It was arguably the biggest game in the history of the rivalry on Tuesday night, as the No. 9 Virginia Tech Hokies traveled to Charlottesville to take on the fourth-ranked Cavaliers. However, the game didn’t quite live up to the hype as the Cavaliers easily defeated the Hokies 81-59 to remain undefeated on the season.
The game was close early, but that was about it. UVa was unconscious from beyond the arc, hitting on 10 of 14 attempts in the first half alone. The Hokies, meanwhile, shot two of nine from three-point range and entered halftime down 44-22.
The second half got off to a much better start for Tech as Ahmed Hill and Nickeil Alexander-Walker hit a couple of big shots and the Hokies were hot. After a 7-0 run closed the lead to 14 points, the Hoos took over and never looked back.
On the night, Virginia shot 58.5 percent from the floor, including 54 percent from beyond the arc as UVa’s trio of De’Andre Hunter, Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome combined for 50 points and the Hokies had no real answers.
Meanwhile, the Hokies shot 43 percent from the field and just 33 percent from beyond the three-point line. It’s the second straight game Tech has struggled from the field although the Hokies were much better on Tuesday night than they were in last week’s win at Georgia Tech.
Alexander-Walker bounced back from his worst game of the season to lead Virginia Tech with 19 points as he was six of 10 from the floor and two of three from beyond the arc. Hill chipped in with 14 points and Justin Robinson finished with nine. Robinson took just seven shots from the field. Kerry Blackshear was a non-factor, scoring just six points and battled foul trouble.
The loss drops the Hokies to 14-2 on the season and 3-1 in ACC play. Tech is now in a three-way tie with Duke and Syracuse (as of this writing) for second place behind the 4-0 Cavaliers. UVa travels to Durham on Saturday to face top-ranked Duke in a heavyweight battle.
The Hokies return home to Blacksburg to face a scrappy Wake Forest team on Saturday afternoon before traveling to Chapel Hill next Monday to face UNC.
While it was a tough loss, the Hokies lost to what is most likely the best team in college basketball. The two teams will meet again this season and remember last season, UVa blew out the Hokies in the first meeting while the Hokies rebounded and gave the Hoos their only ACC loss later.