A 17-2 second-half run erased an eight-point deficit, and Virginia held on after losing its starting guards to foul trouble in the final two minutes to post a 61-59 win over Virginia Tech in Blacksburg Tuesday night.
The Hokies had won two of their last three on buzzer-beaters, and had a chance to win another one at the end after Akil Mitchell missed the front end of a one-and-one with 22.5 seconds left. Tech coach Seth Greenberg called timeout to set up a game-winning play, but his team never got a shot off.
UVa. (21-6, 8-5 ACC) had several chances to close the game out down the stretch, but missed the front ends of three consecutive one-and-ones in the final minute to leave the door open.
Virginia Tech (15-13, 4-9 ACC) led by as many as nine points in the first half and went into the locker room up 35-32 on the strength of 6-of-9 shooting from three-point range. The lead was 47-39 with 14:53 to go when the Cavaliers kicked it up a notch defensively, limiting the Hokies to two field goals the rest of the way.
Still, Tech was able to climb back into it after UVa. opened up as much as a seven-point lead and had a six-point lead in the final minute on a stickback jumper by Paul Jesperson with 38 seconds left that made it 61-55 Virginia.
Erick Green made a layup three seconds later and converted a free throw for an old-fashioned three-point play that cut the Cavs lead to one. Green then missed the front end of a two-shot free-throw opportunity with 26 seconds left before making the second to cut the lead to two.
Late-game free-throw woes once again hampered Virginia Tech. The Hokies missed three free throws in the final 2:02. Last week, Tech missed five of six in the final 90 seconds in a one-point loss at Florida State.
Mike Scott scored a game-high 20 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds for Virginia., which got 13 points apiece from Jontel Evans and Sammy Zeglinski, both of whom fouled out.
Erick Green was the only Virginia Tech player in double figures with 19 points.