The final numbers looked dominating for Virginia Tech. More than enough for a win under most circumstances.
Ninety points scored. A school record 17 made 3-pointers in the contest. You’d expect an easy notch in the win column for the Hokies.
But, not so fast. This was big-boy basketball against the 8th ranked Louisville Cardinals Saturday afternoon at the KFC Yum Center.
Louisville held off a valiant upset bid by the Hokies to pull out the exciting 94-90 win that dropped Tech to 18-8, 7-7 ACC, still leaving the Hokies in excellent shape to make their first big dance in the NCAA postseason in a decade.
Louisville, 22-5 (10-4 ACC) had an answer to every Tech run. The Cardinals shot over 50% both from the field and behind the arc in holding off a Hokie effort that saw Tech hit 59% from the field and 17-of 26 from long range (65.4%).
The Hokies made things exciting all afternoon. After trailing by as many as 10 points in the first half, Tech went on a 24-13 run in the final 8 minutes to go to the halftime break up 44-43.
Tech still led 53-51 with just over 15 minutes left in the second half, but the resilient Cards forged a 11-0 run that gave them a lead they would never relinquish despite a highlight reel performance of 3-pointers by Hokie guard Seth Allen that had the partisan Cardinal YUM Center crowd shaking their heads.
Tech kept fighting and was in position to pull off the huge upset. The Hokies only trailed by 2 with just over 8 1/2 minutes left, and after a Louisville surge, cut the Cardinal advantage to 3 points, 82-79 in the closing minutes. But, the Cardinals went inside to forge a seven point lead with just over 3 1/2 minutes left, and that was enough for the Cards to hold off the upset bid.
Ty Outlaw hit a 3-pointer for the Hokies with 8 seconds left that cut the Cardinal advantage to 91-88, but Tech’s Zach LeDay committed an intentional foul as Lousiville inbounded the ball and
the Hokie’s fate was sealed.
Allen led the Hokies with 25 points while Cardinal big-man Donovan Mitchell countered with a game-high 26 points.