The second match up of the season between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the University of Virginia Cavaliers certainly did not disappoint. Just moments after the Hokies’ Tyrece Radford tied the game at 51, Kihei Clark hit a three pointer with 2.1 seconds left to win the game for the Wahoos. Although the fans in Cassell Coliseum did not get the result they were hoping for, the crowd was alive and well to see their Hokies storm back from their early offensive woes. The Hokies came all the way back from being down 15 and only scoring 11 total points at the half to eventually taking the lead with less than 5 minutes left in the game. Virginia Tech scored 42 second half points to nearly pull off the upset but down the stretch, it was the Hoos who made one more big shot at the end of the game to take the lead for good.
Both teams struggled to get any offense going early on. With 9:54 left in the 1st half, Wabissa Bede made a jumper to put the score at 12-6 in favor of UVA. Mike Young went with an interesting starting line up with Landers Nolley II and Jalen Cone on the bench. However, after a couple ineffective offensive possessions, he quickly subbed both players in. Unfortunately for the Hokies, that didn’t create the offensive spark that MY was perhaps looking for. Both teams played well defensively and due to UVA’s slow nature on the offensive side, finding any offensive flow was difficult. Tech was 1 for 13 (7%) behind the arc to end the half.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “Live by the three, die by the three.”
The second half was a completely different story for both teams. PJ Horne came out and hit a 3 to jump start the Hokies offense. Landers Nolley started to get into a groove and looked more like his early season self, scoring 10 second half points (13 overall). Jalen Cone hit two big second half 3’s to ignite the crowd and get the Hokies rolling. With 4:52 seconds left, Hunter Catoor completed the comeback by draining a 3 to take the lead 47-46. Tech was 8-14 from behind the arc in the second half. “Live by the…” well, you know. Even with Tech’s offensive outburst, UVA made enough shots to remain within a one point possession.
UVA took the lead 53-51 with 2 minutes left. Neither team scored again until the 11 second mark when Tyrece Radford hit a lay up to even the score at 53. Kihei Clark then took the ball up, took a jab step to create some space between him and the defender, stepped back and nailed the dagger to sink the Hokies. Landers Nolley’s half court attempt to tie it up clanked off the back board and the game had ended.
Tech will travel to play the 11th ranked Louisville Cardinals on Sunday evening at 6pm. Although this was a tough loss to swallow, Mike Young and the boys showed a lot of grit and fight in this game. A young team showed a lot of heart and desire to compete even after such a poor first 20 minutes.