No. 22 Virginia Tech will look to avenge an early season two-point loss to Louisville when the two teams meet Wednesday night in Blacksburg, Va., in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season home finale for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech (15-5, 9-4 ) still has a shot at the regular-season conference title. The Hokies are coming off an 84-46 win over Wake Forest on Saturday, in which Keve Aluma scored 23 points to lead them.
Tech’s defense had a hand in 18 Demon Deacons turnovers and a 27.3 field goal percentage for the game for Wake Forest. The Hokies led 49-22 at halftime and made 53.4 percent of their shots with 54.2 percent on 3-pointers.
“We wipe the slate clean. Tomorrow is a new day, we have not lost two in a row,” Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young said after the game. “I think that is the mark of a good team. … They had that bounce back in our step and we connected defensively and we played with a sense of urgency that I’ve come to expect around here from this team. It was certainly encouraging to watch.”
Louisville came away with a 73-71 home win on Jan. 6 in the first meeting between the two teams this season. It was the 17th straight win in the series between the two teams for the Cardinals, who haven’t lost to the Hokies since Feb. 13, 1991, in Blacksburg.
Virginia Tech is 8-36 all time against Louisville.
Aluma’s 15.9 points and eight rebounds per game lead the Hokies this season. He’s made 50 percent of his shots, hitting 111 of 222.
The Cardinals (13-5, 8-4) got bad news on Monday. Forward-center Malik Williams will miss four to six weeks after re-injuring his right foot Saturday against Duke. It was Williams’ third game after returning from almost a year out because of injury.
The foot won’t require another surgery, but the 6-foot-11 senior already had missed 15 games this season after foot surgery in November. He returned on Feb. 20 against North Carolina, then made his first start of the season against Notre Dame and grabbed 10 rebounds.
Louisville got 25 points from Carlik Jones in the 80-73 overtime win over Duke on Saturday night.
“It means a lot,” Cardinals head coach Chris Mack said after the game. “They have a belief in themselves. We had two of the longest COVID pauses, a lot of teams have maybe had one, some teams haven’t had any. We have a young crew, not practicing and then getting our brains beat out by Carolina, you’ve got to love our response. Everyone leaves us for dead and people say, ‘They’re not that good,’ and maybe we aren’t, but we’re battling. Those guys listen to themselves, they allow themselves to be coached.”
The Cardinals defeated the Blue Devils twice in the same season for the first time in school history. Jones, a transfer from Radford, has scored in double figures in his first 17 games as a Cardinal, a school record.
–Field level Media