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Cavaliers crumble in 75-41 disaster at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech had their way in all facets of the game as Virginia took its worst thrashing of the season

<p>The loss is the single largest defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech since 1961, when the Cavaliers lost by 35 points.&nbsp;</p>

The loss is the single largest defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech since 1961, when the Cavaliers lost by 35 points. 

Following a gripping matchup Saturday that saw Virginia grab a two-point victory over Wake Forest, the Cavaliers (20-7, 11-5 ACC) made their way to Cassell Coliseum to take on the Hokies (15-11, 7-8 ACC) for the second game of this year’s Commonwealth Clash.

Coach Tony Bennett utilized the same starting lineup from the weekend, with sophomore guard Andrew Rohde once again getting the nod along with senior guard Reece Beekman, sophomore guard Ryan Dunn, sophomore guard Isaac McKneely and graduate forward Jordan Minor.

The game started slow for both sides, as the Hokies were still only up 2-0 with three minutes having elapsed in the first half. Beekman hit the Cavaliers’ fourth shot attempt to even things up, but they would not see their next basket until almost another three minutes had run off the game clock, when McKneely drove for an easy two points. 

Later, Minor then made a quick shot before making his way to the bench in exchange for freshman forward Blake Buchanan — who did not wait to make an impact. Buchanan recorded a menacing block and managed an offensive rebound in his first three minutes of action. 

Unfortunately for Virginia, he was unable to keep up with senior center Lynn Kidd, who went on an eight-point tear to bring the Hokies’ lead to 12. The Cavaliers dealt with a concurrent cold streak, missing their next eight attempts from the field until a dunk by redshirt freshman forward Leon Bond III offered them some respite with just 46 seconds left in the half.

The Cavaliers made the long trek to the locker room trailing the Hokies by a massive 20 points at halftime and their meager offensive production — they had shot 8 for 25 — showed no signs of improving. In a crucial rivalry matchup, the Cavalier offense was essentially nowhere to be found.

A quick seven unanswered points from Virginia Tech started the second half, but a successful stepback three-point shot by Beekman and a layup from Dunn in rapid succession made it seem as though the Cavaliers had maybe begun to find their groove. 

Despite some individual highlight moments, the team as a whole continued to falter. McKneely was the only Cavalier to score in the next seven minutes of the contest, adding seven points to his statline while his teammates only managed to get a meager shots up. 

Finally, a pull-up jump shot by Harris pulled Virginia out of their funk. By then, however, it was far too late, as the Hokies now found themselves holding a 26-point advantage. A few more makes from Minor, Harris and McKneely as well as a late four-point spurt from freshman guard Elijah Gertrude were the only signs of life from Virginia in the waning minutes, and the Hokies strode easily to a 75-41 victory. 

The loss is the single largest defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech since 1961, when the Cavaliers lost by 35 points. With Virginia approaching its final games of the regular season, Bennett’s squad is in dire need of a victory.

“We were behind in every way, shape and form on the defensive end, so they thoroughly outplayed us,” Bennett said. “They were the aggressors and they certainly dominated us, pretty much in all areas.”

The Cavaliers will have to look past the disappointing result as they approach one of the biggest games of conference play, as they take on North Carolina at John Paul Jones Arena Saturday. Tipoff for the high-stakes contest is at 4 p.m., and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.


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