Virginia beats Georgia Tech for 11th straight time

Tech's Kowacie Reeves Jr. puts up a jumper against Virginia. Photo: Danny Karnik / Georgia Tech Athletics

Credit: Danny Karnik

Credit: Danny Karnik

Tech's Kowacie Reeves Jr. puts up a jumper against Virginia. Photo: Danny Karnik / Georgia Tech Athletics

Virginia made it 11 wins in a row over Georgia Tech on Saturday, beating the Yellow Jackets 75-66 at McCamish Pavilion in a game that quickly changed directions late in the first half and got away from the home team.

Tech (9-9, 2-5 ACC) led by as many as 11 points in the first half and was up eight with as little as 3:30 to go until halftime. Virginia outscored the Jackets 54-37 from there, capitalizing offensively easily and often inside the paint and defensively on Tech turnovers.

“I just didn’t think we laid everything on the line tonight. And it’s no indictment on the guys. I just think we have to look within ourselves and we have to understand what that actually means,” Tech first-year coach Damon Stoudamire said. “Are we gonna be happy with a double-overtime win at Clemson and then do this tonight? When we had opportunities to keep building?

“I have to get this going. I gotta figure that out. That’s a part of the process for me in figuring that out.”

The loss was a disappointing letdown for Stoudamire’s team who had just won at Clemson on Tuesday. Virginia hadn’t won on the road yet this season but led the final 20:33 of the game.

Tech turned the ball over 13 times and allowed 34 points in the paint. The Cavaliers (13-5, 4-3) scored 21 points off those Tech miscues and shot 50% from the field.

Freshman Nait George, who also had nine assists and went 6-for-6 from the line, and Baye Ndongo led Tech offensively with 15 apiece. The Jackets next host Pittsburgh (10-7, 1-5) at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

“Every game is different. Because you did well the last game, it doesn’t mean that you’re gonna do well this game,” Stoudamire said. “You gotta honor the process of being a successful player. You gotta pay attention to detail, you gotta know your scouting report and we had too many breakdowns.”

Tech began Saturday’s affair in total control from the outset. It led by as many as 11 (twice) and got scoring contributions from seven different Jackets in the first half.

Virginia didn’t panic. It scratched and clawed its way back in and tied the game at 29-all when Isaac McKneely, inexplicably left along on the 3-point line on an inbound play, buried a triple from the right wing. Ryan Dunn gave the Cavaliers a 31-29 lead (Virginia’s first of the night) a minute later and then, with 1.8 seconds on the clock, Tech threw away an inbound pass from one end of the floor to another and Taine Murray scooped up the ball and laid in a buzzer-beating shot making it 33-29 at the break.

The Jackets went the final 3:45 of the half without scoring as Virginia ended the period on a 12-0 run.

“We come back out (in the second half), we don’t have any energy,” Stoudamire said. “We talked about having energy, we talked about one stop, one score at a time. We just never were able to capture what we had the first 10 minutes of the game.”

Tech’s scoring drought lasted another 2:06 into the second half. A Miles Kelly 3 from the right wing broke the spell and cut the deficit to 38-32, but Virginia reeled off six points in a row to make the margin 12 with 16:42 on the clock.

Stops continued to be hard to come by for Tech’s defense, and even when it seemed like it had escaped a possession holding the Cavaliers scoreless, McNeely would drain a 3 - like the one he did from the midcourt logo with 8:22 to go, making it 61-47.

The Jackets made a couple valiant efforts at a comeback late, but clutch 3s from Jake Groves with 1:23 left and from McKneely with 40 ticks left erased all doubt.

“We show our inconsistencies early and I thought once we settled in we moved harder offensively, had a bit more patience to work ‘em a little bit, to get the shots we wanted,” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “Then defensively we cleaned up some of our coverages and just challenged some guys to guard individually.”

McNeely led the Cavaliers with 20 points, Reece Beekman scored 19 and registered 11 assists and Jordan Minor added 11. Dunn pulled down 10 rebounds to go along with nine points.


  • Tech is 40-48 all-time against Virginia and 24-17 at home against the Cavaliers
  • The Jackets have lost 11 in a row to Virginia and has scored 66 points or less in all 11 of those games
  • Tech last beat Virginia on Feb. 9, 2016
  • The Jackets are 2-6 this season when trailing at halftime, 3-10 when trailing at the 5-minute mark of the second half and 1-7 when the opponent shoots a better percentage
  • Tech guard Miles Kelly is 17 points from 900 for his career
  • Saturday was the 13th game of the season for Tech decided by 10 points or less
  • Stoudamire announced Saturday that sophomore guard Emmer Nichols fractured his leg this week in practice and will miss the remainder of the season
  • Attendance on Saturday was announced as 6,380, giving Tech an average of 4,638 after nine home games this season