Clark’s 3-pointer lifts Virginia past Virginia Tech, 56-53

Chase for the Championship

Virginia’s Kihei Clark drives on Virginia Tech’s Wabissa Bede (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020, in Blacksburg, Va. (Matt Gentry/The Roanoke Times via AP)

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Kihei Clark made a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left and Virginia recovered after blowing a big lead and beat Virginia Tech 56-53 on Wednesday night.

Clark’s lone 3-pointer gave Virginia (20-7, 12-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) a season sweep and a four-game winning streak against the Hokies.

Tyrece Radford had tied it for Virginia Tech (15-13, 6-11), slicing down the lane for a layup with 11 seconds left, but they lost for the eighth time in nine games.

Mamadi Diakite led Virginia with 19 points, Braxton Key had 10 with 11 rebounds and Clark had seven points, six rebounds and six assists.

Landers Nolley led the Hokies with 13 points. They came back after setting a program record since joining the ACC in 2004 with just 11 first-half points to trail 26-11. Their comeback began immediately after halftime as they hit 6 of 7 shots, including all three 3-pointers, then later used an 11-2 run to get within 40-37 on P.J. Horne’s 3-pointer.

They pulled even at 44 on two free throws by Nolley, went ahead on Hunter Cattoor’s 3-pointer with 4:49 left and it was back and forth to the finish. After two free throws by Nolley gave the Hokies a 51-48 lead with 3:31 left, Clark scored inside and Casey Morsell hit a 3-pointer for Virginia to lead 53-51.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia: The Cavaliers lead the nation is scoring defense (52.7) and have done much of their best work against the Hokies. They held Virginia Tech to just 17 first-half points in their first meeting, a 65-39 victory, tying a Hokies’ first-half futility record since they joined the ACC in 2004. Virginia Tech has managed just 17 three times, twice against Virginia (2014, 2020) and once against Temple (2009). The earlier game this year also marked Virginia Tech’s lowest scoring total since a 43-33 loss to East Carolina in 1967.

Virginia Tech: Hokies scoring leader Landers Nolley (16.7 ppg) was not in the starting lineup for just the second time this season. He came into the game 8 for 44 from the field (18%) over his last three games and 2 for 17 (11%) from 3-point territory. He was 1 for 6 in the first half, 1 for 5 from 3.

UP NEXT

The Cavaliers return home to face No. 7 Duke on Saturday night.

The Hokies head out on the road to play at No. 11 Louisville on Sunday.

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