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No. 8 Virginia falls on the road to No. 20 Virginia Tech, 65-51

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A terrible second half dooms the Hoos.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 09 Virginia at Boston College Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The No. 8 Virginia Cavaliers had a chance to extend their lead on the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC standings, but faltered 65-51 at No. 20 Virginia Tech. Keve Aluma got anything he wanted offensively, putting up 29 points for the Hokies. Despite holding a lead lead for the majority of the game, Virginia suffered a 19-0 scoring run by the Hokies in the second half that turned the tide. With the loss, Virginia (11-3, 7-1 ACC) stays atop the ACC but picks up its first ACC loss of the season and ends a 15-game conference winning streak that dates back to the 2020 season.

Jay Huff led Virginia with 13 points, with Kihei Clark adding 11 points, and Sam Hauser and Trey Murphy each scoring 10. As a team, Virginia shot 37% from the field and 36% from three, but those totals were 30% and 23% in the second half, respectively.

The Hoos had more steals and forced more turnovers, but Virginia Tech shot a blistering 61% from the field and 70% from three in the second half as they pulled away from the win.

Virginia’s first 12 points came from beyond the arc, with Clark and Huff each hitting a pair. Clark’s second three of the game came from way outside as he shot it from the V in the VT logo. Hauser pushed the Hoos’ lead to 14-11 with Virginia’s first two-pointer of the game, but Aluma, who had nine of VT’s first 13 points, added two free throws to cut the advantage to one. Hauser got in on the three-point fun with his first of the game, getting the shot to fall with a hand in his face and the shot clock ticking down.

A tough jumper from Casey Morsell gave Virginia a five-point cushion, and hit another shot to make it 21-7 with 8:23 to play. Seven straight from Aluma quickly tied the game at 21, with Aluma accounting for 16 of the Hokies’ 21 points. Clark’s third three of the game put the Hoos back in front and ended the VT scoring run.

After a long miss by the Hokies, Clark corralled the long rebound and went the length of the court before finishing in transition with a nifty spin move in the lane. Murphy canned a three as the shot clock expired, pushing Virginia’s lead to eight. Jalen Cone was called for an offensive foul as he kicked his leg out shooting a three, but Virginia couldn’t take advantage as they were called for a shot clock violation.

The Virginia defense stepped up over the final stretch of the first half, holding Va Tech scoreless for the last 6:10. Virginia Tech went 0-for-6 with four turnovers in that span.

Clark led Virginia with 11 points in the first half as the Hoos shot 44% from the field and 47% from three. Despite not scoring for the final 3:22 of the half, Virginia finished on an 8-0 run to take a 29-21 lead into the break.

Unsurprisingly, Aluma led the Hokies with 16 points in the first half. VT shot 38% from the field and 25% from three over the first 20 minutes, but turned the ball over nine times as the Hoos came up with five steals (all by different players).

A layup from Hauser opened the second half and pushed Virginia’s lead to 10. Bede responded with a two, ending at seven minute scoring drought for the home team. Huff turned the ball over, and VT made them pay with a three from Cone that cut the lead to 31-23 in an instant.

Great defense from Hauser and Huff forced Mutts into a difficult shot, and Murphy hit his second three of the game to push the lead back to eight. Cone responded with another three as both teams stepped it up to start the second half. Not to be outdone, Huff took advantage of some lackadaisical defense and hit his third three in as many tries.

Huff made a nice turnaround jumper, but five straight from Cattoor and Aluma cut Virginia’s lead to 39-34 with 14:23 to play. A backdoor cut by Cattoor brought the Hokies within four as the Virginia offense got out of rhythm. One made free throw from Beekman — Virginia’s first of the game — pushed the advantage back to five with just under 10 minutes remaining. VT sandwiched a Murphy dunk with two threes, cutting Virginia’s lead to 45-44.

Cattoor’s second three of the half tied the game at 47-all, and Huff picked up his fourth foul as VT started building some momentum at home. Bede gave VT its first lead since 11-9 in the first half, making two at the line. Tech pushed its lead to 12 with another onslaught of points from Aluma, and Virginia’s offense went cold.

Virginia’s scoring drought spanned five minutes as 47-44 lead turned into a 61-47 deficit. Things stayed gross as Virginia wouldn’t score again until the 1:12 mark with a jumper from McKoy.

The Hoos don’t have long to regroup as they travel to NC State on Wednesday evening. That game is scheduled for 9pm, and will be on the ACC Network.