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Virginia Tech gets a much-needed marquee win with 80-69 upset of North Carolina

Big days from Berry and Maye were not enough on the road against the Hokies.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina at Virginia Tech Michael Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Virginia Tech Hokies (14-6, 3-4 ACC) badly needed a resume-boosting win. They got that Monday night as the Hokies easily handled the No. 10 North Carolina Tar Heels, 80-69. Justin Robinson led VaTech with 19 points on 3-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc, and Ahmed Hill (18 points) and Kerry Blackshear (16 points) also broke double digits.

Both North Carolina and Virginia Tech like to play a run-and-gun style, coming into today’s matchup averaging 82 and 85.4 points per game, respectively. In the end, it was the Hokies who got hot from the field, shooting 47.6% percent and connecting on 12 of their 30 three-point attempts (40 percent). The Tar Heels shot well, going 42.9 percent from the field, but took almost half their shots (31 of 63 total) from beyond the arc and only made 10 (32.3 percent).

Virginia Tech closed the first half on a 15-2 run to give the home team a 39-32 lead at the break.

Carolina’s senior leaders Joel Berry II and Luke Maye each finished with 23 points, but Brandon Robinson was the next closest with five points. Every time the Tar Heels looked like they were going to make a run, the Hokies responded with a big three ball or a breakaway dunk. UNC only scored two points off nine Virginia Tech turnovers, while the Hokies took advantage of the 13 Tar Heel TOs to score 11 points. Virginia Tech has struggled on the boards this season as the 6’10 Kerry Blackshear is the tallest on the team, but the Hokies held UNC — who lead the ACC in offensive rebounding percentage — to just 10 offensive rebounds and 11 second-chance points.

Virginia Tech’s Chris Clarke gave Buzz Williams 27 solid minutes off the bench, scoring just eight points, but grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out four assists.

The Hokies had come close to some big wins, namely at Kentucky where they fell 93-86, but this convincing win over UNC is definitely the marquee win VT was looking for and desperately needed. The environment at Cassell Coliseum was rocking as the students participated in a “black out” and the Hokies honored former football and now Hall of Fame coach Frank Beamer.

With the loss, North Carolina dropped to 16-5 overall and 5-3 in the ACC, now three full games behind Virginia in the conference standings.