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Keve Aluma Leads Virginia Tech to Victory Against Virginia 62-53

Keve Aluma 1 UVA at VT 2022 From VT

Virginia Tech was considered left for dead by most just a few weeks ago at 10-10 overall and 2-7 in the ACC. Since then, Virginia Tech has gone from the veteran team that can't close and is vastly underperforming to that team that closes games out and is now the hottest in the ACC after ending Virginia's four-game winning streak.

Virginia Tech beat Virginia 62-53 with the Hokies improving to 16-10 on the season including 8-7 in ACC play while UVA fell to 16-10 overall including 10-6 in ACC play.

This game was a tale of two halves as UVA led at halftime 29-25, but the Hokies took control of this game early in the second half with a 13-4 start. Tech was dominant overall as the Hokies were an impressive 10-18 from the field in the second half while UVA was 10-30. Tech also got to the line plenty even before UVA started fouling at the end going 17-21 from the free-throw line including 15-19 in the second half.

Limiting turnovers were key as the Hokies only had 6 after having 4 two days earlier against Syracuse compared to 10 for UVA tonight. Offensive rebounding was a struggle for Tech as UVA had an 11-4 offensive rebounding advantage that they turned into a 12-4 second chance points advantage.

The Hokies were only 5-10 from three-point range, but UVA was 0-9 for their first game without a three since their game against Saint Francis in November 2016 with Tech's perimeter defense proving stout. This was also the first time that Virginia Tech has held an opponent without a made three-point shot since March 1st, 2012 when Clemson went 0-10 from three.

Keve Aluma played like an All-ACC First Team caliber player with 24 points on an impressive 10-14 shooting plus 8 rebounds, 4 blocks, 1 assist, 1 steal, and a team-tying best +17 plus/minus. Aluma was a force on both ends of the floor providing some highlight reel moments with powerful dunks and blocks.

Storm Murphy may have not had his best shooting night, but the veteran point guard was very good overall with 7 points, 2 assists, and 1 rebound plus a +17 plus/minus that tied with Aluma for the best of the night. Nahiem Alleyne also had a strong night defined by drawing five fouls and getting to the free-throw line a lot finishing with 11 points including 6-8 from the free-throw line while adding 3 rebounds, 1 assist, and a +11 plus/minus.

Justyn Mutts may not have had a triple-double but he was just as dynamic passing the ball this evening with 5 assists and 0 turnovers plus 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 steals. Hunter Cattoor was 1-5 from the field for 3 points but found other ways to produce with 7 rebounds, 2 assists, and a +11 plus/minus.

Sean Pedulla led the bench with 4 points on 2-3 from the field while adding an assist, a steal, and a forceful block on Kehei Clark. Darius Maddox had a quiet offensive night with only an early three while David N'Guessan made his only shot of the night from inside the arc.

Jayden Gardner led the way for UVA with 17 points overall but only 2 in the second half while veteran PG Kihei Clark had a rough night with only 2 points on 1-9 shooting from the field plus 2 assists. Kadin Shedrick added 11 points on 4-7 shooting plus 6 rebounds while Reece Beekman had 10 points on 4-8 shooting, 4 assists, and 2 rebounds.

Just a few weeks ago, this team seemed left for dead after a heartbreaking buzzer beater loss to Miami had them at 10-10 overall including dead last in the ACC at 2-7. Now, the Hokies are reviving not only their bubble chances but also opening an outside chance for a sensational pursuit of even a double bye at the ACC Tournament via their second-straight top 4 finish at 16-10 overall including 8-7 in ACC play, the first time they've been above .500 all season.

The past two games have also shown that this team has found the toughness, physicality, and grind mentality that has allowed them to close out a pair of tight games against Syracuse and Virginia winning by 9+ points both times.

Virginia Tech has turned the corner and then some as the hottest team in the ACC with their biggest test of this four-game homestand coming at the end of it on Saturday against North Carolina. Win that one, and the Hokies might just be centrally on the bubble once again, something that seemed next to impossible just a few weeks ago.

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