Virginia squanders lead at Georgia Tech in 66-60 defeat

USA TODAY Sports

The Hoos failed to take care of business on the road once again in a disappointing loss to the Yellow Jackets

The Virginia Cavaliers saw its 4 game winning streak snapped today, falling 66-60 at Georgia Tech. The Hoos led by 9 points with 8 minutes to play, but failed to convert a field goal from Evan Nolte's three-pointer with 9:42 to play until Jontel Evans hit a layup when the game was all but lost with 36 seconds remaining. With the defeat, Virginia is now 5-3 in ACC play and 15-6 overall, while Georgia Tech improved to 11-8 (2-6 ACC).

Joe Harris steadied the Hoos, scoring 14 first-half points and 18 overall on 6-14 overall shooting. His efforts led the Hoos to a 9-point halftime lead. A more concerted second-half effort by the Yellow Jackets to focus on Harris led to open looks for his teammates, but, as Coach Bennett commented after the game, the team failed to capitalize late.

Georgia Tech came into the game at 1-6 in the ACC, a deflated record because of a brutal early-season schedule including games at Duke, NC State, UNC, and Clemson, as well as a home game against Miami. The Yellow Jackets boast one of the better defenses in the conference, but by far the worst offense (in efficiency terms). Just days after the Hoos held the nation's 9th best offense, NC State, to .87 PPP, the nation's 229th best offense scored 1.10 PPP. The only worse defensive game that the Cavaliers have played this year was their neutral site loss against ODU (1.11 PPP).

Virginia is now 4-0 at home but 1-3 on the road in the ACC. Before accusing the Wahoos of "lack of focus" or "inexperience" or other assorted intangibles, note that struggling on the road is not a new issue nor one limited to UVA. ACC teams are now 35-15 at home in conference play, winning at a 70% clip. Obviously, the game was attainable and losing was a disappointment; however, thus is life in ACC play. All it means is that Virginia will have to find their wins somewhere else to qualify for a chance at the NCAA Tournament. The team's next chance is Thursday, when UVA gets a chance to redeem their loss to Clemson Thursday night at JPJ.

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