Louisville bounced back from a disappointing loss to North Carolina over the weekend and maintained its dominance over Virginia Tech with a 72-64 win over the 11th-ranked Hokies Monday night in Blacksburg.
U of L has now won 15 consecutive games against Virginia Tech, its longest active winning streak against an opponent. The Cards have not lost to the Hokies since Feb. 13, 1991.
Louisville never trailed in its most recent win over VT, jumping out to a 16-6 lead they would not relinquish. Still, the Hokies would cut the lead to as few as one, and made things interesting at multiple points during the second half.
A key moment in the second half came when Virginia Tech had cut Louisville’s lead to 41-38 and seemingly seized all of the game’s momentum. On U of L’s next possession, Ryan McMahon drew a foul a three-point attempt and buried all three free-throws. McMahon would then splash triples on Louisville’s next three possessions to build the lead back out to 12.
Still, the hosts wouldn’t go quietly. Virginia Tech fought back to cut Louisville’s lead to five with 1:46 to play thanks in art to some questionable shot selection and unsteady play from the Cardinals. U of L answered with yet another questionable shot, a quick Dwayne Sutton three-pointer from the top of the key, which banked in and proved to be the contest’s final dagger.
A year ago when Louisville upset the Hokies in Blacksburg, it was a funky bounce on a Sutton corner three that proved to be the game’s most critical shot. This year, it was a banked in trey on that same goal.
The bounce that saved the season pic.twitter.com/RBV4FX211l— Mike Rutherford (@CardChronicle) February 25, 2018
Sutton finished last year’s game at Cassell Coliseum with a season-high 17 points. He hit that same total in scoring Monday night, while also tossing in nine rebounds, four assists and what felt like a billion hustle plays to either secure Cardinal possessions or keep them alive.
McMahon also finished with 17 points for a Louisville team that connected on 13 of its 27 three-point attempts. Jordan Nwora (15) and Steven Enoch (10) also scored in double figures for the victors.
This was just the second time in the last 365 days that Virginia Tech has been beaten inside Cassell Coliseum. Both those defeats came at the hands of Louisville. Buzz Williams is now just 2-10 against the Cardinals, and 0-6 as the head coach of the Hokies.
Want more fun? Louisville is now the only team in the country with three wins over (current) top 10 teams in the NET. The Cards also have three wins against current AP top 12 opponents. Only Duke with four has more.
This is a big, big, big win that I’m going to enjoy the hell out of for the rest of the work week. You all should do the same.