BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) Damion Lee scored 29 points and No. 16 Louisville used superb shooting from behind the 3-point arc to overcome foul trouble and beat Virginia Tech 91-83 on Wednesday night.
Lee hit his first six tries from long range and Trey Lewis made four 3s in the second half for the Cardinals (17-3, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). Lewis finished with 22 points, all but two coming after halftime.
Jalen Hudson scored 27 points, Seth Allen had 26 and Zach LeDay 20 for the Hokies (12-9, 4-4), who have dropped three in a row since a surprising 4-1 start to conference play. Virginia Tech stayed in the game by making 33 of 38 free throws, but allowed the Cardinals to hit 12 3-pointers in 18 attempts.
The Cardinals arrived with the nation’s top field goal percentage defense (36.4 percent), and the second-stingiest scoring defense (58.8 points), but much of their interior presence was taken away quickly as 6-foot-10 Chinanu Onuaku was whistled for two quick fouls.
Onuaku was never much of a factor, but the Cardinals stepped outside to make up for it.
Lee, a graduate transfer from Drexel, finished 6 of 7 from deep. Lewis, a graduate transfer from Cleveland State, went 4 of 7, their shots continually breaking any momentum the crowd at Cassell Coliseum tried to encourage.
In the closing minutes, with the Hokies forced to foul, the Cardinals were on target from the line as well, preventing Virginia Tech from getting any closer than six down the stretch. Louisville finished 25 of 34 at the free throw line.
Jaylen Johnson had 11 points for Louisville. Justin Bibbs scored 10 for the Hokies.
The Cardinals hit six 3-pointers in the first 10 minutes of the second half, opening a 67-57 lead, and appeared poised to put the Hokies away. But Virginia Tech continued driving the ball to the basket, getting Onuaku and 7-footer Anas Mahmoud into foul trouble – both eventually fouled out – and the Hokies made their free throws.
The Hokies led 20-12 before going more than 10 minutes without a field goal and getting just 12 points on free throws. The Cardinals used a 12-2 run to take a 24-22 lead, and closed the half on Lee’s buzzer-beating fourth 3-pointer of the half to lead 38-34 at the break.
Louisville: Onuaku arrived at Cassell Coliseum as the first Cardinals player in 22 years to record six consecutive double-doubles, but was whistled for two personal fouls in 3 minutes and sat out the rest of the first half. He finished with nine points and five rebounds.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies were 17 for 18 from the foul line and outscored Louisville 17-5 from the line in the first half.
Louisville is at home against No. 11 Virginia on Saturday.
The Hokies play at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
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