The Cavaliers fought through injuries, foul trouble, and the pressure of rival tensions to down the Hokies 61-59 in dramatic fashion. As has been a trend for both the Cavs and Hokies all season, the game came down to the final seconds as Malcolm Brogdon’s clutch steal with 1.9 seconds left sealed the Virginia victory. The victory marks the Cav’s 6th true road win, the most since the 1994-95 season, and keeps Virginia as a probable contestant in the NCAA tournament.
Big threes by Virginia Tech gave the Hokies a 9-point margin over the Cavaliers in the first half. Virginia continued to battle, however, and Scott’s dominant 15 first-half point performance kept the Cavaliers in the game as the squad closed the margin to 35-32 going into halftime. Scott had a game-high 20 points and 9 rebounds performance including a momentum-shifting 3-point play late in the second half.
Led by point guard Erick Green, Virginia Tech put together a 10-2 run early in the second half but Virginia responded with 14 consecutive points to take a 56-49 lead with 4:49 left. The game was in no way over, however, as foul trouble and missed free throws plagued the Cavaliers down the homestretch.
The only Cavalier foul-outs of the season could not have come at a more pivotal point as both Cavalier guards Jontel Evans and Sammy Zeglinski fouled out in the final minutes of the game. With both main ball-handlers out of the game, freshman and injured Malcolm Brogdon had to step up the plate and carry the Cavalier offense for the rest of the way. Despite struggling to defend Green, Brogdon’s last second steal won the game for the Cavaliers as Tech couldn’t get a final shot off.
With Joe Harris playing with a badly injured hand, the Cavaliers got important offensive contributions from other players. Freshman Paul Jesperson recorded a career-high 7 points, while Zeglinksi and Evans each added 13.
The squad aims to upset No. 4 North Carolina next, as they host the Tarheels at a sold-out John Paul Jones Arena this Saturday. The tip-off is set for 4:00 pm and will be televised by ESPN.