CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia runs at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half, and a cold shooting evening turned out to be Virginia Tech’s undoing, as the Hokies fell to the Cavaliers 75-61 in an ACC game played Wednesday night at John Paul Jones Arena.
The loss marked Tech’s second straight and snapped the Hokies’ three-game winning streak against UVa. Tech fell to 16-9 overall, 6-5 in the ACC. UVa moved to 9-13, 3-8 in the league.
“The season isn’t over,” Tech head coach Seth Greenberg said. “We’re not going to throw a pity party for ourselves. We’ve got five games left. Right now, we’re plus-1 in the league. We’ve just got to play better. We’ve got to go out and find a way to get a win on Saturday.”
A big UVa run to end the first half enabled the Cavaliers to take command of the game. Tech had tied the game at 29 on two free throws by A.D. Vassallo with 3:45 to go, but the Cavaliers went on a 10-0 run to end the half and take a 10-point lead into the locker room. The Hokies turned the ball over three times and missed four shots on their final seven possessions in the first half.
In the second half, the Cavaliers jumped out to a 17-point lead thanks to a 13-6 run that opened the half. Sylven Landesberg’s basket with 12:15 remaining gave UVa a 52-35 lead – its biggest of the game to that point.
Tech managed to cut the lead to eight, 67-59 on a 3-pointer by Terrell Bell with 2:37 remaining, but the Hokies hit just one shot the rest of the game. UVa scored on five straight possessions after that Tech run, hitting 6-of-8 from the free-throw line in that stretch to put the game away.
“That run at the end of the first half was huge,” Greenberg said. “We played behind the whole second half and we couldn’t get stops.”
Vassallo paced the Hokies, scoring 21 points, grabbing eight rebounds and blocking three shots – tying his career high. Malcolm Delaney added 11 points for the Hokies, but hit just 3-of-13 from the floor and he went 0-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc.
As a team, the Hokies hit just 36.7 percent from the floor – tying for their worst percentage in an ACC game this season.
The Cavaliers got 19 points from Landesberg, who also contributed nine rebounds and six assists. Jamil Tucker scored 13 off the bench, while Calvin Baker added 10. The Cavaliers shot 43.9 percent from the floor and hit seven 3-pointers.
“Our defense was horrible,” Delaney said. “All of it – our help defense, our ball screen defense. I thought we gave a lot of effort, but our defense wasn’t very good and they got a little lucky and got to a lot of 50-50 balls. And then they hit some big 3’s.
“When we play our best is when we play good defense. We just haven’t been playing good defense.”
The Hokies return home this Saturday when they take on Florida State. Tip off for the game is slated for 8 p.m.
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