BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Cavaliers forwards Joe Harris and Justin Anderson woke up at precisely the right time.
Anderson scored all nine of his points in the final 3:27 and Harris hit two crucial 3-pointers as the Cavaliers escaped Cassell Coliseum with a 57-53 win over the Virginia Tech Hokies on Tuesday night.
The victory gave Virginia (22-5, 13-1) a school-record seven ACC road wins and a fifth consecutive victory over its in-state rival.
Guard Malcolm Brogdon, despite a poor shooting night from the field, led all Cavaliers with 12 points. Point guard London Perrantes was the only other Virginia player in double figures with 11.
Virginia Tech (9-16, 2-11), coming off just its second ACC win of the season on Saturday over Miami, carried that momentum into the game against the Cavaliers. The Hokies led for 26:15 and responded to nearly every Virginia run with a big basket before coming up short at the end.
Center Joey Van Zegeren and guard Devin Wilson each scored 13 points for the Hokies.
After taking a 28-21 lead into the locker room at halftime, Tech opened the second half with an emphatic dunk from Van Zegeren, igniting an already raucous home crowd.
The Cavaliers answered, though, rattling off six consecutive points to make it a three-point affair and signaling that maybe they had emerged from the fog.
Hokies guard Ben Emelogu drilled a deep 3-pointer to put Tech up by eight, Brogdon and Harris counterpunched with consecutive 3s of their own to make the score 43-41.
Nearly six minutes later, the two teams had combined for only four points. Trailing 46-42, the Cavaliers utilized another tandem of 3-pointers from Harris and Anderson to take the lead for good. It was Virginia’s first lead since the 11:25 mark in the first half.
For the sixth consecutive game, the Hokies played almost exclusively zone defense. Coach James Johnson made the switch after a rash of injuries caused a lack of depth.
Perrantes took full advantage early on, busting the zone by knocking down two early 3-pointers to push the Cavaliers to an early 8-2 lead.
Perrantes led Virginia with six first-half points. Forward Akil Mitchell had five points and six rebounds before the break.
The Hokies, however, responded in kind on the offensive end. Wilson sparked a 20-6 run, including a 9-0 stretch during which Virginia went 5:55 without a basket.
Wilson finished the half leading all scorers with seven points.
During one stretch, Virginia missed nine consecutive 3-pointers, and it finished 3-for-13 from long range in the half.
Brogdon’s 3-pointer as time expired was Virginia’s only field goal in the final 4:59 of the half.
NOTES: Virginia has clinched a third consecutive winning season in ACC play for the first time since 1981-83. The Cavaliers also secured their third consecutive 20-win season for the first time since 1991-93. … Virginia leads the series 86-53 after Tuesday night’s win. … The Cavaliers head home to host Notre Dame on Saturday. … The Hokies play host to North Carolina State on Saturday.
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