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Virginia Tech basketball: Hokies fall to Virginia 65-57

The Hokies struggled against Virginia’s terrific defense.

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

The Virginia Cavaliers hosted the Virginia Tech Hokies in the latest installment of the Commonwealth Clash on Wednesday in Charlottesville. Both teams entered the game with a 2-3 record in ACC play and needing a win.

Unfortunately for Virginia Tech, Virginia came out on top, defeating the Hokies 65-57.

Some good news for the Hokies is that senior guard Hunter Cattoor returned after missing VT’s last game with a head injury. Cattoor scored 12 points for the Hokies, shooting five of 10 from the field. He was one of the three Hokies in double figures.

Now, for the bad news, it was pretty much everything else. The Hokies struggled from the field again, shooting only 27% in the first half, allowing UVA to build up an 11-point lead at one point. The Cavaliers would head into intermission with a 25-18 lead. The Hokies were down 10 when guard Sean Pedulla found Cattoor open on the wing for a 3-pointer just before time expired.

That offensive momentum appeared to follow the Hokies into the second half, but despite getting the game within five points on multiple occasions, the Hoos remained hot from the floor, particularly inside the paint. Virginia Tech had no answer for senior forward Jordan Minor. The transfer big man scored 16 points, the first time he reached double figures since arriving in Charlottesville. UVA point guard Reese Beekman also scored 16 to pace the Cavs.

Turnovers again plagued the Hokies. Tech turned the ball over 15 times, 10 of them in the first half. Pedulla led VT with 18 points but also seven turnovers. Pedulla also led the Hokies with five assists and tied for the team lead with six rebounds.

The Hokies shot the ball better in the second half but still finished only 38% from the floor. Tech made 11 of 30 from beyond the arc but missed too many open looks, especially in a game where it had no inside presence. Lynn Kidd played only 19 minutes, finishing with just two points and two rebounds. He was not in foul trouble, either.

VT needs more from Kidd if it is going to win some of these more difficult ACC games. The Hokies have a daunting schedule upcoming that began on Wednesday. They need more than Pedulla and Cattoor. And, Pedulla, for as great as he’s been, needs to cut down on the turnovers.

Next up for Tech (10-7. 2-4) is a trip to Raleigh to face an excellent N.C. State team.