Virginia Tech was able to do a lot of what they wanted having a significant advantage in turnovers, dominating points in the paint, and finding open three-point shots especially in the first half. Unfortunately, the Hokies' failure to make those three-pointers combined with Virginia's average efficiency from deep proved costly.
No. 20 Virginia Tech fell to No. 3 Virginia to fall to 20-6 on the season including 9-5 in the ACC. With the win, Virginia improved to 23-2 on the season including 11-2 in the ACC. With the loss, it was the first time that Virginia Tech was swept by Virginia in the regular season since the 2014-15 season.
Three-point shooting crushed the Hokies as Virginia Tech was an awful 11.1% (3-27) from three-point range while Virginia was a respectable 40.7% (11-27) from three-point range. That difference in three-point shooting made a major difference on the final outcome of this game.
Outside of three-point shooting, Virginia Tech did lots of other things well with a 13-10 offensive rebounding advantage and a 21-13 second chance points scoring advantage, something that is quite unusual for the Hokies. The Hokies also dominated the paint as they would want to with a 38-16 scoring advantage in the paint along with a 13-6 advantage in points off turnovers.
Defensively, the Hokies held their own in some regards with 9 steals compared to 5 for Virginia. Additionally, the Hokies also had only 8 turnovers compared to 13 for Virginia.
Virginia's big three stepped up in this big game led by Kyle Guy who had 23 points including 17 in the first half on 8-15 shooting including 6-13 from three-point range. Meanwhile, Ty Jerome played well with 16 points on 6-10 shooting while De'Andre Hunter had 10 points including 8 in the second half.
While many Hokies struggled from deep, Kerry Blackshear was dominant in the post with 23 points, 13 rebounds (5 offensive), and 2 steals. Blackshear has taken his game to the next level and has emerged as arguably the best true big man in the ACC alongside North Carolina's Luke Maye. Blackshear major improvement has made a difference and if the Hokies can find their rhythm against from three-point range, their offense could be poise to thrive at an extremely high level once again.
Ahmed Hill was productive with 16 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals, but Hill struggled from three-point range going 1-8 from three and 6-17 overall from the field. Nickeil Alexander-Walker had a rough night as well as his slump deepened after going 4-14 from the field including 0-6 from three-point range on his way to only having 11 points, but 3 steals.
Ty Outlaw also had a rough night going 1-6 from three-point range and 1-7 overall on his way to only having 3 points. Despite that, Outlaw did make a difference with 5 offensive rebounds.
Jonathan Kabongo provided a spark with a three-point play that would be his only points of the night. Wabissa Bede was kept off the scoreboard once again but had 3 assists while Isaiah Wilkins had 2 points and P.J. Horne was also kept scoreless.
Both teams started off well on the offensive end with the Hokies making their first four shots to claim a 9-7 lead early on. The offenses did eventually slow, but the game remained tight with the Hokies and Virginia being tied at 13 halfway through the first half. The pace of offense continued to slow with a four-point play from Ty Jerome giving Virginia a 23-16 lead, their largest of the first half to that point. UVA was able to do this despite the fact that De'Andre Hunter was on the bench for most of this stretch with two fouls.
Virginia Tech was able to respond with a 6-0 run that cut the Virginia lead to 23-22. From there, it was pretty back-and-forth between the Hokies and Cavaliers with Virginia building their lead up to no more than 5. The Hokies got the final statement in with an Isaiah Wilkins steal and score right before halftime to cut Virginia's lead to 32-29 at the break.
Three-point shooting was a major difference as Virginia was okay going 5-14 from deep while the Hokies struggled mightily going 2-13 from beyond the arc. Virginia Tech did well in the paint with a 20-8 advantage in points in the paint while also having only 5 turnovers compared to 8 for Virginia. Additionally, the Hokies matched Virginia with 6 offensive rebounds in the first half including 3 from Ty Outlaw.
The first half was defined by the stellar play of Kerry Blackshear and Kyle Guy as Blackshear had 15 points on 4 rebounds on 7-8 shooting for the Hokies while Guy had 17 points on 6-10 shooting including 4-8 from three-point range.
Virginia Tech briefly tied the game in the first half with Virginia holding a 37-35 lead with 15:56 to go (first second half media timeout). Virginia opened it up to their largest lead of the game so far after that going on a 11-3 run to take a 48-38 lead. Virginia Tech was able to cut it back down to 5, but Virginia used an 8-0 run to open up a 13-point lead (56-43) with 5:42 to go. Virginia Tech was able to cut the lead down to 7 inside the final 2 minutes, but Virginia was able to keep the Hokies more than an arm's length on their way to a 64-58 victory.
Photo Credit: Bobby Murray
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