LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Seeking its second top-25 win of the year, the Virginia Tech men's basketball team could not get it done at No. 11/10 Louisville on Senior Night, falling 68-52 inside the KFC Yum! Center on Sunday evening.
The Hokies (15-14, 6-12 ACC) were looking for their first win over the Cardinals (24-6,15-4) since 1991, but fell short with preseason ACC Player of the Year Jordan Nwora scoring 20 points.
Freshman Jalen Cone was a bright spot offensively for the Hokies, as he led Tech in scoring for just the second time this season with 15 points off of five 3-pointers. Guard Nahiem Alleyne added 12 points and redshirt freshman Tyrece Radford grabbed nine boards for the Hokies.
Nwora, along with his 20 points, recorded 12 rebounds, marking his sixth double-double of the season. Senior Ryan McMahon added 10 points, and redshirt senior Steven Enoch had a near double-double with eight points and 11 rebounds in their final home games for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals were dominant in the paint, outscoring Tech 32-12 and outrebounded the Hokies 40-26. Defensively, Louisville forced Tech to cough up 16 turnovers, which is the most turnovers the Hokies have committed all season. The Cardinals added 19 points off those forced mistakes.
The Hokies and the Cardinals each got off to a slow start offensively, with each team only scoring two points through the first five minutes of the game. Tech caught fire when Cone and junior P.J. Horne each hit consecutive 3-pointers, giving Tech a 10-7 lead.
With just over eight minutes to go in the first half, Alleyne gave Tech a lift by nailing three straight triples giving the Hokies a 23-18 advantage. The two teams each battled out the rest of the first, going into the break tied at 27-27.
Early in the second, the game was knotted at 34-34 when Louisville rattled off a 10-0 run going up 44-34. This run would be essential for the Cardinals, giving them the games first double-digit lead. The Cardinals would capitalize garnering an advantage of 58-43 with 5:04 to go in the game.
Looking to mount a last-chance comeback, Cone hit a couple from downtown to cut into the lead, making the score 59-49. However, the Cards quickly answered with six straight points and would go on to win 68-52.
- Cone hit five triples for the third time this season and now has 17 3s over his last five games.
- Alleyne scored in double figures for the 12th time this season with 12 points tonight. Alleyne also hit four 3-pointers, which is the most he has made since Syracuse (5) on Jan. 18.
- The Hokies bench once again performed scoring 28 points, marking the 19th game this season that the bench has scored over 20 points.
- Tech drilled 10 3-pointers, marking the 13th game this season that the Hokies have reached double figures in 3s hit in a game.
- Radford grabbed a team-high nine rebounds against the Cardinals, marking the 10th game he has had nine or more boards. This is also the 11th time Radford has led Tech in rebounds.
- Horne tied his career high in steals with two against the Cardinals. He finished with five points, two rebounds and a block.
The Hokies will be back in Cassell Coliseum for their final home game of the season for a matchup with Clemson (15-13, 9-9) on Wednesday, March 4 at 7 p.m. with coverage available through ACC Network.