Virginia Tech fell 78-63 on the road at the hands of #6 Louisville on Tuesday night. The Hokies dropped to 8-8 overall and 0-3 in the ACC, while the Cardinals improved to 15-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play.
Tech and Louisville traded baskets and were tied 2-2 early in the game. After that, the Cardinals went on a 15-0 run to take a 17-2 lead, and the Hokies could never get back into the game. Tech cut the lead to nine points on two occasions in the first half, but Louisville extended the lead to 43-24 at halftime on the strength of a buzzer beating three-pointer by Wayne Blackshear.
The Cardinals went on to lead by as many as 29 points in the second half, though Virginia Tech did outscore them 11-0 in the final 3:55 to cut the final margin to 15 points.
Adam Smith paced Tech with 19 points. He was 5-of-7 from three-point range, and also had four rebounds. Freshman Justin Bibbs had 15 points and four rebounds, while fellow freshman Ahmed Hill had 14 points, seven rebounds (four offensive rebounds), two assists and a block. Freshman center Satchel Pierce had six points, four rebounds, three assists and a steal in 29 minutes.
The Hokies were 8-of-19 (42.1%) from three-point range, but they couldn’t get anything done inside against a tall, athletic and talented Louisville frontcourt. The Cardinals outrebounded Tech 40-33 (which is an improvement for the Hokies, considering most of their past games) and blocked eight shots.
Louisville committed just seven turnovers and shot 40% from three-point range despite coming into the game shooting only 29.7% from the outside.
On the bright side, Tech committed just eight turnovers against Louisville’s pressure defense. The Cardinals came into the game ranked #2 nationally in defensive efficiency and #7 in opponent turnovers per possession. The Hokies committed 25 turnovers against West Virginia, who ranks #1 in the country in opponent turnovers for possession, so we have to take that as a sign of improvement.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Sunday when they travel to #15 UNC. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:30pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.