Virginia Tech Drops a Close Game to #2 UNC

Zach LeDay
Zach LeDay

Virginia Tech played #2 UNC tough down to the wire, but ultimately lost 75-70 in a great game in Cassell Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. The Hokies dropped to 12-8 overall and 4-3 in the ACC, while the Tar Heels improved to 18-2 and 7-0.

This game looked like it was going to get out of hand early. The Hokies made just three of their first 17 shot attempts, and the Tar Heels used their impressive size and athletic ability to jump out to a 36-16 lead with 5:48 remaining in the first half. It looked like the home team was going to get blown out in a big way.

However, as they’ve done in previous games this season, the Hokies battled back. They closed the half on an 18-3 run and trailed just 39-34 at halftime. They also started the second half strong by outscoring the Tar Heels 7-3 in the opening 1:31. Overall, they went on a 25-6 run that spanned the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, and found themselves trailing just 42-41 with 18:29 remaining in the game.

“You just can’t look at the scoreboard,” Seth Allen said of overcoming such a large deficit. “You’ve got to keep on fighting.”

The teams settled into a back and forth game, but eventually UNC was able to build a 57-49 lead with 11:01 left. However, Tech responded once again with back-to-back three-pointers from Jalen Hudson and Zach LeDay to stay in the ball game. At that point, it was anybody’s game.

At the 8:05 mark, the Hokies took their first lead on a Kerry Blackshear basket to make the score 61-59. It would be the only time Virginia Tech led, but the game was tied on two more occasions, and it eventually went down to the wire.

Unfortunately, the Hokies weren’t able to get shots off on two late possessions, as both Zach LeDay and Seth Allen committed turnovers against tight UNC defense. The Tar Heels switched to a zone late in the game, and Tech didn’t have a great response, though they had attacked that zone successfully earlier in the game.

Still, the Hokies had one more chance to win or force overtime. Trailing 74-70 with eight seconds left, Justin Bibbs’ right wing three-pointer went halfway down, but bounced out, similar to Seth Allen’s potential game winning shot at Notre Dame. UNC was able to make one last free throw, and the game ended on a missed three-pointer by Allen.

Zach LeDay paced the Hokies with 17 points. Jalen Hudson added 14 points, Kerry Blackshear had 12, while Allen finished with 11. Allen led the team in rebounds with five, and he also had two steals.

Despite two straight tough ACC losses, the progress this team has made is obvious. It will be tough for them to overcome their lack of size on some nights, but they have proven that they can play with anybody.

“It’s hard to say you’re making progress when you’re losing,” Jalen Hudson said. “But I feel like we’re learning a lot from our losses. We haven’t been losing in the same way, I feel like…once we get a little bit deeper and we’re in one or two possession games, I feel like we’ll win them.”

Virginia Tech was not expected to be competitive in conference play this season. Nevertheless, they are embracing the underdog role.

“Nobody expects us to win,” Seth Allen said. “We were picked 14th in the league. We’ve just got to keep on fighting, man.”

The Hokies will be underdogs once again on Wednesday night when #16 Louisville comes to town. Tipoff is scheduled for 8pm, and the game will be televised by The ACC Network.  Check your local listings.

Box Score

13 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Georgia Tech let Louisville slip out with a win. We should have confidence that we can win that game. GO HOKIES !!

  2. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall in the locker room for the half-time talk Buzz gave. The word “chemistry” gets overused but this team is not last year’s team by any stretch of the imagination. I’ve always been a big proponent of “matchups” as a reason for winning and losing games. I may have to add “attitude” as well. The last two games we’ve lost the matchups but made up for it with attitude.

  3. Devin is a very good athlete. His role is play good defense, penetrate and kick, play the point as needed. Was great to see him hit a 3 today. In basketball every player out there is important. Devin is very quick for a Six Four guy and he plays good on ball defense.

  4. This team has heart. They apparently did not know that they were over-matched, and out of the game early. We are competitive!!!
    Hope those near Blacksburg will continue to pack the Cassell.

  5. Another great effort by Buzz’s team. I’m proud of ’em. One comment would be – the “striped Cassell” is a great idea but use Orange and White or Maroon and White so it shows up on TV!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Devin is a Hokie who IMO has earned my respect. He has NEVER never given up after lots of adversity and don’t forget his IRONMAN status his freshman year due to NOBODY able to replace him.

  7. Well played game by the Hokies. I can only imagine this team in one or 2 yrs. Allen will be tough to lose in 2 yrs, but Wilson will be great to replace becauze he is all but useless to this team (or might I say not necessarily needed as much as a scholly for another big man)

    1. Buzz likes Devin as a defender. Often subs in him and Shane Henry on D, then pulls them on offense in late game situations. So he has a role on this team, though I do wish he had spent the last couple years developing confidence in his shot.

    2. We couldn’t rebound, we couldn’t score and we were down by 18. Devin grabs a rebound and goes coast-to-coast and finished with a layup to start the Hokies 18-3 run to close out the half. I’ll take DW on my team any day.

      1. Agreed. Devin Wilson is a Hokie through and through. Tough and never let’s up, a good example for the younger players. He’s on my team!

    3. C’mon Griff – “useless”? You clearly don’t see obvious talent and much needed role players. D Wilson can carry the rock if he has too – but that is not his zone – He is all about the D and the Hustle and that is what Buzz loves and that is why he is here now.

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