BLACKSBURG (WAVY) – Justin Anderson’s stat line only read 12 points and six rebounds. But eight of those points came during a crucial stretch over the final six minutes in which Virginia outscored Virginia Tech 12-2, and escaped Blacksburg with a 50-47 win.
For a long while, it looked like the nation’s no. 2 was going down, and a court-storming at Cassell Coliseum was eminent. The Hokies (8-11, 0-6) led the Cavaliers (19-0, 7-0) 43-33 with 10:41 left, and Virginia did not give much indication it could generate enough offense for a comeback.
“It didn’t look promising,” said UVA head coach Tony Bennett afterward.
But his “packline defense” buckled down, holding the Hokies to just two more field goals the rest of the way. Anderson tied the game at 45-45 with a magnificent ally-oop slam-dunk, and then made a three-pointer on the ensuing possesion to give the Hoos the lead for good.
Hokies junior guard Adam Smith led all scorers with 15 points, and nearly sent the game to overtime with a last-second three-point try from straight away that went in but popped out.
Tech first-year head coach Buzz Williams, while pleased with the effort, stressed afterward his team has to do the technically sound things necessary to win games late. “I’m not trying to be silly, but if we’re supposed to be applauded for playing hard, I think you can do that over at the Blacksburg (recreation center),” he said,
“So, it has to be more than that.”
Virginia now has a week to wait before their primetime showdown with Duke in Charlottesville, while Tech will play Pittsburgh at home on Tuesday.