The Hokies put up a good fight, but ultimately fell to #2 UVA 69-57 in Charlottesville on Saturday afternoon. Tech dropped to 10-19 and 2-14 in the ACC, while the Hoos improved to 27-1 and 15-1.
Virginia Tech jumped out of the gates strong, taking a 9-3 lead, and then pushed it out to 11-4 on two Ahmed Hill free throws. The Hokies remained in command in the early going, but UVA’s suffocating pack line defense kept them in the game, and the Hoos finally took their first lead 19-17 after two Malcolm Brogdon free throws with 5:48 remaining. Tech never led again.
The first half ended with the Hoos leading 28-24, and they steadily increased their lead in the early stages of the second half. An Anthony Gill dunk put the home team up 48-35 with 11:50 left. However, the Hokies still had some life in them. Adam Smith hit two straight three-pointers, and Malik Mueller followed with a deep shot of his own, and suddenly Tech was back in the game and trailing just 50-44.
After a missed shot by Gill, Devin Wilson grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball up the court. He found Satchel Pierce running down the lane, got him the ball, and Pierce was fouled. Tech’s freshman center made both free throws, and the UVA lead was down to 50-46 with 7:32 remaining.
Unfortunately that was as close as the Hokies would get. UVA responded with a three-pointer, and the Hoos went on a 12-0 run over the span of 3:26, and that effectively ended any chance of a Tech comeback. Nevertheless, it was a solid effort for the Hokies, who became just the second team in the last seven games to break 50 points on UVA’s vaunted pack line defense.
Adam Smith led the Hokies with 19 points. He was 5-of-9 from the field, 4-of-7 from three-point range, and 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Ahmed Hill added 10 points, Malik Mueller had nine, while Devin Wilson had eight. Christian Beyer added six points and six rebounds.
The Hokies outrebounded UVA 31-29, marking the first time in ACC play that they have outrebounded an opponent. It was a surprising development in the game, considering the Hoos came in ranked #4 in the country in rebounding rate, while Tech was #342 out of 351 teams.
Jalen Hudson, who scored 23 points on Wednesday against Duke, was held scoreless and attempted only one shot. Justin Bibbs had just three points and was 1-of-10 from the field.
The Hokies only had eight turnovers, but their biggest detriment in this game was their inability to stop UVA inside. Christian Beyer got in early foul trouble, as did Satchel Pierce, and for part of the game the Hokies had to go with a five guard lineup.
Tech returns to action on Monday night when they host Boston College. Tipoff is scheduled for 9pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.
(home page image of Malcolm Brogdon and Satchel Pierce courtesy of Michael Ingalls, TheSabre.com)