Updates with new lede, recasts headline. With AP Photos.Deng Adel had a career-high 27 points, scoring seven consecutive during a critical second-half stretch that put Louisville ahead, and made two big defensive plays to help the Cardinals beat Virginia Tech 94-86. Becoming a serious contender on the boards on Saturday, pulling down 11 rebounds.
"The last couple years, every time we've played this team, we've had to beat them with offense", Louisville interim coach David Padgett said. It seems like an uphill battle, but according to ESPN's BPI projections, Virginia Tech will win exactly that many.
Turnovers were a problem for both teams today as the Hokies had 19 while Louisville had 15, numbers that neither coach will see as anywhere close to being acceptable.
Adel also added 11 rebounds and three assists, but his best play might have been a chase-down block on Justin Robinson as the Hokie point guard tried to convert a transition layup that would have brought his team within four points with 1:16 remaining. However, Tech still had plenty of success offensively when they weren't turning the ball over.
Louisville teammates weren't shocked by the breakout performance its leading scorer had been building toward all season. It was certainly necessary in an entertaining back-and-forth game featuring 17 lead changes and 10 ties. The Hokies shot 50.9 percent from the field and made 12-of-28 3-pointers in the win.
Ray Spalding (six points, five rebounds, four blocks) and Ryan McMahon combined for the next seven points.
Forward Kerry Blackshear Jr. was excellent in the first half, and finished the game with a double-double, 19 points and 12 assists. No previous Tech foe had shot better than 49 percent from the field or better than 50 percent from 3-point range this season.
Virginia Tech will return to action next Saturday when they face yet another tall and lengthy team: Florida State. "Really good players. And I'm doing a really bad job". VT's free-throw shooting was quite good as VT went 18-22 from the line while having 10 offensive rebounds compared to 11 for Louisville. But they couldn't get needed plays down the stretch and came up short in their second trip to Kentucky in a month.
Virginia Tech's road to the NCAA tournament just got a bit tougher, after a 94-86 loss to the Louisville Cardinals. The 6-foot-5 junior guard leads the team with 15.2 points a game. Ryan McMahon added two key 3s for 10 points, his second consecutive double-digit effort.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker had a career high 4 steals in addition to 10 points as the freshman guard forced some mistakes from Louisville especially early in the first half. The Hokies knocked down 13 of their 16 free throws (81.3 percent) and had an effective field goal percentage of 0.614 (above their season average of 0.599).
The simulator has the Hokies beating Florida State at home, Boston College on the road, Miami at home, NC State at home, Georgia Tech on the road, Clemson at home and Louisville at home.
Photo Credit: Harley TaylorStay up with The Tech Lunch Pail for the latest on Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech: Hosts Florida State on Saturday.
In last year's meeting, Tech made a school-record 17 3-pointers. The Cardinals haven't won in South Bend since February 26, 1994.
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