UVa. completes season sweep of Hokies

A 13-1 Virginia Tech run cut a 15-point Virginia second-half lead to three, but Mustapha Farrakhan answered with a long three-pointer, and the ‘Hoos were able to hold off the Hokies in the final minute to pull out a 61-54 win on Saturday.

The loss could be a blow to Virginia Tech’s NCAA Tournament hopes. The Hokies (17-8, 7-5 ACC) came into the game at #58 in the NCAA RPI ratings. Virginia, ranked 151st in the latest RPI, earned a season sweep of Tech with the win at home on Saturday. Virginia knocked off Virginia Tech 57-54 in Blacksburg in December.

That win came when UVa. seemed to be on the rise – with a win at Minnesota on its way to an 8-3 start. The Cavs had lost 10 of their last 14 heading into Saturday, and hadn’t broken the 50-point mark at home in close to a month.

“I said, Play to win. You’re playing a team that is a very high-quality team. You battled them the first time. We’re a different team now, but you can do a lot of those same things you did the first time to have success against them. I thought that’s what we did,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said.

Virginia led 28-23 at the half and extended the lead to 44-29 on a three-pointer in front of the Virginia bench from Sammy Zeglinski. Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg called a timeout and had his team use a full-court press to try to change tempo. The move paid immediate dividends.

A long three by Malcolm Delaney brought Tech to within 45-42 four minutes after the Greenberg timeout. The Farrakhan three pushed the lead back out to six with 7:23 to go. Virginia Tech was not able to get closer than four points thereafter.

“It’s a battle of wills. That’s how they want to play. We want to play the other way,” Greenberg said afterward.

Virginia Tech had come into the game having scored 91 points in a win against Maryland earlier in the week and breaking the century mark in a win last weekend over Georgia Tech.

“We were just trying to force plays that weren’t there. We started the game out scoring. We didn’t have to force that much. With how slow they were playing, we were trying to get too much, too early,” said Delaney, who led all scorers with 22 points, but shot just 8-for-22 from the field.

Farrakhan led Virginia with 16 points. Joe Harris had 15 points for the Cavs.

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is now available at a special pre-sale discounted price of $20. The book is expected to ship by June 10, 2019, and will retail for $25.
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The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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