The Hokies faced a tough challenge in Chapel Hill Thursday night as they faced #9 North Carolina, who currently resides at the top of the ACC standings with a 7-1 conference record. After two consecutive one-point wins, the Hokies needed to be on their “A” game to have a fighting chance against the Tar Heels. Unfortunately, North Carolina was on their “A” game while the Hokies were consistently mediocre throughout the contest.
However, despite the final point spread, it was the Hokies that raced off to a fast start. Virginia Tech hit three of their first four triples and led 11-7 at the first media timeout. From then on, North Carolina simply could not miss, finishing the half with eight made threes. In fact, this was the second game in a row Virginia Tech allowed their opponent to make eight threes in the first half.
The Tar Heels finished the game shooting 46.7% from downtown, and their 14 triples were a season high. Berry and Justin Jackson, Carolina’s two best shooters, each had five.
The real issue in this game was the Hokies’ inability to rebound the basketball, specifically on the defensive end. Carolina forward Kennedy Meeks continued to do what he has done all season, and outmuscled the Hokies for 7 offensive rebounds and 14 total. North Carolina ended the first half shooting just 40.5% from the field, but posted 16 offensive rebounds as a team. That allowed them to take 18 more shot attempts than the Hokies in the first half.
The Hokies were outrebounded in this one 43-22, including 19-4 on the offensive glass.
Jackson, Meeks, and Berry combined for 56 of the Tar Heels 91 points. Those were the three key players the Hokies needed to stop, but they were just physically outmatched by that trio.
Seth Allen once again turned in a very good performance for the Hokies, but it was not enough. The redshirt senior led the team in scoring with 19 points and 5 assists.
The Hokies return to Cassell Coliseum Sunday night to take on Boston College.