Recapping Saturday’s wild upsets, memorable finishes

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The 4:00 pm games: On paper, it didn’t seem like this Saturday’s game were going to be incredibly interesting after the top five battle that took place in Waco, Texas, but those people (me included) ate their words after three games involving teams ranked in the top 11 came down to the final possession in the span of no more than two minutes.

The biggest game was obviously Florida State’s 76-73 upset of Duke. The Seminoles withstood a second half surge by the Blue Devils, one that saw Duke open up a 58-50 lead, but Florida State used a 26-15 surge to close the game that was capped by Michael Snaer’s three-point buzzer-beater that answered a game-tying runner from Austin Rivers with 4.9 seconds left:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=34s-le4vbx8%5D

I don’t think that we can say that the Seminoles are the favorite to win the ACC right now. Frankly, I’m not convinced that they are a better basketball team that either Duke or UNC. That’s what happens with you lose by 20 to Clemson and drop two games to the Ivy League (Harvard and Princeton). That said, Florida State is in an ideal position to make a run at the league title. They don’t have to play the Tar Heels again, they get Duke at home and those two teams still have to play two games against each other.

It’s going to come down to offense for the ‘Noles. They are 117th in the country nationally, scoring 1.039 PPP. The past three games (wins over UNC, Maryland and Duke), however, FSU is scoring 1.196 PPP. The biggest difference? They shoot 32.0 percent from three on the season, but the past three games they are knocking them down at a 46.3 percent clip. Can it last?

At the same time, UConn was in the midst of a furious comeback at Tennessee. The Huskies dug themselves a ten point hole with three minutes left, but Shabazz Napier and Jeremy Lamb hit a flurry of threes late which was aided by a few missed free throws from the Vols. Napier missed a half court prayer at the buzzer that would have forced overtime, but instead lost 60-57 in Knoxville. There are two problems with UConn right now. The biggest issue is that their offense is absolutely atrocious. Regardless of what Jim Calhoun tries to run (if anything), it devolves into Napier or Lamb trying to go 1-on-1. Tennessee was playing tough defense, which meant that the Huskies were forced into taking contested jumper.

The other issue is the play of their big men. After getting embarrassed by Yancy Gates on Wednesday, freshman Jarnell Stokes — who was playing his third game after finishing high school in December and enrolling at UT early — gave Andre Drummond and Alex Oriakhi 16 points and 12 boards while fouling out Oriakhi. Much of the blame for the performance of those two has to fall on their shoulders as they continue to play without toughness or desire, but UConn also does not look to get them touches in the post.

The final game of that trio was No. 7 Kansas surviving a furious comeback from the Longhorns to win 69-66 in Austin. The Jayhawks were up big for much of the first half and early in the second half, but Texas made a run late in the game. They finally took the lead with five minutes left, erasing what had been a 15 point deficit, before eventually pushing the lead to four points with three minutes remaining. But Kansas had an answer, taking their final lead on a layup by Jeff Withey.

If you are going to take anything out of this game, its the performance of TyShawn Taylor. His continued his hot streak, finishing with 22 points, five boards and four assists, but his most important stat was a zero in the box score. Turnovers have been Taylor’s issue all season — he’s averaged more than four per game — but he didn’t turn it over a single time against UT.

The top five battle: There are two reasons that people knock Missouri: they can’t win on the road and they are too small to handle bigger teams. We can throw that “on the road” thing out the window now. Coming off of a road win over an improved Iowa State team, the Tigers went into Waco and handled Baylor, beating them much more soundly than the 89-88 final score will make you believe.

I’m not ready to say that they can handle a bigger team, however, because everyone on Baylor’s front court plays like they’re 6-6. Frankly, I think Missouri’s performance against Kansas State’s front court is much more telling And while Ricardo Ratliffe’s line was unreal — 27 points and eight boards (six offensive) on 11-14 shooting — the majority of his shot opportunities are simply catch-and-dunk situations. He thrives because he doesn’t miss around the rim, and playing with guys like Phil Pressey and Mike Dixon means that he will forever be getting open opportunities.

I still think Baylor is a national title contender, but there are serious issues with this team that need to be addressed. Scott Drew needs to find some way to get his team tougher. Perry Jones III disappears far too often for someone with his ability, and that is a microcosm of the fact that the Bears cannot handle getting “punched in the mouth”. If I’m Scott Drew, I take a page out of Eddie Sutton’s book and start practicing with football pads on.

No. 1 goes down: Playing without Fab Melo (academic issues, he will miss Monday’s game at Cincinnati as well), Syracuse went into South Bend and got absolutely crushed by the Irish, losing 67-58 because the Orange made a run late in the game when the outcome was all but decided. We shouldn’t overreact to this loss. Based on tweets that went out last night and earlier today, the team — and Melo — had no idea that Melo wasn’t going to be traveling with them until the 11th hour.

That distraction — plus the fact that Notre Dame is always a tough place to play — can easily be blamed for this hiccup. That said, don’t underrate what Melo’s absence meant. He’s an anchor in the middle of that zone. He blocks shots, he takes charges and he just makes things difficult for opponents. Most expect Melo to rejoin the team at some point, which is obviously a good thing for Syracuse. But this loss should show you the importance of Melo staying out of foul trouble on the court.

But No. 10 survived: Murray State got 21 points from Isaiah Canaan as they knocked off SIU-Edwardsville to remain undefeated, the last team in the country without a loss. I sincerely hope that, for the remainder of the season, we can all enjoy the run that Murray State is on. Its no secret they’ve played an easier schedule than quite a few teams; they are an Ohio Valley team after all. Let’s save the talk about their seeding for Selection Sunday and just enjoy one of the best storylines of the season, mmk?

So who is the second best team in the SEC?: Add the SEC into the leagues that make absolutely no sense. With Festus Ezeli back in the fold and coming off of a dominating win at Alabama, it looked like the Commodores had staked a claim as the most likely team to challenge Kentucky.

Not so fast. Mississippi State got a layup from Dee Bost with 57 seconds left for a 78-77 win in overtime, surviving fairly open looks for the Dores at the end of regulation and overtime. Arnett Moultrie and Renardo Sidney combined for 45 points and 19 boards, outplaying Ezeli, who finished with 12 points, 14 boards and five blocks.

Alabama made a statement of their own on Saturday. They lost to Kentucky 77-71, but the Crimson Tide, who tend to struggle on the road, gave the Wildcats all they could handle, keeping the game within three or four points for most of the second half. JaMychal Green finished with 22 points and 12 boards despite going up against the best defender in the country in Anthony Davis.

The team everyone is forgetting about? Florida. The Gators, playing with a limited Patric Young (tendinitis in his ankle) knocked off LSU 76-64, getting a team-high 15 points out of Erik Murphy. It also should be noted that the most exciting game of the day in the SEC was the 66-64 upset that Arkansas pulled off against Michigan. The Razorbacks opened up a 20 point lead in the first half, but Michigan slowly chipped away. They never got the game tied, but Trey Burke got a decent look at a step-back three at the buzzer that rimmed out.

What do we make of UNLV and New Mexico?: The Runnin’ Rebels absolutely put the smackdown on New Mexico, beating them by 17 points in Vegas. It was a win that UNLV really needed, considering that after they lost to San Diego State in the MWC opener they couldn’t afford to fall two games behind the Aztes in the standings. UNLV’s ability to force turnovers and get out in transition was impressive, but it also lent worry to the Lobos. For the second time this week, UNM looked completely outclassed in league play, having gotten dropped at home by SDSU on Wednesday. Maybe its just as simple as New Mexico is not a good as we thought they were; they are sitting two games behind SDSU and there is a fairly large gap between them and the MWC’s top two teams.

The Pac-12 stays weird, which makes it all the more awesome: There is simply no way to predict what is going to happen in the wide-open Pac-12 conference. As of today, there are four teams tied atop the conference with two losses. There are another two that sit just a game back in the loss column. None of those six teams go by the name UCLA or Oregon State.

There are some things that seem normal — like Cal being tied for first or Washington sitting a game in the win column behind them — and some things that would get you called crazy if they were brought up in November — like Oregon being tied for first or Colorado being tied with Washington.

So what happened on Saturday?:

– Washington State beat Cal 77-75 behind 24 points from Faisal Aden. Cal had a chance to tie late, but Jorge Gutierrez missed a shot at the buzzer.

– Carlon Brown scored 19 points to lead the Buffs, but Arizona’s Kevin Parrom missed a three at the buzzer as Colorado held on to win at home 64-63.

– Washington finally put it all together, getting 39 combined points out of Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten as they used a 20-3 run in the second half to put away Stanford.

– EJ Singler had 26 points and Garrett Sim added 16 as Oregon improved to 2-0 on the weekend as they overcame a 13 point halftime deficit in a 75-68 win over UCLA.

Tempers flare in East Lansing: Michigan State won 83-58 and Robbie Hummel went 0-11 from the field, the first 0-fer of his collegiate career, but that’s not what anyone was talking about after the game. Matt Painter got into it with a fan in the Izzone, MSU’s student section, for yelling at Robbie Hummel “I hope you tear your acl again”. That wasn’t it for Painter, either. He had an exchange with Brandon Dawsen, a player he recruited out of Indiana, after Dawsen said something after hitting a three in front of the Purdue bench.

Cincinnati’s road streak comes to a close: The Bearcats had their streak of seven straight road wins in the Big East — the last two of which came against Georgetown and UConn — in a 77-74 loss in overtime at West Virginia. Kevin Jones led the way with 26 points and freshman Gary Browne hit a three that forced the overtime period.

Louisville, Marquette and Georgetown win: Louisville took a step in the right direction with a 73-62 win over Pitt at Pitt. Kyle Kuric, who was questionable to even play in this game, had 22 points. Georgetown survived Rutgers 52-50 despite hitting just 12 shots from the field as Otto Porter hit two free throws with 8.5 seconds left. And Marquette overcame a feisty Providence team 79-72 on the road.

I guess we don’t know who the best team in the A-10 is: Xavier is the most talented team in the Atlantic 10, but after going into Dayton and losing, the flyers now own sole possession of first place in the conference. It wasn’t just the fact that they lost, because that rivalry is one of the more heated in the A-10, its the fact that Dayton scored 87 points and dominated the game after the first 10 minutes. Matt Kavanaugh, starting because Josh Benson is done for the year, finished with 20 points and nine boards.

Ditto for Conference USA: Marshall went into Hattiesburg, MS, and lost to Southern Miss 67-63. Neil Watson had 18 points and five assists and hit a big three with 18.5 seconds left on the clock. With Memphis and Central Florida also winning, there is now a four-way tie between the four teams at the top of the league. All four have one loss.

Notes:

– LIU knocked off Wagner 73-66 to improve to 7-0 in the NEC and take a one game lead on Wagner.

– South Dakota State got 28 points in a 91-88 OT win over North Dakota State as they stayed within a game of Oral Roberts in league play. ORU is 10-0 in the league after Warren Niles scored 27 points in a 92-83 win over Oakland.

– With a 72-60 win over Towson, George Mason took sole possession of first place in the CAA at 7-1 thanks to VCU’s 61-48 win over ODU. VCU and ODU are both 6-2 in league play

– St. Joe’s lost to Penn 84-80, their third straight loss and fifth in seven games.

– Tony Mitchell had 30 points and 17 boards, including a buzzer-beating tip-in, to beat Denver 75-74 in overtime. They moved into a three-way tie with UALR at 5-2 in the Sun Belt’s Western Division.

– USC-Upstate overcame a 16 point halftime deficit to knock off Belmont 79-78 on a tip-in at the buzzer.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.

Duke edges North Carolina 63-57 behind Roach, Lively

Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
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DURHAM, N.C. — Jeremy Roach scored 20 points, Dereck Lively II had career highs of eight blocks and 14 rebounds and Duke defeated North Carolina 63-57 on Saturday night.

Kyle Filipowski added 14 points and Tyrese Proctor 11 for the Blue Devils (17-6, 8-4 ACC), who won their third straight and beat the Tar Heels (15-8, 7-5) for the first time in three meetings, including in last year’s Final Four in the NCAA Tournament.

North Carolina’s Armando Bacot had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his 63rd career double-double, extending his own program record, Leaky Black had 13 points and 10 rebounds, Caleb Love added 12 points and RJ Davis 11.

Roach scored eight of Duke’s final 10 points, including the last four after Lively’s tiebreaking dunk with 1:35 to go. North Carolina missed its last five shots, including a trio of 3-point tries in the final minute.

The Blue Devils’ six-point winning margin matched their largest lead.

Neither team reached 40% shooting but Duke outscored North Carolina 20-2 off fast breaks and was 11 of 15 at the free-throw line to only 2 of 3 for the Tar Heels.

The stat sheet was fairly even at halftime when Duke led 33-32 except for one telling stat, a 16-0 advantage for the Blue Devils on fast-break points as they scored repeatedly off transition.

A 14-5 run erased a seven-point North Carolina lead — the Tar Heels’ largest — and put Duke in front 26-24 with just under four minutes left in the half. A Proctor 3-pointer broke the fourth tie before Bacot cut it to the one-point margin at the break. Bacot had 12 points in the first half. Roach had 10.

The game matched two men who played in this rivalry and are now leading the programs they played for: first-year Duke coach Jon Scheyer and Hubert Davis, in his second year for North Carolina.

The teams will meet again in their regular-season finale at Chapel Hill on March 4. Duke plays at No. 23 Miami on Monday. North Carolina is at Wake Forest on Tuesday.

No. 13 Iowa State rolls past eighth-ranked Kansas 68-53

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
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AMES, Iowa – Jaren Holmes scored all 15 of his points in the second half as No. 13 Iowa State rolled past No. 8 Kansas 68-53 on Saturday.

Osun Osunniyi added 13 for the Cyclones (16-6, 7-3 Big 12), who stayed within at least a game of front-running Texas in the conference standings. Tamin Lipsey added eight rebounds and 10 assists.

“Today, we came out and played desperate,” Holmes said.

Jalen Wilson led the Jayhawks (18-5, 6-4) with 26 points for his sixth straight game with at least 20. No other Kansas player had more than 8 points.

“It’s not a formula for success for us,” Jayhawks coach Bill Self said. “We need balance from our starting five. If one guy feels like he’s got to go do it all on his own, it crashes the offense.”

The Cyclones led for all but 1:14 of the game, building a 34-16 scoring edge in the paint. Kansas struggled early, making just two of their first 10 shots and committing 11 turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

Iowa State shot 46% for the game.

“From the beginning, we gave them some easy buckets,” Wilson said. “That’s something we’ve struggled with (defensively) … the easiest way to get comfortable is easy buckets, layups, stuff like that.”

Iowa State was up 33-21 at the break.

Holmes missed all four shots in the first half, but after getting sick at halftime, he helped the Cyclones stretched the lead to 42-31 early in the second half with a 3-pointer and layup.

“I felt a little nauseous the whole day,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with some sickness over the past week and a half.”

BIG PICTURE

Kansas: The Jayhawks dropped to 3-4 during a stretch in which six of its seven opponents were ranked. The lone unranked foe was Kentucky. … Kansas committed a season-high 20 turnovers Saturday. … The loss to Iowa State was Self’s first in five meetings with second-year Iowa State coach T.J. Otzelberger.

Iowa State: Improved to 12-0 at home this season and 5-0 in the Big 12. It was also the Cyclones’ fifth win over a top-10 opponent in the past two seasons.

UP NEXT

Kansas: Hosts No. 10 Texas on Monday.

Iowa State: Travels to West Virginia on Wednesday.

Bishop helps No. 10 Texas rally past No. 7 K-State, 69-66

Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports
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MANHATTAN, Kan. – Christian Bishop was as frustrated as anyone in a Texas jersey in the first half Saturday. He’d been held without a point by Kansas State and, not surprisingly, the No. 10 Longhorns were facing a double-digit deficit on the road.

Maybe that’s why he punctuated every bucket in the second half with a fist pump.

Bishop poured in 14 points after the break to lead the Longhorns’ comeback, including the go-ahead lay-in with 37 seconds to go, and the new Big 12 leaders held on for a 69-66 victory over the No. 7 Wildcats on Saturday.

“Christian’s been working really hard over the last couple of games to get him back to the level he was playing four or five games ago,” interim Texas coach Rodney Terry said. “He really came out and rebounded and gave our team an incredible lift the way he played the second half.”

Red-hot guard Sir’Jabari Rice also had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Longhorns, and it was his two free throws with nine seconds left that forced the Wildcats into needing a 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.

After a quick timeout, the Wildcats’ Ismael Massoud got an open look from the wing but came up well short of the basket, allowing the Longhorns to hold on for their fifth win over a Top 25 team this season.

Tyrese Hunter and Marcus Carr added 10 points apiece for Texas (19-4, 8-2), which took over sole possession of first place in the rough-and-tumble Big 12 by avenging its overtime loss to the Wildcats (18-5, 6-4) early last month.

“Our league, we don’t have any bad teams,” Terry said. “To come in on a home court against a top-10 team and have this kind of performance, I’ll stack it up with one of the best wins I’ve been part of in 30 years of coaching.”

Keyontae Johnson struggled through foul trouble but still had 16 points to lead the Wildcats, who have lost back-to-back games for the first time this season. Desi Sills scored 11 points and Markquis Nowell had 10, but he also had six turnovers, including one with less than a minute to go and Kansas State down by one.

“I don’t want to wash this one. I want to live with this one for 36 hours,” Wildcats coach Jerome Tang said. “Everybody in our arena did our job except the coaches and players on the floor.”

Kansas State and Texas played one of the most entertaining games of the season in Austin, when they went bucket-for-bucket through regulation and into overtime. The Wildcats eventually escaped with a 116-103 victory.

Early on Saturday, Texas looked as if it would struggle to score half as much.

With the Wildcats clamping down on the perimeter, the Longhorns kept throwing the ball away, and at one point had seven turnovers against just five made shots. They also went a stretch of more than 7 minutes with just one field goal.

Kansas State took advantage of their offensive malaise.

Despite the sure-handed Nowell’s turnover trouble, and leading scorer Johnson picking up his third foul with 5 1/2 minutes left in the half, the Wildcats steadily built a lead. It reached as many as 14 before Texas made three free throws in the final second to get within 36-25 heading to the locker room.

It was the spark the Longhorns needed: They made their first six shots of the second half, and their run spanning the break eventually reached 17-4 while getting them within 40-39 with 15 minutes left in the game.

“There were points in the second half we did get rushed,” Nowell said, “and it led to turnovers and fast-break points.”

Rice’s 3-pointer a few minutes later gave Texas its first lead since the opening minutes. And when the Wildcats went on a nearly 5-minute scoring drought, Bishop began to assert control, the Creighton transfer scoring 11 points over a 6-minute stretch and punctuating each of them with a roar and a fist pump.

Just like their first meeting Jan. 3, though, the rematch Saturday was destined to go down to the wire.

“There’s no blowouts in our league,” Tang said.

BIG PICTURE

Texas could do nothing right in the first half and nothing wrong in the second, shooting 57% from the floor over the final 20 minutes. Most of the success came in the paint; the Longhorns were just 4 of 16 from the 3-point arc.

Kansas State couldn’t overcome 19 turnovers, including six by Nowell, who had 36 points, nine assists and eight rebounds when the teams met in Austin. He had just six rebounds and three assists on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Texas heads down Interstate 70 to face eighth-ranked Kansas on Monday night.

Kansas State wraps its homestand against No. 15 TCU on Tuesday night.

James leads No. 2 Tennessee over No. 25 Auburn, 46-43

Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Josiah-Jordan James scored 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead No. 2 Tennessee to a 46-43 victory over No. 25 Auburn on Saturday in a game in which every point was difficult and nothing flowed.

“Both teams played as hard as they could,” said Tennessee coach Rick Barnes. “Every possession was a grind.”

The Volunteers (19-4, 8-2 Southeastern Conference) shot just 27% from the field and 9.5% from the 3-point line. They were recovering from a Wednesday loss to Florida in which they shot 28%.

Tennessee had a 47-42 edge on the boards and 15-8 on the offensive glass.

“A game like this shows a lot of character,” said James. “I knew coming in (rebounding) was what I’d be called to do. I had to use the body God’s given me.”

“Both teams did a fantastic job,” said Auburn coach Bruce Pearl. “To hold Tennessee to 27% … It doesn’t get any better than that.”

“I don’t think there’s a more physical league in the country,” said Barnes.

The Tigers (17-6, 7-3) were led by Johni Broome with 11 points and nine rebounds and K.D. Johnson off the bench with 10 points. Auburn managed only 24% from the field and 11% from the 3-point line.

Jaylin Williams made two free throws with 2:47 to play cut Tennessee’s lead to 40-38. Santiago Vescovi hit his first 3-pointer of the game and got a four-point play out of it for a 44-38 lead. A 3-pointer by Wendell Green Jr. cut the advantage to 44-41 with 30 seconds left.

A turnover on the inbounds play gave Auburn the ball with 23 seconds to play. Broome got a tip-in to make it a one-point game, and Zakai Zeigler made two free throws.

Green’s last-second 3-point to tie clanked out.

“At the end, Wendell Green got the shot off and got fouled,” said Pearl. “Nothing got called.”

Auburn scored eight straight points to start the game. Tennessee followed with a six-point run and an eight-point spurt early in the second half. Those were the longest runs of the game.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Tennessee was in the No. 2 spot in the poll for two days before falling at Florida. Under Barnes, the Vols now have 25 wins over teams ranked in the Top 25. . Auburn had been clinging to the elite at No. 25 this week. The Tigers have been ranked as high as No. 11, coming in the fifth week of the season.

STAT SNACKS

Since statistics started being kept in 1999-2000, Tennessee is on pace to be the all-time leader in field-goal percentage defense (.348; Stanford, 1999-2000, is second .352) and 3-point defense (.225; Norfolk State, 2004-05, is second .253). . Through 22 games, the similarities between last year’s Vols point guard Kennedy Chandler (now with the Memphis Grizzlies) and this year’s Ziegler are striking (points per game: Chandler 13.5, Ziegler 11.4; rebounds: 3.0, 3.0; assists: 4.95, 5.05).

UP NEXT

Auburn: The Tigers will host Texas A&M on Tuesday night.

Tennessee: The Vols will tackle in-state rival Vanderbilt in Nashville on Wednesday.

Pedulla’s 22 points lift Virginia Tech past No. 6 Virginia

Lee Luther Jr.-USA TODAY Sports
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BLACKSBURG, Va. – Sean Pedulla scored 22 points and Virginia Tech beat No. 6 Virginia 74-68 on Saturday, snapping the Cavaliers’ seven-game winning streak.

Pedulla made 6 of 13 from the floor as the Hokies (14-10, 4-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) posted their biggest win of the season. He added 8 of 9 from the free-throw line. Justin Mutts added 17 points.

Virginia Tech never trailed and shot 50% from the floor for the fourth straight game.

“There was no pouting (after the Miami loss). Just back to practice the next day,” Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said of his team, which lost 92-83 to No. 23 Miami on Tuesday. “Yeah, we’ve got Virginia coming in. Yes, in-state and all of that stuff. We’ve got another opportunity to play another really good opponent. We’ve got a chance to play Virginia Tech basketball and fight and compete and adhere to the things that are important to us – and we did that by and large on both ends of the floor.”

Jayden Gardner’s 20 points led Virginia (17-4, 9-3), which saw its usually stingy defense struggle. Kihei Clark finished with 17 points for the Cavaliers, while Reece Beekman had 15. Armaan Franklin, who had scored in double figures in 10 straight games, had six.

The Cavaliers tied the game at 38 on Gardner’s basket with 15:09 remaining, but the Hokies outscored Virginia 17-7 over the next seven minutes and never looked back.

Mutts hit 7 of 11 from the floor and added eight assists and four rebounds. Grant Basile had 14 points and Hunter Cattoor scored all 10 of his points in the second half for the Hokies.

“The heart was there, but to win in this setting against a team that’s playing good basketball, and Tech is, and they’ve got the players, you’ve got to be hard and smart,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “You can’t just be all hard. We were (hard and smart) for stretches, and they made us make some adjustments that helped a little bit, but they made the big shots.”

TIP-INS

Virginia: The Cavaliers suffered a rare poor outing on the defensive end, and it cost them. They led the ACC in scoring defense (60.2 ppg) going in, but allowed the Hokies to score 74 points and shoot 50.9% (27 of 53) from the floor. The Hokies became just the third team this season to shoot better than 50% against Virginia and scored 40 points in the paint.

“They run a lot of action, whether it’s dribble handoffs, fakes, they keep you on your toes, and it takes an incredible, and I think disciplined (effort) to keep them in front and keep them out of the paint,” Bennett said.

Virginia Tech: After losing eight of their previous 10 games, the Hokies needed a big win to help their thin NCAA Tournament resume. Registering 19 assists and turning the ball over just eight times were keys.

“Obviously, we keep up with stuff throughout the year, like `Oh, this would be a huge win on our resume,”‘ Pedulla said. “We do think about (the NCAA Tournament), and we obviously want to get there again. We know our team’s capable of it. We’re focused on it and we’re just trying to stack those wins on top of each other. I think this win definitely helps us.”

POLL IMPLICATIONS

The Cavaliers were one-point underdogs going into the game, so they shouldn’t drop more than a few spots in Monday’s poll.

UP NEXT

Virginia: Hosts N.C. State on Tuesday.

Virginia Tech: Takes on Boston College in Blacksburg on Wednesday.