The loss snapped the Hokies’ modest two-game winning streak. Tech now sits at 11-7 overall, 2-3 in the ACC. Virginia moved to 13-5 overall and 3-2 in league play.
The Hokies led 17-10 in the first half after a basket by Green with 9:20 remaining, but the Cavaliers busted the game open, going on a 24-2 run to take a 34-19 lead. They never trailed again.
Virginia’s Joe Harris scored 12 of his 17 points in the first half, including nine – on three 3-pointers – during that run, and Evan Nolte added eight of his career-high 18 points in that run, hitting two 3-pointers and a layup. Virginia hit 9 of 10 shots during that run, including the combined five 3-pointers by Harris and Nolte.
Tech trailed by double digits the entire second half. The Hokies cut the lead to 10 on three occasions, the last coming on two Green free throws that made the score 52-42 with 8:40 remaining. But Nolte answered with a 3-pointer with 7:54 left, and Tech got no closer than 11 the rest of the game.
“I thought the guys played hard tonight,” Tech coach James Johnson said. “I don’t know how smart we played. We were supposed to guard certain guys certain ways. We let Nolte get off for a few 3’s that were too open for him. We knew he was a 3-point shooter. We talked about Harris, and we let him have too much space.
“I thought the effort was there. I just don’t know how smart we played.”
Nolte, a freshman, came into the game averaging 6.4 points per game, but he hit five 3-pointers for the Cavaliers. He hit 6 of 12 from the floor, and he and Harris combined to hit nine of Virginia’s season-high 11 3-pointers, as the Cavaliers shot 51 percent from the floor (26 of 51) and 47.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (11 of 23).
Green, the nation’s leading scorer at 24.6 points per game coming in, certainly did his part with the career-high 35 points – the most by a player against the Cavaliers since 2006 and the most by an ACC player this season. He hit 11 of 18 from the floor, including 3 of 6 from beyond the 3-ponit arc, and 10 of 13 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed a career-high nine rebounds.
But no other Virginia Tech player scored in double figures. Jarell Eddie finished with nine points and nine rebounds.
The Hokies now hit the road for their next game, an ACC contest at Clemson on Sunday afternoon. Tip-off for the game is slated for 1 p.m.
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