Virginia Tech was dealt a tough hand, visiting Pittsburgh just under 48 hours after their exhausting win over Virginia. The Hokies had not beaten the Panthers away from Blacksburg since the 1966-67 season, compounding the toughness of the challenge they had in front of them tonight. The fatigue was evident in the first half, as the Hokies failed to close out hard on shooters and found themselves down 40-29 at the break.
However, the Hokies found their energy minutes into the second half. A 12-0 run ended with a rare 7 point possession as Ahmed Hill drew an intentional foul on the break, finished the basket anyways, and Bibbs hit a three to give the Hokies a 54-53 lead. Pittsburgh would not lie down, but the Hokies used a circus shot from Justin Robinson and yet another clutch shot from Seth Allen to take the lead for the final time.
The game finished with a frenzy, as Pittsburgh had three opportunities to tie the game up but failed to convert on any of their deep attempts.
Pittsburgh raced out to a hot start, shooting 73% from three in the first half. The slow starts for the Hokies have become somewhat problematic for the Hokies this season. Despite facing deficits, the gobblers kept their composure and were able to win their second straight game down double digits at the half.
Virginia Tech was also playing it’s first game without key contributor Chris Clarke. While Clarke was seen multiple times on the TV broadcast dancing on the bench, the team was toiling to get rebounds, as Pittsburgh posted a +14 rebound margin.
The win in Pittsburgh marks the first time since 1967 that the Hokies have beaten the Panthers in the Steel City - a span of 50 years. To do it on such a short turnaround makes this win all the more impressive.
Ahmed Hill got his three-point stroke going again, which is good news for the Hokies. After making just three triples in his last eight games, Hill went 3-6 from deep tonight and led the team with 17 points.
With the win, the Virginia Tech moves to 7-6 in conference play. The Hokies have most of the week off before traveling to #8 Louisville for another tough road game.