BLACKSBURG – Zach LeDay scored 22 points and Justin Bibbs added 16 to lead Virginia Tech to a 70-68 upset of No. 4-ranked Virginia in an ACC game played Monday night at Virginia Tech Carilion Court.
Tech’s win over #4 UVA was their first win over a top five team since the Hokies knocked off #1 Duke on February 26, 2011. Tech improved to 10-5 overall, and this is their first 2-0 start in ACC play since the 2006-07 season. UVA dropped to 12-2 overall, and 1-1 in ACC play.
This game was higher scoring than expected, and somewhat ugly at times. However, that type of game suits Buzz Williams just fine.
“I thought the preparation by our assistants and the execution level of our team in a short turnaround was as good as it’s been,” Williams said. “I don’t think we’re good enough for it to be pure basketball. I think it has to be more of a fight, pseudo-basketball, because that’s what gives us our best chance.”
The Hokies held a 26-21 halftime lead, but everyone in the building knew that Virginia Tech would have to withstand one of UVA’s patented big runs to hold on for the win. Virginia got what could have been the knockout punch early in the second half, when the Hoos knocked down five three-pointers in the first five minutes, four of which came from point guard London Perrantes. Perrantes finished with 22 points and was 7-of-9 from three-point range.
Despite the early second half barrage, UVA never led by more than four points. The Hokies weathered the storm, fought the favored Cavaliers tooth and nail the rest of the way, and then went on a big run of their own late in the second half.
With 3:10 remaining, Zach LeDay missed two close shots, but came up with an offensive rebound each time. He then fought through UVA defenders to kick it out to an open Justin Bibbs, who buried a three-pointer to put the Hokies up 62-56.
Seth Allen came up with a steal on UVA’s next possession, kicked it ahead to freshman Justin Robinson, who then hit fellow freshman Kerry Blackshear for a breakaway layup. Blackshear was fouled on the play and converted the free throw to give the Hokies a 65-56 lead with 2:46 remaining.
The Hokies weren’t done. After a miss by UVA, Robinson hit a short jumper to put the home team up 67-56 with 2:10 left on the clock. That 8-0 run gave Virginia Tech just enough room to pull off the upset.
The Hoos nearly came from behind, thanks in part to their own good play, and thanks it part to some rough free throw shooting by Virginia Tech. The Hokies missed three of their next seven free throws (not counting two misses by Shane Henry with 0.4 seconds left), which gave UVA a chance to win or tie on the final shot.
London Perrantes drove the baseline with just seconds remaining, but was met by Shane Henry. Perrantes tried to initiate contact to draw the foul, but the whistles stayed silent while Zach LeDay blocked the shot from the side. Henry grabbed the rebound, was fouled, and the Hokies held on for the 70-68 victory.
“He drove baseline, so me and Shane just went up with our hands straight up,” LeDay said following the game. “He went into Shane’s chest trying to get a foul. Thankfully the refs didn’t give him the foul, because that would have been crazy.”
LeDay was one of the heroes of the night for the Hokies. He scored a team-high 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting, and he was 3-of-4 from three-point range. He also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds. Seth Allen added 13 points, while Kerry Blackshear had 10 points and six rebounds.
After scoring just two points against NC State and missing all of his shots from the field, Justin Bibbs had 16 points against the Hoos and was 4-of-5 from three-point range. Justin Robinson was a big contributor off the bench, finishing with five points, six assists, two steals, a block and no turnovers in 24 minutes.
Turnovers played a big key in the win for the second straight game. The Hokies had just eight turnovers after committing only four against NC State. UVA had 16 turnovers for the game, despite leading the nation in fewest turnovers per game (8.5) heading into the contest. The Hokies outscored their in-state rivals 26-6 in points off turnovers.
Virginia Tech returns to action this Saturday at noon when they travel to Durham to take on #10 Duke. The game can be seen on the ACC Network. Check your local listings.