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Virginia Tech falls to North Carolina in ACC action

The Hokies fall to 2-6 in ACC play.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia Tech at North Carolina Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies have a tough week ahead. After a disappointing five-point loss at Boston College Saturday, the Hokies were back on the road Monday at North Carolina. It was a makeup game from last month when Virginia Tech’s basketball program was in the middle of a COVID-19 pause.

Unfortunately for the Hokies, they came up just short, falling to the Tar Heels, 78-68. Virginia Tech is now 10-9 on the season, with a 2-6 record in ACC play. The Hokies are only a half-game ahead of Georgia Tech for last place in the ACC.

The Hokies were competitive in this one, leading at different points in the first half, but UNC got hot just before halftime and went into intermission with a 37-33 lead.

The Heels stayed ahead of the Hokies in the second half, but a pair of Keve Aluma free throws cut UNC’s lead to 57-54 with over five minutes remaining in the game. However, North Carolina quickly answered, reeling off five points in a row, and the Hokies never got that close again.

A quick glance at the final stats, and you wonder how Tech could’ve lost this one. The Hokies shot 46.6% from the field, while the Tar Heels shot just 36.5% from the floor. The difference in this game was UNC’s size, which showed up on the boards. North Carolina outrebounded the Hokies, 43-32, and had a ridiculous 16-5 advantage on the offensive boards.

UNC big man Armando Bacot dominated down low, scoring 14 points and pulling down 19 rebounds. The Richmond native collected his 10th consecutive double-double and 15th of the season. Against a team like North Carolina, the Hokies’ lack of size and depth up front will always be a problem.

Aluma led the Hokies with 19 points, while Justyn Mutts scored 18 points and finished 10 rebounds. Hunter Cattoor scored 13 for Virginia Tech, while Nahiem Alleyne chipped in with 10 points.

The Hokies will play their third game in five days Wednesday, as Miami comes to Blacksburg. This will be another tough one for the Hokies, as the Hurricanes are tied with Florida State atop the ACC.