Virginia Tech stuns No. 4 Virginia 70-68
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Zach LeDay had taken 12 3-pointers all season, and when No. 4 Virginia sagged off him behind the arc on Monday night, all his practice during the summer and fall launching shots from behind that line paid off big for Virginia Tech in a 70-68 victory.
“I wasn’t surprised,” LeDay, a redshirt junior transfer from South Florida said after making 3 of 4 3-point shots and scoring 18 of his 22 points in the second half. “My percentages haven’t shown that I can shoot those.”
They will now, and the Cavaliers inadvertently let him show it.
“We had a hard time finding him sometimes,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said.
LeDay capped his big game by blocking London Perrantes’ driving attempt to tie the game in the final seconds, and the Hokies (10-5, 2-0), who rallied from 16 points down to beat NC State in their Atlantic Coast Conference opener, had the big upset.
It wasn’t pretty, coach Buzz Williams said, but style points don’t matter.
“I don’t think that we’re good enough for it to be pure basketball,” Williams said. “I think it has to be more of a fight, pseudo basketball, because that’s what gives us our best chance.”
The Hokies got 16 points from Justin Bibbs and 13 from Seth Allen in ending a seven-game losing streak against their in-state rivals. After the final horn, Hokies fans stood and screamed with delight as the school’s adopted anthem, “Enter Sandman,” shook the walls of Cassell Coliseum.
Perrantes hit six 3-pointers in the second half and led Virginia (12-2, 1-1) with 22 points, but LeDay swatted his driving layup in the final seconds, preserving Virginia Tech’s slim margin.
Anthony Gill added 17 points for Virginia, which outrebounded the Hokies and shot better, but had 16 turnovers that led to 26 points for Virginia Tech. The Hokies turned it over just eight times, leading to six points for the Cavaliers.
“They came out ready to go and we didn’t,” Gill said.
The score was tied seven times in the second half, and the Hokies used a 10-3 run to take a 57-53 lead with just over 5 minutes to go. Two free throws by Malcolm Brogdon made it a 2-point game, but Bibbs’ jumper doubled the margin.
A free throw by Gill and a defensive stop for Virginia gave them a chance to pull even, but their 15th turnover scuttled that and Bibbs burned them with his fourth 3-pointer moments later, igniting the home crowd.
Virginia coughed it up again on its next possession, and Kerry Blackshear converted for the Hokies, was fouled and finished the three-point play. A missed 3-pointer by Virginia led to Justin Robinson’s jumper, stretching the Virginia Tech lead to 67-56 with 2:10 remaining, and only then did the Cavaliers mount a comeback.
Perrantes’ sixth 3 of the half and another by Gill highlighted their rally to within a point, but Virginia Tech made just enough free throws to hang on, ending Virginia’s 11-game winning streak.
Virginia Tech’s Bibbs is 37 of 63 from 3-point territory this season, and Virginia’s Perrantes, who was 7 of 9, has made 29 of 49.
Virginia: Reserve guard Marial Shayok originally committed to play for Williams at Marquette. When Williams left to take the Virginia Tech job, Shayok reopened his recruiting and signed instead with Virginia.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies, averaging 13.5 turnovers, committed just four in their 73-68 victory over NC State in their ACC opener. It was the fewest turnovers ever for Virginia Tech in an ACC game.
Virginia plays at Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Virginia Tech plays at No. 14 Duke on Saturday.
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