For the third consecutive season, the Virginia Cavaliers trailed late in their annual meeting with Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. However, this time it was the Hokies who had a second half run in the tank. A furious UVA comeback fell short, and Virginia fell 70-68 to the rival Hokies to fall to 1-1 in the ACC.
|Getting to the line (FT Rate)||28.6||43.1|
The matchup was a true battle from start to finish, but Virginia Tech was the team that looked like they wanted the game more. Nursing a 3 point lead, the Hokies turned a key offensive foul by Mike Tobey into an 8-0 run that made the score 67-56 with just over two minutes to go.
The Hoos came storming back. London Perrantes nailed a three, Isaiah Wilkins hit a jumper, and Anthony Gill followed with a layup and then an open three of his own, while Tech managed just a free-throw. After two Brogdon free-throws, Seth Allen was only able to convert on 1 of 2 to give UVA the ball back with 8 seconds to play down by two. London Perrantes drove to the basket but came up empty, as the referees swallowed their whistles despite some serious contact. In the first 39 minutes of the game, it would have been called a foul. But on the game's deciding play, no such luck on the road.
No foul? Okay pic.twitter.com/iVjQq2R9dQ— Brandon Lloyd (@blloyd8298) January 5, 2016
London Perrantes on his final attempt? "I have no comment on that. It is what it is. The game's over."
Both teams started the game cold, with the Hokies taking a 26-21 lead into halftime. However, the second half was a (relatively) high scoring affair, as players suddenly caught fire from deep. London Perrantes started the period by drilling five consecutive three-pointers in the first seven minutes; he finished the game with 22 points on 7-9 long-range shooting. However, VT's Zach LeDay matched his 22-point effort, including 3 three-point makes (one more than he's had all season). Justin Bibbs added 16 and was 4-5 from beyond the arc.
But Virginia didn't lose the game because of shooting, though the team's interior defense was porous and the Hokies got far too many open looks from deep. Virginia still slightly outshot the Hokies and easily outrebounded them. UVA played carelessly, turning the ball over 16 times against a team that doesn't typically force many TOs; the Hokies converted those into 26 points(!). Many were of the unforced variety, but Tech deserves credit for bothering UVA's ballhandlers all night. Tech played with poise and intensity. Tony Bennett summed it up:
Besides London Perrantes's extraordinary effort - he's now the #2 three-point shooter in the NCAA at 59% - there wasn't much to like. Malcolm Brogdon finished with 15 points, but was 4-11 from the field, including 1-5 from three, and turned it over 4 times. Anthony Gill had 17 on 7-9 shooting, but was badly beaten on defense. Nobody else had more than 6 points.
What does it mean going forward? First of all, Wahoo fans all have a gross feeling in our stomachs. Second, the loss is going to count against UVA's NCAA resume. Finally, the team will have to learn that it can't sleepwalk, even against lesser opponents, and hope to pull out wins. Great teams can have bad losses. (Wisconsin lost at Rutgers last season, but lost in the Championship. UConn lost at Houston the year before, then won it. The list goes on and on). But they are avoidable, and losing to Tech is the worst. After playing with fire the past couple years at Cassel, it finally happened this time.
Virginia has all week to think about what it's done, then plays another road game at Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon. (The Hokies make a return trip on February 9th. I'd imagine that Virginia has that game circled now...)