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Virginia survives serious scare in Blacksburg, edges Hokies 50-47

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It wasn't much fun, but the Hoos picked up another win.

Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Midway through the second-half, the #2 Virginia Cavaliers trailed Virginia Tech by double digits.  That was not how Wahoo fans drew up the team's trip to Blacksburg to take on a Hokie team that's already lost to Appalachian State and Radford at home.  But the Cavaliers once again made some big plays down the stretch, coming to life just in time to edge Virginia Tech 50-47.  With the win, UVA remains undefeated at 19-0 (7-0 ACC), while VT drops to 8-11 (0-6 ACC)

GAME STATS:

Virginia

Virginia Tech

Points Per Possession .88 .80
Effective FG% 40.8% 51.2%
Offensive Rebound % 30.3% 4.2%
Turnover % 22.9% 25.5%
FTA/FGA 24.5 16.7

A fan watching the first part of the game would not have guessed the turnaround to follow. The Hoos led 9-2 quickly, then grabbed the game's biggest margin at 24-13 after the under-8 timeout. But the Hokies scored the next 10 points to pull within one, and went into the tunnel down 30-27.

UVA fans looking for a "Cavalanche" to pull away would have to wait. After a Malcolm Brogdon three to start the second half, the Hokies went on a 16-0 run to take a ten point lead in front of a raucous crowd.  Only then did Virginia begin to chip away.  A big London Perrantes three cut the lead to 43-36.  Then, Justin Anderson took over. Down the stretch, he drilled two three-pointers, one to take the lead for good, a pair of free-throws, and this thunderous alley-oop to tie it up:

The Hokies had a chance to tie at the end, but Adam Smith's deep three at the buzzer barely rimmed out.

UVA had one of its worst offensive games of the season (besides its 45-26 win against Rutgers).  The team just couldn't find any rhythm at all on offense - the Hoos turned the ball over on 23% of its possessions, including 8 in the second half. Mike Tobey coughed it up 3 times and had just 4 points, while Anthony Gill, London Perrantes, and Brogdon had 2 TOs apiece.

When the team wasn't losing the ball, it took poor quality shots, making just 33% of threes and 36% of twos.  During a game when the trio of Darion Atkins, Mike Tobey, and Anthony Gill should have feasted inside, they struggled to get touches. Justin Anderson finished with a team-high 12 points on 3 for 7 shooting (2-5 from behind the arc), but couldn't get anything going until the final minutes. Malcolm Brogdon scored his 8 points on 3-10 shooting, making some questionable shot-selection decisions.  London Perrantes shot 2-8, though he did hit a late three.  Marial Shayok took 5 shots and made none.  This was team-wide poor-shooting effort.

Virginia Tech may have scored just .8 PPP, but the Cavaliers can't be too proud of their defensive effort, particularly Tech's 61% shooting on two-pointers.  UVA got badly out-shot, but won because they played far better in the other aspects of the game. The Hoos got to the free-throw line more, turned the ball over less, and rebounded FAR better - the Hokies had just 1 offensive board all night.

It's tough to explain what happened at Cassel today. Surely, the Hokies deserve credit for playing an excellent game, particularly on defense. But the shorthanded Virginia Tech team came far too close to upsetting the #2 Cavaliers. Maybe the Hoos were looking forward to Duke, maybe they get rattled by Cassel (like in last-year's close call), or maybe they just had an off-day. The bottom line: a win's a win, but UVA can't play like that again and hope to repeat that result.

The good news. Virginia Tech did score under 50 points. Get those Packline Pledge donations in!

Next up: #BeatDuke.