Virginia Tech came into Wednesday night’s game at #9 Virginia (17-4, 7-2 ACC) averaging 81 points per game, with five players averaging double digits in scoring. Against the Pack Line, the Hokies failed to break 50 points as they fell to the Hoos 71-48.
The last time Virginia Tech scored so low in a game?
January 25, 2015 when they scored 47 points...against Virginia.
“They’re an effective offensive team, especially in transition,” Virginia head coach Tony Bennett said of the Hokies. “They did miss a lot of shots - they had a few open ones, and the ones they had open they didn’t look like they were on tonight. I don’t want to take away our guys working and trying to bother shots and not giving them a lot of open looks.”
The Hoos got out to a much-needed fast start on both ends of the court, jumping out to a 10-0 lead and not allowing a Virginia Tech basket for the first 3:43 of the game. Isaiah Wilkins, who has been on fire as of late, scored five early points for the Hoos en route to making his first six attempts of the game (Wilkins also went 6-for-6 from the field Saturday against Villanova).
“We wanted to come out tonight and hit first, and we were able to do that tonight.” commented Wilkins. “We just played aggressively, guys took shots when they were there, and they just fell for us tonight.”
Wilkins finished with a career-high 15 points to go with nine rebounds, making it the third straight game in double figures. In four of the last six games, Wilkins has been within a bucket or a rebound of a double-double.
“I like life right now, life is good.” Wilkins said with a huge smile after the game. “I’m having a great time.”
While Wilkins was impressive, Devon Hall had the performance of the game with a career-high 17 points to go with nine rebounds, four assists, and a steal. Only three of Hall’s 17 points came from beyond the arc as he thrived in Virginia’s four guard lineup. Hall has now scored in double digits in eight of Virginia’s nine ACC games, something he only did twice in the non-conference.
“I like how he’s getting on the glass.” Bennett said of Hall. “A couple of his shots got blocked, otherwise he was on his way to a double-double and maybe 20-and-10. He’s had to work to guard defensively and his completeness offensively and defensively is showing.”
“Was I again?” Hall asked with a laugh in post-game when a member of the media asked if he had heard he was within a rebound of a double-double for the second time in three games. “I’m just hunting down the ball when I’m coming off the glass, because the bigs have to do a lot when it comes to boxing out and they sometimes aren’t able to get the ball or long rebounds and that’s when it comes to the guards getting back and getting those rebounds.”
Hall, Wilkins, and London Perrantes (14 points) all scored in double digits for the Hoos, and Marial Shayok (nine points) and Ty Jerome (seven points) contributed offensively. Although questions existed preseason regarding Virginia’s ability to find scoring, the Hoos are showing week in and week out that their balanced attack is here to stay.
“So much is talked about what they do defensively and rightfully so,” Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams commented after the game. “They’re arguably just as efficient offensively.”
Virginia grabbed 11 offensive boards, which led to 18 second chance points as Virginia Tech finished with just three second chance points.
The Hoos head to Syracuse on Saturday to face the Orange for the first time since they eliminated the Hoos from the NCAA tournament last season.
“Obviously, it hits home. It’s something that we were so close to getting to the Final Four...now we go back to that opponent at their place.” Perrantes stated. “I’m excited. I’m trying to get this bad taste out of my mouth still. Maybe this will help, but I don’t think it will. It’s just another game really. As hard as it is to say, it’s just another game.”
Odds and Ends
-This was the biggest Virginia victory over Virginia Tech since a 48 point win January 23, 1991.
-The Hoos earned a half point in the Commonwealth Clash, which they now lead 5.5-4.5.
-Virginia Tech’s 21 first half points were the fewest points the Hokies scored in a half this season.