place in the league, just behind the Cavaliers, but also marks the best start to ACC-play in program history.

“We’ve got to just keep chopping wood. We’re only halfway through the season and haven’t really accomplished anything yet,” sophomore Hunter Cattoor said. “I think we just have to keep going back to practice and focus on the next game and keep playing hard.”

With ten minutes remaining, Virginia led 42-34 and seemed well in control, but the final quarter of the game was nothing short of spectacular for Virginia Tech. The Hokies scored 31 of the games’ final 40 points, including an incredible 19-0 run, to slam the door on the upset victory.

“We hadn’t fouled that much, so the coaches told us to be aggressive on both ends of the floor, so we were just trying to do that,” Aluma said. “I forget how many fouls I drew, but I was trying to get downhill, be aggressive and get the body.”

Aluma had a large hand in the win, putting up a career-high 29 points in his second consecutive double-double. The Wofford transfer was aggressive in the paint, putting Cavs’ star center Jay Huff in foul trouble early. The Hokies’ big man made 10-of-15 shots from the floor and also hit two three-pointers after only having one in conference-play entering the night.

“I think there’s something to the Cassell and getting him back home,” Young said. “He had a nice pop to his step, and getting that first three down was a big deal. Then, he made another one, and that’ll really give you heartburn.”

Aluma played a large role down the stretch, aiding Tech’s big run with nine points during the Hokies’ explosion. However, he deserves all of the credit for keeping Tech in the game early on. He had 16 of the team’s 21 first-half points, keeping the deficit at eight heading to the locker rooms.

“We just had to keep shooting and stay confident,” Aluma said. “Sometimes, just like anybody else, we can get down on ourselves. So, we just tried to stay confident, and everybody else started knocking down shots.”

Virginia’s night offensively was the exact opposite of the Hokies’. The Cavaliers couldn’t miss early on, hitting 10 of their first 20 shots from long range, including four deep threes at the end of the shot clock. Then, they went as cold as the weather in Blacksburg this weekend, missing their final eight shots from beyond the arc and only making one field goal in the final eight minutes.

“It happens every time I see Virginia play. You guard your tail off and Hauser or Kihei [Clark] or Jay is banging a three with just seconds on the shot clock,” Young said. “I thought we were picture perfect and right there, but we had a little bit more toughness and resolve throughout the shot clock. You better have that against that bunch, or they’ll burn you.”

Virginia had scored 80 or more in three of its last four games as Hauser, Clark and Huff started to hit their stride as a trio. The Hokies’ suffocating defense held the Cavaliers to just 51 points, their lowest output of the season.

“I’ve got a really good defensive team,” Young said. “We had a really good night on that end this evening against a terrific Virginia team. This team of mine, they’ll fight you tooth and nail night-in and night-out. They’re conscientious, and they’re hard on one another if someone makes a mistake or someone doesn’t communicate.”

Cattoor had another big night for Tech and was the true catalyst of the Hokies’ run to take the lead. The Orlando-native put up 13 second-half points, including three huge makes from downtown. The sophomore guard tied his season-high with 15 points total.

“He’s a good ballplayer who can really shoot the ball, and he’s tough,” Young said. “It’s unsurprising that the kid is having a good year for us. He’s walked us out of some things that could have been dicey. He’s a consistent guy who’s going to make open shots, and he’s really improved in his defense.”

This is Tech’s fourth ranked win and second victory over a top-ten team. In the same week that Young’s squad lost starting guard Tyrece Radford to a suspension, the Hokies have made a huge statement that is sure to attract national attention.

“For this team to come back after a tough occurrence and to go to Notre Dame and win and to beat Virginia in here tonight is a real feather in your cap,” Young said.

The Hokies have matched last season’s win total in the ACC and are just half of a game back of the lead in the conference. What was initially viewed as a season to grow in just Young’s second year in Blacksburg has turned into a real opportunity to make waves in Greensboro and possibly in Indianapolis.

“[Our goal is] a national championship,” Cattoor said. “We all thought it was a realistic goal at the beginning of the season. When we come together as a team, we all have the same goal in mind, and we’re just going to keep working towards it.”

Tech won’t have long to rest on its laurels with two road trips looming on the schedule. Next week, the Hokies head north to face the surprising Pittsburgh Panthers before a flight down to Miami for a rematch with the banged-up Hurricanes.

Box Score

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33 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Is this the same team that lost our #1 scorer to Memphis via transfer?

    CMY is a special coach! GO HOKIES!

  2. Great team effort and extremely satisfying win. In addition to the previous comments here about Aluma, Cattoor, and Mutts, I felt Wabissa Bede also played very well. He’s gritty, a leader, and a great defensive player. Cant say enough about the job CMY is doing. Go Hokies!

  3. IMHO, what is being missed/understated by the “smart” taking heads is the job Mutts did defending Hauser. Yes, there were some breakdowns & Hauser scored 10; but, he has quickly become the center piece of uVA’s offense & I’ve watched numerous games when he just goes off. N’Guessan was a little less effective against Hauser; but, still, it’s a youngster vs a wiley veteran.

    Love CMY’s words: great win but crown not bestowed in January. My words: now don’t go lay an egg at Pitt Wednesday night.

    1. After 7 games – and 7 wins – in 1972 on his way to a NC, then-USC coach, the laconic John McKay, never one to boast, responded to a question from a reporter, “NC coach?,” thus, “I never heard of a team being crowned NC halfway through a season. And that 1972 Trojan team was one of the best CFB teams I’ve ever seen. It produced 3 – 1st round NFL draft picks: TE Charle Young, FB Sam “Bam” Cunningham and OL Pete Adams. Other future NFL players on that team included, QB’s Mike Rae and Pat Haden, RBs Anthony Davis, Rod McNeil, Allen Carter and Manfred Moore, WRs Lynn Swann and JK McKay and LB Richard “Batman” Wood. ,

  4. I didn’t see that coming, have to admit. After TR went out, I figured we wouldn’t have the firepower to stay with pUVA. Keve and Hunter really stepped up. Great win! Maybe MY can get a few more Wofford players! Great Victory.

  5. Wow, I wonder what the doubters about M.Y. Are thinking now. Seems many comments were that the jump he was making was too big, and that he had never coached at the ACC level, and so on. Well I think he is showing everyone that a good coach at any level can be successful…….You GO show everyone what and who you are MIKE !!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. Daddio isn’t doubting CMY. He’s asking where the doubters are now. (Me too.) There were plenty of doubters on this site before MY had coached a single Hokie game. What we’re seeing now isn’t smoke and mirrors. MY knows basketball. Whereas we can use a big man to bang the boards, we’re a much better rebounding team than we were last year. Syracuse though exposed our biggest weakness: we don’t have a complete PG, like JR who had the full range of skills for a 1: he had an outside shot, he had great vision and ball skills, he drive the lane, draw the defense to him and find the open man or take the ball to the hoop and was a great defender (steals). Bede is an excellent defender, ball-handler/distributor and rebounder but his shooting skills limit him and he doesn’t drive the lane. HC obviously can shoot and can play the point but is really a 2. We have difficulty when the shots aren’t dropping because we don’t have the big guy (think Elizabeth Kitley who is a beast) inside and we don’t drive the paint. Still this team is a work in progress that hasn’t reached its potential.. Fund to watch them grow. (Bede will make a fine coach.)

        1. Agreed that there were a LOT of doubters weighing in at the time – wondering why we couldn’t get a high-profile, top-tier, “hot” coach. I was not one of those doubters, having been really impressed with what I had seen of Wofford that previous season, and based on everything I had read. It seemed to me like a really good hire – not a certain slam dunk success but it made a whole lot of sense to me. I said as much in my own comments, and it continues to make sense in my eyes. I think we’ll miss Tyrece Radford (and hope maybe he can redeem himself and come back in future), but the performance since losing him (and especially in this UVA game) seem to really underscore what a thorough job Mike Young has been doing, encompassing recruiting and playing.

          1. Clearly, Whit is a guy who does his homework. He knew about Buzz from his Cincy tenure as both the Bearcats and Marquette were in the BE together, albeit briefly. Whereas I had never heard of Buzz, a ‘cuse co-worker told me, “you guys are getting a really good coach,” when the hire was announced. JJ was a disaster but not his fault as he had no previous HC experience nor did Ricky Stokes. (Both were Jim Weaver hires as was Seth Greenberg, a mixed bag.) Neither JJ nor RS were head-coaching material (some guys just aren’t). JJ is an AC @ NCSU and RS is out of coaching, is an administrator w/the M-D-America Conference. (He was a darn good PG @ UVA.) Whereas we were fortunate in the timing of Buzz, who did right by us (I understand he recommended MY), we knew he was a short-timer so it was no surprise he left. In retrospect, he changed the culture and could coach but he didn’t lay a foundation for a program. MY is laying such a foundation and creating a brand. And he isn’t going anywhere.

    1. Mike Young, whom I dubbed ‘MikeGyver’ for the great job he did after being hired, with hardly any team at all, quickly putting together a staff that hit the ground running, getting Jalen Cone committed within a month of being hired, being creative in getting players, just to have a competitive team.

      The bottom fell out at the end of the season, but to win 16 games with those circumstances, was a great accomplishment. Our lack of height, and depth, caught up to us. Landers Nolley moved on to a place which no doubt suits him better.

      This season, we have some more taller guys, and started with all scholarships filled. Catoor and Aluma, the guys from little ol’ Wofford, are showing that they are indeed ACC caliber players. With more time in Mike Young’s system, things should only get better.

      Mike ‘MikeGyver’ Young… is a diamond in the rough. The coaching community respected him, but a good number of Hokie fans were not only expressing doubt (understandable), but saying it was just a bad hire, well… I trust they are coming around.

      Get on the bandwagon. There’s always room!

      GO, HOKIES!

        1. I mean…what’s the point of comments like these?

          I’m not a big basketball guy, but yeah, I was a doubter. We hired a guy that’s probably in the latter half of his career, who had spent 17 years at Wofford where he had a 55% win rate. We had essentially just been jilted by a very nationally known coach who got us to the Sweet 16, and it seemed like our first couple of choices to replace him had rejected us. Of course there should have been doubts! To suggest otherwise is simply not realistic.

          So, I’ll presume to speak for 99% of folks who had doubts…and say we’re absolutely thrilled to be proven wrong so far. To keep beating the dead horse of comparison to football…I’d say we’re much happier with this scenario than football – where it seemed like a homerun hire, and has apparently gone south.

          So…I just don’t get the “where are the doubters” posts. Somehow I’m suspicious that everyone who is saying “where are the doubters” was on here in the hours after Mike Youngs hiring, proclaiming he was a fantastic hire. Seems to be a lot of 20/20 hindsight from some quarters. My goodness, let’s just enjoy the success.

          1. You are to be commended for your honesty. Buzz was not particularly well-known. He was a much-travelled AC (13 seasons) w/no college-playing experience who had all of 7 seasons of HC experience including 1 @ NO. I’m not dissing Buzz but we all know he was looking for a temporary landing pad w/an eye to get closer to home. And despite his success, he did not lay a foundation for a program. Young was well thought of in the coaching community and was endorsed (I’m told) by Buzz. Downside of his career? Jim Larranaga was 62 when he took on the Miami job and 14 years MY’s Senior; MY was 56 when he was hired @ Tech. Jim Boeheim is 76, Coach K is 73, Leonard Hamilton is 72 and Roy Williams is 70. MY has plenty of years left. What am I missing here? MY offers a record of success and competence and stability. You’re still a doubter.

            1. This is at least your second comment talking about how you had never heard of Buzz or he wasn’t well-known when he came to VT. He had been to two S16s and an E8 (and one tourney miss) in the four seasons prior to coming to VT. He was a HUGE hire, and anybody who follows college basketball even a little knew plenty about him.

              As for CMY, he’s got the program far ahead of schedule and all the signs point to sustained success. Exciting times for VT BBall for sure! On the other hand, the jury is still technically out. There’s NO reason to think he won’t guide the program to the heights it was reaching under Buzz, but objectively speaking he hasn’t accomplished much yet. Remember how high some people were on Fuente in 2016? There’s nothing “wrong” with trying to temper expectations a little.

              1. I follow CBB but not closely enough that I had heard of him. That said, had we still been in the BE, I would have heard of him but the ACC has long been (since the mid-1960s) the center of my CBB world. Buzz certainly was not a name coach. He would not have been on any list of the T20 coaches when he was hired. To be sure, his pre-VT record of 153-86 didn’t have him headed to the HOF. Buzz doesn’t even make the HM list here: https://bustingbrackets.com/2020/09/27/ncaa-basketball-ranking-20-best-head-coaches-past-5-seasons. I’m not running him down because his overall record of 275-171 (62%) is hardly mediocre and did win 100 games for us in 5 seasons. He was also entertaining which I don’t think MY will ever be. Most “known” coaches have a legacy associated w/a particular school. Mobility among college basketball coaches is the rule. To wit: Buzz has been a HC @ 4 – schools in 16 years. Coach K has been @ 2 -schools in 47 years, Roy Williams @ 2 in 34 years, Bob Huggins, 4 in 38 years and Leonard Hamilton 3 in 34 (I knew he had previously coached @ Miami, 1990-2000). Then there is Jim Boeheim, 1 – school in 40+ seasons. Gene Keady, remember him?

            2. Couple of things –

              You have two separate responses, both of which mainly focus on Buzz. All of that is irrelevant to my post, which just mentioned the Buzz situation as a way of reminding you of the scenario we were in. But to say Buzz “was not particularly well known” is just silly. It was HUGE news when he was hired here. As for the 1st two choices, I believe insiders on this board have said several times that we went for Odom and Wojciechowski first.

              I’ll also note that I did not say “downside” of his career – I said “latter half”. He started as an assistant in 1986. That’s 35 years ago. If he coached another 35 years, he would be 92 years old. So, I’m pretty confident in saying he’s in the latter half of his career. And I 100% agree that he can still have plenty of wins left. But it was also perfectly normal to have some doubts when he was hired.

              Your last sentence – “You’re still a doubter” – really says it all. You really just want to make yourself look good by calling out people. I look forward to you putting up the link to your comments the day he was hired, where you predicted this kind of success.

              1. A) I have no issues on Buzz; B) do you know that we went for Odom and W first? If so, why does my source tell me that Buzz recommended MY and did so early in the process? C) I stand corrected on, “downside” but, “latter half” is still open for interpretation. MY’s is 57, not old for a coach. Roy Williams is 70, has been in coaching for 49 years, a HC for 34 and has a few years left in him. He took on the UNC job in the 31st year of his career (“latter half?”). MY took on the Tech job in the 34th year of his career. What am I missing? Whit has a lot on the line w/MY, esp. given CJF’s uncertainty. I don’t believe MY was an impulsive hire. Whit was also looking for stability as Tech is hardly a basketball destination, even though Buzz demonstrated our potential – as did Seth for a while. But neither built programs. In both Aluma and Cattoor he proved he can recognize talent. His 17 years @ Wofford points to program stability. His NRV roots point to him retiring on his own terms if he is successful. Whereas I embraced the choice, what as my alternative? And I certainly did NOT go on this board or any other disparaging the hire so there is nothing to link. I was willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. As for Fuente, I thought it was a well-vetted decision that was handled well. The jury is still out on him; 2021 is his make or break year. Btw, JC Price looks like a good hire to replace DT. No, I was not trying to look good on this board. Imputing motives is never good.

          2. Btw, not only do I don’t believe it’s accurate or fair to characterize Buzz’s departure as Tech having been, “jilted,” I’d like to know which, “choices to replace him had rejected us?” First, to hearken back to what I previously said, we knew from the jump that Buzz was a short-timer who wanted to get back to Texas, home to him and his wife. He never figured to put down roots, stay for long. Had we known in advance we would get 100-wins in 5 years from him in the wake of 3-miserable years and that he’d leave after 5, who would have been begrudged him a life-long desire to end his career in his home state? Not this Hokie or any other I know, Buzz proved that winning basketball was possible in Blacksburg. Second, my sources tell me that not only did Buzz advise Whit of his decision to leave but endorsed Young to him. How long after Buzz left was MY hired? Not long enough to vet anyone else. Mike Young is not the first 56-year old coach to be hired by a P5 program and he will not be the last. He has plenty of potentially-productive seasons ahead of him.

  6. What a great win over a great Whoo gentleman coach! So happy to have MY and watch him bring this team along. Buzz who?

    1. He ‘wuzz’ our coach. And he can coach. Got us to the Sweet Sixteen. Also left the cupboard bare when he split town.

  7. “[Our goal is] a national championship.”

    Better to aim high and miss, than to aim low and hit…

  8. Love how we never gave up, even though shots weren’t falling early. Aluma is a grown man! Go Hokies!

  9. Aluma and Cattoor were a devastating 1-2 punch tonight. Having a hard nosed 1-2 guard like Hunter who will work his butt off on D and give u instant offense is a pivotal part of building a championship team.

    We are going to attract more players in the mold of these two either out of high school or via portal…just u watch and enjoy. Who wouldn’t want to play for Mike Young?

    Big John had a short relief for KEVE and he looked ok on D. Poor guy got 5 feet from basket and choked the automatic dunk or shoot decision but that will come with more PT.

    1. And how about that those two were headed to Wofford. And yet they are ACC caliber players. I don’t know if they had higher level offers or not. I hope they feel as fortunate to be playing in the ACC as we do to have them.

      1. CMY is building a program like CTB has @ UVA: blue-collar kids who are motivated to show up the Blue-Bloods.

  10. A second half to remember. I saw a confident and tough team tonight . We can get even better, this is one to build on.

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