Virginia Tech got caught looking ahead on its schedule. With Duke and College Game Day coming to Blacksburg in one week, it was clear the Hokies had their mind on the national attention, rather than their hated rival that just completed a season sweep.
Virginia Tech (17-8, 7-5 ACC) fell to Virginia (13-13, 4-8 ACC) 61-54 in a very lackluster showing by the Hokies.
UVA took Virginia Tech out of their comfort zone and showed no mercy. Setting up a half court offense that drained the shot clock and ended with a circus-like 3-pointer. Virginia Tech tried to push its tempo, but turned the ball over too many times and couldn’t create good shots against a tough defense.
The Hokies gave up a 7-1 run to close out the half trailing by five points. The Cavaliers continued to ride the momentum and stormed to an 8-2 run to open the half and never look back.
UVA shot lights out from behind the arc, shooting well over 60-percent during the game and finishing at 47.8-percent. Virginia Tech struggled to guard the perimeter, and when it was guarded well, UVA still found a way to knock down the key 3-pointer.
Malcolm Delaney wasn’t much of a factor early in the game, but with 8:38 left in the game, the senior decided to make his mark on the game. Delaney finished the game with 22 points on a lowly 8-for-22 shooting and 6-for-15 from behind the arc.
Jeff Allen failed to assert himself in the second half and finished the game with 11 points and 15 rebounds—extending his double-double streak to seven games. Allen was expected to carry more of the offensive load, but he looked a little sluggish and was unable to assert himself during the game.
UVA got a group effort from its starting five to blindside the Hokies. Mustapha Farrakhan led the way with 16 points. Joe Harris and Sammy Zaglinski combined for 25 points. The three UVA guards shot a combined 10-for-19 from 3-point range.
Virginia Tech defensively didn’t have an answer until the waning minutes of the game. Unfortunately for the Hokies their comeback attempt was cut short by the clock. The Hokies cut UVA’s commanding 15-point lead to four with 19-seconds left in the game.
The Hokies were unable to make key shots and stop the 3-point shot from UVA.
The loss is a killer blow to Virginia Tech’s NCAA resume. The next week will decide if the Hokies deserve an NCAA birth or another shot at the NIT tournament.
Virginia Tech fell back into the middle of the pack of the ACC, treading above three teams in a fight for the fourth seed of the ACC tournament.
Next up, the Hokies travel to Wake Forrest on Tuesday night before the big meeting against Duke. Both games have turned into must wins for Greenburg and company.