Photo Credit: Dave Knachel/Virginia Tech Athletics
Virginia Tech didn't open 2020 well with a rough first half for Hokies not named Landers Nolley dooming Tech to a 65-39 defeat at No. 19 Virginia. With the loss, the Hokies fall to 10-4 overall including 1-2 in ACC play while Virginia improved to 11-2 overall including 3-0 in ACC play.
Tech had a nightmare performance on the offensive end with 13 turnovers after averaging only 9.5 per game entering the day, the fewest in the country. Tech's shooting was also brutal with Tech shooting 27.1% from the field and 4-25 from 3. Additionally, the Hokies were 0-13 in the first half from players not named Landers Nolley or Tyrece Radford.
Tech's 13 turnovers included a 5-second violation and a 10-second violation with Mike Young saying that the 5-second violation should be credited on the stat sheet to him and the 10-second one wasn't a fault of the team.
Meanwhile, Tech's defense slowed UVA early, but wasn't able to keep it up as the Cavaliers had one of their best offensive days of the season shooting 46.2% from the field including 33.3% from three-point range. If there were a couple positives for Tech, it's that they were able to force 11 UVA turnovers with 7 steals on the day while also having 5 offensive rebounds compared to 6 for UVA.
Landers Nolley was the star for Tech with 15 points on 6-10 shooting in the first half, but going 1-6 in the second half to finish with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 5 turnovers. Tyrece Radford was one of the few Hokies who also had a good game with 8 points on 2-2 shooting and 4-6 from the free-throw line plus 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and only 1 turnover.
P.J. Horne struggled today with only 4 points and 5 rebounds on 2-12 shooting including 0-9 from three-point range. Horne's rough three-point shooting day puts him at 2-20 from behind the arc over the past 5 games. While Horne's volume from 3 may need to decrease some during his slump, Mike Young felt comfortable with the threes Horne took adding that he felt
Virginia looked like a completely different, and more effective offensive team with a healthy Braxton Key who had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Tech also didn't have an answer for Kihei Clark who was able to consistently get to the rim finishing with 18 points, 6 assists, and 4 turnovers on 5-9 shooting plus 7-8 from the free-throw line. The play of Clark and Key made a big difference with Tech holding UVA's leading scorer Mamadi Diakite to only 6 points.
Overall, Virginia Tech's youth showed in their offensive inconsistency with 13 turnovers after averaging 9.5 per game entering today and shooting 27.1% from the field. Tech will be hoping this is an offensive nadir with only 39 points though their next opponent Syracuse isn't exactly an ideal opponent for trying to break a cold offensive stretch.
Virginia Tech's youth showed on this day as they were inconsistent on the offensive end both shooting and protecting the basketball while their defense wore down some after a strong start. Going forward, Tech has showed plenty of talent and potential, but the next continued step in their development will be to find more consistency against the toughest ACC teams.
Virginia started the game off fast with the opening three from Casey Morsell on their way to claiming an early 7-2 lead at the first media timeout. The offenses continued to struggle with UVA up only 9-4 at the halfway mark of the first half before we saw a little more offense as UVA claimed a 14-6 lead with 7:28 to go in the first half. Virginia took off after that extending their lead to 21-9 leading to a Virginia Tech timeout with 4:03 to go in the first half. Landers Nolley was able to keep it somewhat close for Virginia Tech with Tech's final 15 points of the half overall, but UVA took a 30-17 lead into halftime.
The Hokies had a nightmare of a first half on the offensive end with 8 turnovers and 29.2% shooting from the field. Additionally, Tech players not named Landers Nolley or Tyrece Radford were an atrocious 0-13 from the field with 0 points. Defensively, Virginia Tech wasn't bad forcing 4 steals as UVA had 6 turnovers of their own. Landers Nolley was the star with 15 points on 6-10 shooting while Braxton Key led the way for UVA with 11 points on 5-7 shooting along with Kihei Clark adding 8 points.
Neither team was able to grow or cut the lead much early in the second half with Virginia leading 37-23 as Virginia Tech called timeout with 15:36 to go. Virginia started to open it up more as the half went along taking a 45-26 lead into the second MTO of the 2nd half with 11:56 left. Virginia continued their strong offensive second half, but Virginia Tech's offensive play also started to improve with UVA leading 54-36 with 7:12 to go. UVA and Tech went back and forth with the Cavaliers widening the lead on their way to a