No. 14 Virginia needs second-half rally to edge Virginia Tech
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- All night long, with No. 14 Virginia trailing Virginia Tech, Justin Anderson kept 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 Harris made 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 Brogdon said 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 Perrantes added 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's stick-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.