The Hokies took on the Louisville Cardinals in Kentucky, the land of fried chicken. Fun fact, KFCs honey bbq sauce it phenomenal. Speaking of phenomenal, Keve Aluma has been just that to start off the season and is in the ACC player of the year conversation for the 19 ranked Hokies according to sources (sources are me). The Hokies turned Louisville over on the first possession, with Bede feeding Aluma for the first points of the contest. Bede sank a three with hands in his face and then Justin ‘No Mutts’ November sank two three pointers to get the Hokies starting on an 11-0 run to start the game within the first two and a half minutes. Louisville ended the 11-0 run by getting their first offensive rebound of the game and having Withers. Louisville went on their own nice 7-0 run of their own after some sloppy offensive play by the Hokies, including a Bede turnover. The run did not stop until the game became 11-9. The Hokies then got to the free throw line to get back up 13-9. The lineup shifted, and Mike Young brought out his shooters, adding Jalen Cone and Hunter Cattoor for some much needed offense. Cone sank a mid-range jump shot to extend the Hokies lead to 6. This game feels like a bunch of runs are going to happen with both teams executing and playing sloppier than KFC’s mashed potatoes with extra gravy. After the Hokies went up 11-0, Louisville went on a nice 21-6 run to take a 21-17 lead. The Hokies seemed to not want to get physical down in the paint. Out of their first 17 points, 0 came inside the paint. Louisville continued to play physical and retrieve offensive rebounds, kicking the ball out with 5:35 left in the half to sink a three to go up 26-18. From the 17:25 mark through the 5:35 mark, the Hokies have gone on a colder streak than me during quarantine. The Hokies and Cardinals exchanged field goals to end the half with Louisville leading 36-31 after a three on the Hokies last possession by Jalen Cone, who had 11 in the first half.
The second half started in a similar fashion with a team going on a run; but this time it was Louisville. Scoring the half first 7 points until Mutts got an and one to close the gap to 10, 33-43. The Hokies and Cardinals went back and forth, with Louisville getting up as much as 14, with the Hokies sticking around and pestering more than a baby brother. The Hokies were able to get Louisville in some foul trouble with 9 minute to go. Jalen Cone is so good in transition. Down 9 points, off a missed shot from Louisville, Jalen took it down to get within 6, 59-53. With 7 minutes to go, the Hokies committed their 7th foul, leading the way for both teams to play in the bonus for the rest of the game. Louisville retook their 8 point lead with that foul on Bede. I took a break from writing this article while my jaw dropped watching Jalen Cone. He was their only offense in the second half worth watching. It was unreal seeing what he was able to do and having a career high 23 points with 3 minutes to go. Louisville and Virginia Tech exchanged baskets to keep the Cardinal lead at 5, 71-66. The Hokies turned the ball over unfortunately with a bad pass from Jalen Cone to Keve Aluma, which was followed by a foul by Aluma. Louisville missed 1/2 free throws, Cardinals by 6 with 1:23 to go. The Hokies ran down the floor with Cattoor leading the charge and getting an opportunity for an and one to get within 4 with a save move to the paint. With 20 seconds let in the game, the Hokies have a possession left to tie the game, down three. Aluma gets to the free throw line and sinks his first free throw to get within two. Aluma makes his second free throw with 6.6 seconds left to be down one. The Hokies commit a foul with Louisville shooting two, up one. Louisville misses their second free throw to only be up two. Hunter takes the ball and shooooooots from three and misses off the rim. Hokies fall after a hard fought battle with Louisville, 73-71.