CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — London Perrantes says he knew all along that No. 9 Virginia had the answers it needed to questions about its offense.
More and more, his teammates are proving him right, and the Cavaliers showed it in drubbing rival Virginia Tech 71-48 on Wednesday night.
Devon Hall had 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists, and Isaiah Wilkins scored a career-best 15 with nine rebounds to lead Virginia. Perrantes added 14 points for the Cavaliers (17-4, 7-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who led throughout after scoring the first 10 points and were never threatened.
“From the jump, ever since we started practicing and during the summer, I knew we had weapons from the top to the bottom,” said Perrantes, the team’s point guard and lone scholarship senior. “It just comes with game experience. … They all have a lot of game experience and it’s just building their confidence and we’re just building chemistry around it.”
The game was Virginia’s first since losing on a tip-in at the buzzer against defending national champion Villanova on Sunday , and its sixth win in the last seven games. The emergence of Wilkins, who has scored in double figures in four of the last five, has been a big reason.
“I just think back to how I played in high school, how I would just take shots when they were there,” said the junior, who made all six shots at Villanova and his first six against the Hokies. “If I’m open I’m going to shoot the ball.”
The Hokies (16-6, 5-5) got 14 points from Seth Allen and 12 from Zach LeDay, but were held 33 points below their season average by the nation’s stingiest scoring defense. Virginia Tech became the sixth team held under 50 points by the Cavaliers this season.
The Cavaliers outscored the Hokies 18-3 off offensive rebounds, grabbing 11 to just three for Virginia Tech.
“It started bad and it stayed bad,” Hokies coach Buzz Williams said, noting that Virginia scored on four putbacks in the opening minutes.
The loss was the 17th in a row for the Hokies in road or neutral-site games against ranked teams since they won at Virginia in 2012.
Virginia led by as many as 15 in the first half and by 35-21 at halftime. They pushed the lead as high as 19 early in the second half before an 8-0 run by the Hokies pulled them to 52-41 with 8:42 left. Virginia scored the next nine points.
The Hokies played the game with retired Hall of Fame football coach Frank Beamer joining them on the bench throughout.
“I just wanted to honor him, would be the quickest explanation,” Williams said.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies have vastly improved under Williams and began the night over .500 in the ACC after nine league games for the first time since the 2010-11 season. But winning on the road is often the hardest thing to learn for a team on the rise.
Virginia: The continuing emergence of willing and capable scorers bodes well for the Cavaliers. Virginia freshman Ty Jerome took it upon himself to take the big shot late against Villanova, and Wilkins has scored in double figures in three straight and four of his last five games.
After his performance in the final seconds at Villanova, Jerome was greeted like a new crowd favorite when he entered the game.
The Hokies have some time to work on things before trying to get their road game going at Miami next Wednesday night.
Virginia goes back on the road for a game against Syracuse on Saturday at noon.