The Virginia Tech men's basketball team fell just short of the Virginia Cavaliers on Tuesday night by a score of 61-59.
The game was filled with everything a rivalry game should be as the Cavaliers came to town looking for a little pay back.
The game was hard fought on both sides as the Hokies (15-13, 4-9 ACC) and Cavaliers (21-6, 8-5 ACC) exceeded expectations offensively with their 40-point slugfest from earlier in the year looming over them. The two teams traded blows throughout the night as the game saw eight lead changes and six ties.
Despite the loss, there were positives that Tech coaches and players took from the game.
“We did a lot of good things,” said head coach Seth Greenberg. “I thought we had great spacing and pace for a majority of the game.”
Junior Erick Green, who led the Hokies in scoring on the night with 19 points, extended his double-digit scoring streak for the year and saw the silver lining in the loss.
“It was a hard fought match,” Green said. “We came out playing, we’re getting better and better.”
The game saw both teams fight for control of the lead during the first half with the Hokies eventually taking it at the midpoint of the half. Tech would hold on to the lead and extend it to by as much as nine during the first half, but see that lead dwindle to only three by half time.
“We had that one stretch where, quite honestly, we had too many empty possessions,” Greenberg said. “We lost our focus on a couple possessions defensively.”
The first half lead wasn’t the only lead the Hokies would surrender as the second half played out much like the first, with both teams fighting for control early on and the Hokies winning out. Tech would once again see its lead dwindle as they gave up an eight-point lead midway through the second half.
“We had a number of unforced turnovers that gave them easy transitions baskets,” Greenberg said. “We went a long stretch where we didn’t score, but we had a stretch where we had good shot. We had a chance at the end, we need to make some free throws at the end.”
Free throws once again played a factor in Tech’s demise.
Green, who only scored four points in the first half, exploded in the second and looked to be pacing the Tech to victory, but once again free throws became a factor for the Hokies. Several missed free throws by the Hokies in the second half, including two by Green in the final minutes, cost Tech dearly.
“It starts with me,” said Green. “As a point guard and a leader I have to be able to make my free throws and carry us down the stretch.”