Last year, Kerry Blackshear was dominant against Pittsburgh with 31 points to lead Virginia Tech to an 81-67 victory over the Panthers. This year, Blackshear reminded us of his dominance against the Panthers with another great performance.
No. 22 Virginia Tech beat Pittsburgh 70-64 led by 29 points from Blackshear. With the win, Virginia Tech improved to 20-5 on the season including 9-4 in the ACC while Pittsburgh fell to 12-14 overall including 2-11 in the ACC.
Virginia Tech was the superior offensive team shooting 51.2% from the field and 47.6% (10-21) from three-point range compared to 46.5% from the field and 27.3% (6-22) from three-point range. Virginia Tech's ball movement wasn't perfect, but the Hokies did fairly well overall with 14 assists with improved ball movement in the second half.
Kerry Blackshear was dominant with 29 points on an impressive 8-9 shooting from the field including 3-3 from three-point range and 10-11 from the free-throw line. In addition, Blackshear had 9 rebounds and 2 assists with only 2 turnovers despite being the clear focal point of VT's offense.
Blackshear was a difference maker taking over the first half for the Hokies while continuing to dominate in the second half all over the floor. Overall, Blackshear has shown lots of improvement in ACC play and has emerged as one of the conference's best big men.
Ty Outlaw was dominant on the glass with 9 rebounds while also having 7 points, all of which came in the second half. Outlaw was quiet for much of the game on the offensive end but down the stretch, the veteran wing stepped up and made a big difference for the Hokies.
Ahmed Hill had an up-and-down day with 14 points on 4-11 shooting including 2-6 from three-point range. Meanwhile, Nickeil Alexander-Walker dealt with massive foul issues with 4 fouls including 3 in the first half that limited him to 9 points and 3 assists in 17 minutes in what was one of his worst games of the season.
Wabissa Bede found a way to make a difference with only 2 points as he had 7 assists and 2 steals in 33 minutes. Jon Kabongo had a significant role and made an impact with 6 points and 2 rebounds in 13 minutes. Isaiah Wilkins had 3 points in 16 minutes while P.J. Horne played 12 minutes.
The first half was defined by a pair of significant runs for both teams. Virginia Tech went on a 15-2 run early in the first half to take a 17-6 lead, but Pittsburgh responded with an 18-5 run of their own to claim a 24-22 lead. Eventually, VT has a response finishing the first half with a 9-2 run to take a 31-26 lead into halftime.
Kerry Blackshear was the star of the first half with 16 points and 5 rebounds while shooting a perfect 4-4 from the field, 2-2 from three-point range, and 6-6 from the free-throw line. VT put together this strong first half despite the fact that Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 3 fouls and only played 7 minutes.
Virginia Tech was able to hold onto what became a 41-35 lead during the first 7 minutes of the second half despite not having Nickeil Alexander-Walker on the floor for any of that time. Pittsburgh was able to cut the lead to 2 before the Hokies went on a 7-2 run to take a 48-41 lead.
However, the Hokies had some serious foul trouble with Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Ahmed Hill each having 4 fouls with 7:58 to go. Despite that, Virginia Tech found their offensive rhythm with a 9-0 run to take a 57-46 lead inside 6 minutes to go. From there, Pittsburgh was able to make it interesting cutting the lead to 66-60 in the final minute, but VT was able to hold on for a 70-64 victory.
Photo Credit: Bobby Murray
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