LEXINGTON, Ky. – In front of 22,690 people at Rupp Arena Saturday afternoon, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball fell to the hands of No. 8 Kentucky, 93-86, despite shooting 58.2 percent from the floor.
The Hokies (9-2) were paced by redshirt junior Ahmed Hill, who poured in 20 points, including five 3-pointers, and junior Justin Robinson, who was an assist shy of a double-double with 19 points and nine assists, against the Wildcats (9-1).
Jumping out to a 20-16 lead after a Kerry Blackshear Jr. free throw, Tech went back-and-forth with Kentucky mid-way through the first half. The Wildcats got hot, though, going up by five points, 37-32, at the five-minute mark. However, Tech came storming back by finishing the half on a 15-4 run behind 10 points combined from Blackshear and guard Justin Bibbs.
Leading 47-41 at the break, the Hokies led all the way up to the 11:38 mark before the ‘Cats took a 62-60 advantage. Each side scored 23 points from then on, making it 85-83 with 1:17 left, but UK closed the affair scoring eight of the next 11 points to claim it, 93-86.
The contest featured eight ties and 11 lead changes, while no team gained a larger lead than eight points.
The attendance number marked Tech’s most attended game it has played in since Feb. 3, 2015, at Syracuse (22,928).
- The Hokies had four players in double figures, marking the eighth time this year four Hokies reached the 10-point plateau.
- Tech has now hit at least 10 3-pointers in six games this season.
- The Hokies have hit at least six 3-pointers in 21 consecutive games dating back to last season.
- Tech outscored Kentucky in the paint 44-34, in large part due to Blackshear scoring 18 points.
STAT OF THE GAME
- Tech’s seven 3s made in the first half marked its third-straight game of hitting seven or more 3-pointers in the first 20 minutes of a contest. In the Hokies last three games, they have hit a combined 25 triples in the opening frame.
QUOTING BUZZ WILLIAMS
“Well, I think this is good for us because it’s before Christmas, and we are going to play a lot of teams like this over the next 70 days. I think playing in this environment, this arena, this support, this talented of a roster against a Hall of Fame coach, all of that stuff is really healthy.”
WHAT IS NEXT
- The Hokies return to Cassell Coliseum on Tuesday night, as they host Presbyterian. Tip is at 7 p.m. and the game will be shown live on ACCNetwork Extra and the ESPN app.