IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa's best performance of the season was not enough to capture victory on Tuesday night. A taller, more athletic, more physical Virginia Tech team knocked off the Hawkeyes, 70-64, as part of the Big Ten-ACC Challenge at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
"That was a good team," Iowa Coach Todd Lickliter said. "I'm not into moral victories. I want to win. We had them down one late and just couldn't get a couple of back-to-back plays."
Anthony Tucker led the way for Iowa with 24 points (matching a career high) on 9 of 18 shooting from the floor, including 6-14 from beyond the arc. Matt Gatens handed out seven assists with only one turnovers and paced the team with six rebounds.
Iowa fell to 2-5 on the season, while the Hokies improved to 5-1.
"My thing with this team has been improvement; continue to grow and accept tough situations," Lickliter said. "We're going to have plenty of tough situations. This is a great group of guys. They play the game the right way, and if they keep doing it, then, not by luck, they're going to make good things happen. This is really a fun team to coach. I'm disappointed for them. They worked hard. It was two teams going at it pretty good today."
Iowa grabbed a 54-53 lead with 6:32 to play in the game on a Jarryd Cole lay-up. It put the Hawkeyes ahead for the first time since midway through the first half.
The Hokies responded with an 8-0 spurt to go up 61-54 with 4 minutes to play. Iowa fought back to cut its deficit to 63-59 on a Tucker three-pointer less than a minute later.
Then came the back breaker. The Hawkeyes' defense held the visitors without a shot for the first 34 seconds of the shot clock when Dorenzo Hudson drilled a triple from 25 feet. He came into the game 2 of 12 from beyond the arc.
Iowa desperately used timeouts and substitutions in the final minute but couldn't get closer than within four points of the lead.
After Iowa built an 11-3 lead, the Hokies rallied to grab a 34-28 lead at halftime. The Hawkeyes went 6:31 without scoring after Devan Bawinkel hit a trey with 10:40 remaining before halftime. Virginia Tech used a 17-2 run to take a 32-22 advantage at one point.
-2011 prospect Chasson Randle watched the game from behind the Iowa bench. The 6-foot-2, 165 shooting guard from Rock Island, Ill. Has earned a four-star rating from Scout.com and is ranked as No. 13 at his position for the ‘11 recruiting class. Iowa, Iowa State, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana have extended offers.
-Virginia Tech held the Hawkeyes leading scorer Matt Gatens to two points through the games first 33 minutes and he finished with six points and one field goal. Hudson was assigned to the Iowa sophomore most of the night.
-The Hawkeyes fell to 30-1 in games played on Dec. 1. They also fell to 2-7 all-time in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge.
-Payne set up the play of the night for Iowa when he lobbed one at the basket for Cole, who threw it down with two hands early in the first half.
-Iowa dashed out to an 8-1 start in the games first minute and a half, ignited by a pair of Tucker 3-pointers.
-Devon Archie, who returned to practice on Sunday according to Lickliter, was not in uniform for the game.
-Aaron Fuller, who has only played one minute since suffering a sprained ankle on Nov. 20, played three minutes on Tuesday. Lickliter said Fuller is still hurting and working his way back into shape.
-Iowa's actual attendance during its first four home games probably was in the neighborhood of 4,000-5,000 a night. Tuesday's crowd easily was the largest of the season in Carver. I'd estimate it at about 6,000. Students were admitted for free.
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