January 25, 2015
UVa rallies past Tech in latest Commonwealth Clash matchup
By Jimmy Robertson
(2) Virginia (19-0, 7-0) 302050
Virginia Tech (8-11, 0-6) 272047
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 9,847
  • High Points: 15 - Adam Smith
  • High Rebounds: 5 - Devin Wilson

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech gave unbeaten and No. 2-ranked Virginia everything it wanted, but Adam Smith’s game-tying 3-point attempt in the waning moments wouldn’t go down, as the Hokies fell 50-47 to the Cavaliers in an ACC game Sunday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum.

The loss left Tech at 8-11 overall, 0-6 in ACC play. Virginia moved to 19-0, 7-0 in conference action.

The loss was a particularly bitter one for the Hokies, who led by as many as 10 points in the second half. It marked Tech’s fifth loss this season of three points or less.

“You’ve got to play for 40 minutes,” Smith said. “We played hard. We fought. There’s no question about that. You can say we were outmatched on paper, but we played the scouting report to a T. You’ve just got to win the game. That’s all there is to it. There’s no magic pill. You’ve just got to win.

“We didn’t win. What’s it all for? We’re supposed to play hard. It’s supposed to be a competitive game. You’ve just got to win. You’ve got to pull it out.”

Following the game, Tech head coach Buzz Williams took no solace in having his team play hard only to play Virginia close.

“Not trying to be sarcastic … I’m trying to handle my emotion the right way,” Williams said. “And not trying to be arrogant at all and not trying to be Herm Edwards (“You play to win the game.”), but you don’t play for all that. That’s the truth. I’m not trying to be silly. If we’re supposed to be applauded for playing hard, I think you can do that over at the Blacksburg Rec [Recreation Center]. It has to be more than that.”

The Hokies trailed by three at halftime, but used a 16-0 run to take a 43-33 lead on Devin Wilson’s basket with 10:43 remaining. But Tech went cold after that, scoring just two more baskets the rest of the game.

The Hokies’ final basket came from Ahmed Hill, whose layup with 1:06 to go cut the UVa lead to 50-47. After UVa’s Malcolm Brogdon missed a jumper with 34 seconds left, Tech called a timeout.

Out of the timeout, Tech’s Malik Müller had his 3-point attempt blocked by Darion Atkins, and the Hokies fouled Atkins with 12 seconds left. Atkins missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving Tech another chance to tie.

Williams called another timeout to set up a play. With a foul to give, the Cavaliers fouled with five seconds to go, so Tech took the ball out again. The Hokies got the ball to Smith, who launched a long 3-pointer with one second remaining.

The ball went halfway down and then popped out, leaving the Hokies disappointed and a sellout crowd groaning.

“It was supposed to be a fade, but we tried to run it when they fouled the previous possession,” Smith said. “They were on it. I knew I wasn’t going to be open [on the play], so I told Devin I would come and get it [the ball]. I got a clean look. It was a little deep, but it felt perfect. I thought it was going in.”

“Obviously they’re going to sit on top of Adam,” Williams said. “Most of you probably thought Adam was going to shoot, and I think they probably did, too.”

Smith paced Tech with 15 points – the Hokies’ lone double figure scorer. He made 5 of 12 from the floor, including three 3-pointers. Müller added nine points for the Hokies, who shot 45.2 percent from the floor – the second-best by an opponent against Virginia this season.

The Cavaliers only shot 34.7 percent from the floor. But they had 11 offensive rebounds to make up for that, and they outscored the Hokies 17-4 in the final 10:43.

“I think they made winning plays,” Williams said. “They did what an undefeated team does, what the second-ranked team in the country is supposed to do. And I thought we did what a team that hasn’t won a game in 2015 does.”

The Hokies return to action Tuesday night when they take on Pittsburgh. Tipoff for the game is slated for 7 p.m.

This game was presented by Virginia529, the official college savings plan of Virginia Tech Athletics. With a victory today by the Virginia Cavaliers, they have added a half point for their school to the Virginia529 Commonwealth Clash. The score for the Clash is now University of Virginia 5.5 and Virginia Tech 1.5. The other men’s basketball half point will be up for grabs when the Hokies visit Charlottesville on Feb. 28. Learn more about Virginia529 and this new competition at www.thecommonwealthclash.com.

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