North Carolina showed why they’re one of the top teams in the country, and the Hokies showed what a lack of height will do against a tall team. North Carolina also made a season high of three-pointers on their way to a huge win on Thursday night, 91-72
Virginia Tech jumped out to a quick start, leading 8-2 and 13-7 at early points in the game. They started hot from the three point line, but ended up shooting just 9-25 (30%) from long range. UNC, on the other hand, shot 14-30 (46%) from the three point line, which is what separated the Tar Heels from the Hokies late in the first half and early in the second half.
The main difference in this game was the rebounding difference. The Tar Heels had 16 offensive rebounds in the first half compared to just one for the Hokies. UNC ended the game with 19 offensive rebounds (for 20 points), and 24 defensive rebounds. For anyone keeping at score, that’s 43 rebounds — compared to only 22 for the Hokies. Credit Roy Williams for realizing the height difference and emphasizing crashing the boards on offense. The Hokies actually shot better from the floor (51% compared to 49%), but with the Tar Heel grabbing so many offensive boards, it offset that discrepancy.
Another aspect that helped North Carolina have such a large margin of victory is the bench points totals. While they are very similar (24 for the Hokies, 26 for North Carolina), it is important to note that the two best players for the Hokies — Clarke and LeDay — both came off the bench tonight.
While this is normal for Hokie fans to see, usually it leads to a large difference in bench points, almost always in the favor for Virginia Tech. That wasn’t the case tonight, and played a major role in allowing North Carolina to pull away. Even when their starters weren’t in, they were playing at a very high level and wore out the shorter (in both length and depth) Hokie bench.
Once North Carolina cooled off from long range, they started to go inside and realized how easy it would be to score there. They had 42 points in the paint, and none of them were all that difficult to score. It’s a downside of playing a four-guard lineup, and Hokies fans saw what could happen from playing small ball against a talented, taller, faster, more athletic team tonight.
Seth Allen led the Hokies with 19 points, Justin Robinson added 17, and Zach LeDay has 12 points. Robinson led the team with seven assists and Outlaw had a team high of five rebounds.
The Hokies return to action on Sunday against Boston College in Cassell at 6:30. It’s the blackout game, and is basically a must-win game for Buzz and his team.