Former longtime football coach Frank Beamer sat on Virginia Tech’s bench Wednesday night. But his presence did little to curtail a rough night for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech got behind early, then struggled mightily late to hold on to the ball, as well as hit a shot. Both added up to a blowout of a loss to Virginia, 71-48. The Cavaliers ended the game on a 19-7 run.
Senior guard Seth Allen had a team-high 14 points and senior forward Zach LeDay added 12 points. But the Hokies were undone by just 15 percent shooting from three-point range, 14 turnovers and were outrebounded 37-22.
"I think it's how they play," coach Buzz Williams said. "It's a credit to them. The thing that hurt us most other than (tough shooting) was that our turnover rate was way too high for as slow of a game as that was. Twenty-two percent of the time, we gave the ball to them without a shot and that's mathematically hard to overcome."
As hot as Virginia Tech was shooting Sunday against Boston College, it was just as cold on Wednesday night. Virginia took advantage and raced out of the gate with the game’s first 10 points. It took a four-point play from junior guard Justin Bibbs, on a three-pointer and ensuing free throw on a foul, to end the dry spell.
The Hokies cut their deficit to 15-10 with 10:56 left in the half, as sophomore forward Chris Clarke went on a 5-0 run by himself. That stretch included a pair of free throws, then a three-point play with a layup and free throw after a foul.
But the Cavaliers pushed their lead back out to 22-10 after freshman guard Kyle Guy nailed a three-pointer. That advantage went to 26-12 with five minutes to play in the half after an up and under, left-handed lay-in by junior guard Devon Hall and then 34-18 on an Isaiah Wilkins jumper.
"It sucks, with however many points they started out with," LeDay said. "They come out hot like that, it's hard to get it back. And when you dig yourself a hole, it's hard to get out of it."
It was Virginia offensive rebounds that also kept Virginia Tech at bay. The Cavaliers grabbed a pair in the final 31 seconds that helped them to a 35-21 lead at halftime. They grabbed seven offensive rebounds in the half, the same number of turnovers by the Hokies and just one less than Virginia Tech’s eight total rebounds.
"So much is talked about what they do defensively and rightfully so," Williams said. "They're arguably just as efficient offensively. It wasn't necessarily bad or good, but giving them offensive rebounds really hurt us."
The Hokies didn’t fare much better in the second half. Junior forward Tyrone Outlaw got them to within 38-25 just two minutes into the half. But from there, Virginia went on a 10-4 run to take a 48-29 lead with 14:33 to play.
An 8-0 run by Virginia Tech, capped by an Allen layup in transition cut the deficit to 52-41 at the 8:44 mark. But from there, the Cavaliers ratcheted up, then padded their lead.
"We got some of the shots we wanted and the ones that we did, just didn't fall," sophomore guard Ahmed Hill said. "We tried to get to the paint, but that pack line defense really kept us out of the paint."
Virginia closed the game on a 19-7 run and waltzed to victory.
The Hokies have the weekend off, but are back on the road next Wednesday night. They’ll travel to Miami for a 9 p.m. tip-off. Virginia Tech hosts Virginia Feb. 12.