The Hokies survived their all-too-common 2nd half slump and knocked off the #17 cavs by a soccer-like 47-45 margin in charlottesville, giving VT its first ACC win of the season and first win of 2012. Tech swept the hoos in ch’ville in the two major sports this year, and it marked the third time in five years VT has won at uva in hoops after a 40-year drought. Although at times I wasn’t sure the Hokies hoops team would score more points than the football team did two months ago.
Junior guard Erick Green led the Hokies with 15 points, 12 of which were in the 2nd half. Green played the final 5 minutes with 4 fouls. But Old Man River, Dorenzo Hudson, hit the shots of the game; first a hook with 1:11 to go to put Tech ahead 44-41, then after an Evans jumper to make it 44-43, Zo swished a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to put VT up 47-43 and all but salt the game away. Zo finished with 12, giving him 28 points in two games since he started coming off the bench.
uva would get the ball back with 0.7 seconds left down 2 at the far end of the court. But the wahoos full court pass deflected off Mike Scott’s hand and went out of bounds, ending any chance for the hoos.
Both teams struggled out of the gates on offense. The Hokies had just 10 points with 6:05 to go in the first half and 13 with less than 3 minutes to go. But Tech finally got going thanks to two 3-pointers in a row by Jarell Eddie. That helped propel the Hokies to a 23-19 halftime lead.
Tech would stretch their lead out to 32-25 with 15:20 to go and they had several chances to make it even more but saw the turnover bug start to bite. The Hokies would go more than 5 minutes without scoring and uva took advantage with an 8-0 run to take the lead 33-32 at the halfway point of the 2nd half. Tech would score just 5 points over the next 11 minutes (VT had 37 with less than 4 minutes to go), committing nine 2nd half turnovers.
Down the stretch the game went back and forth with several lead changes. It looked bleak for the good guys after Mike Scott rocked a one-handed dunk to put uva up 40-37 with 4:22 to go. At that point Tech had gone another 4+ minutes without scoring since leading 37-35 with 8:40 to go. The hoos, who play excellent defense, forced Tech to shoot a lot of fallaways and deep 3s.
Erick Green put the Hokies ahead to stay at 42-41 with just under two minutes left. That set the stage for Zo’s hook and game-clinching shot from the left corner. The 3-pointer swished through, sending the Hokie faithful and one idiot in a homemade uva shirt into a frenzy.
The Hokies managed just 4 offensive rebounds while uva snagged 13. This is becoming a concern for Tech who gave up 19 offensive rebounds to unc.
The story of the game was a contrast of 3-point shooting versus free throw shooting. If you know Hokie games (at least ones not involving unc), it is all about 3-point shooting. The Hokies shot a very respectable 5/13 from deep while the hoos hit a pathetic 1/14, including an 0-for the 2nd half. VT shot 45% from the field overall while the hoos finished under 33%.
So how did the wahoos make it close? Easy. Free throws. uva had 22 FT attempts to just 7 for the Hokies. In fact, at one point, the difference was 20-2. Tech had just 2 free throw attempts until 2:20 was left in the game. The hoos only made 14/22 though, as VT hit 4/7.
The Hokies did a fantastic job limited Mike Scott, uva’s star. He had 100 career points against VT coming in, but had just 2 points in the 2nd half and just 10 for the game. Scott, Joe Harris, and Jontel Evans all had 10 to lead the wahoos. Victor Davila deserves a lot of credit for Scott’s struggles, and Barksdale and Raines also did well.
uva played without their starting center, 7-foot Assane Sene, who was out with an ankle injury suffered in their previous game.
Jarell Eddie just missed a double-double. He had 8 points and 10 rebounds. Dorian Finney-Smith put up another goose egg. He’s now scored 2 points or less in 4 of 5 ACC games.
The Hokies return to the Cassell Wednesday to take on byu. The game is at 7 p.m. on ESPN3.