No. 14 Virginia Edges Virginia Tech, 57-53
February 19, 2014INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
VIRGINIA PRESS RELEASE
All night long, with No. 14 Virginia trailing Virginia Tech, Justin Andersonkept thinking the Cavaliers were about to take control. Then instead, the Hokies would make a run.
When just 6 minutes remained on the clock, time was running out for the Cavs.
But then Anderson and Joe Harrismade consecutive 3-pointers in the closing minutes Tuesday night, and Virginia used a 24-6 run to erase an 11-point, second-half deficit and beat the struggling Hokies 57-53 for its 10th consecutive victory.
"It felt really good to see a couple of them go through the net when we needed it most," said Anderson, who had missed 19 of his previous 20 attempts from 3-point range.
The first big shot came from Anderson with 3:26 to play, pulling the Cavs to 46-45. After a turnover, Harris connected from deep with 2:39 left, just his second field goal of the game, to give Virginia its first lead since early in the first half. A defensive stop and Anderson's second 3, from virtually the same spot as the first, put the Cavaliers ahead to stay at 51-46.
"I think we're resilient," guard Malcolm Brogdonsaid after leading Virginia with 12 points on 3-for-11 shooting. "Even if shots don't fall, we've gotten accustomed to winning. Therefore, we find ways to win."
The Cavaliers (22-5, 13-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) made their run after falling behind 40-29. Virginia matched its best start in ACC play - the 1980-81 team was also 13-1.
London Perrantesadded 11 points for the Cavaliers, who clinched a spot in the top four when seeds are set for the ACC tournament.
The Hokies (9-16, 2-11), who ended a 10-game losing streak in their previous outing on Saturday against Miami, got 13 points each from Joey Van Zegeren and Devin Wilson. They lost their fifth in a row in the series, but not before putting a huge scare into their state rivals, and maybe giving themselves something to build on in a season that has been difficult.
"We played with heart. We came out with fight," Van Zegeren said. "We were well prepared. We were mentally very well prepared. I think everybody was focused to win this game. If we bring that to every game, it will help us a lot."
The Hokies led 28-21 at halftime and extended their lead to 30-21 on Van Zegeren's dunk to start the second half. Virginia then scored six in a row, pulling to 30-27 on Anthony Gill'sstick-back.
Almost before the Hokies' fans could panic, though, Ben Emelogu hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and as the crowd cheered, Virginia Tech kept it going, putting together a 10-2 run to lead 40-29.
Five points by Perrantes and 3-pointers by Harris and Brogdon highlighted a 13-3 burst that pulled the Cavaliers to 43-42. Van Zegeren's dunk and a free throw by Emelogu gave the Hokies a 46-42 edge, setting up the exciting finish.
Virginia Tech trailed 14-13 until Emelogu's free throw sparked a 9-0 run. Wilson had five of the points, including just his 10th 3-pointer of the season, and the Hokies opened a 22-14 lead.
They went 6:29 without a point but never lost the lead because the Cavaliers were in the midst of going 6:53 between field goals. Gill ended that with a three-point play 4:59 before halftime, and Virginia's only basket the rest of the way was a 3-pointer by Brogdon at the halftime buzzer.