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Virginia Tech basketball: Hokies drop heartbreaker to Virginia

Virginia Tech falls to 0-4 in ACC play.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies led the Virginia Cavaliers with just over three minutes remaining in Wednesday night’s ACC matchup. After trailing by as many as eight points in the game, it looked like the Hokies were about to pull off their first ACC win of 2021-22.

Unfortunately for the Hokies, they went scoreless in the final three minutes, and Virginia came back to defeat them, 54-52. Virginia Tech falls to 8-7 on the season, with an 0-4 record in ACC play.

The Hokies inbounded the ball with around nine seconds remaining and had two opportunities to win the game. First, guard Hunter Cattoor had a good look at the basket but missed the 3-point attempt. The ball found its way into the hands of Storm Murphy, who dribbled away to find a good look at the basket, but his shot came up just short, and the Hokies were disappointed yet again.

The game was close throughout, as Virginia went into halftime with a 25-23 lead. Neither team was lighting it up in the first half, with UVa shooting 35.7% from the floor, while the Hokies shot 37.5% from the field. The Hoos outrebounded the Hokies, 19-13, in the game’s first 20 minutes.

The Hokies appeared to finally take control of the game in the final minutes but leaned too much on forward Keve Aluma. Aluma was sensational but didn’t receive enough help from his teammates. Aluma led all scorers with 22 points. With just under a minute remaining, the Hokies had Aluma on the wing, but he dribbled into traffic, slipped and was called for a travel.

Tech would get two more opportunities but fell short. Ultimately, Aluma didn’t receive enough help from his teammates. Cattoor and Murphy scored 10 points apiece for the Hokies, while Justyn Mutts and Nahiem Alleyne were non-factors. Alleyne’s shooting slump is so bad right now, he’s passing up shots. He scored six points Wednesday, making two of his five attempts from the field. The good news is he did hit two of his three attempts from beyond the arc.

Virginia Tech’s bench scored just two points — both by John Ojiako.

The Hokies are in major trouble after Wednesday’s loss. They are back home in Blacksburg Saturday, hosting the red-hot Notre Dame Fighting Irish, winners of six in a row. Notre Dame is 4-1 in ACC play.

Virginia improved to 10-6, 4-2 in the ACC.