Virginia Tech Beats No. 25 UNC to Advance

Virginia Tech Beats No. 25 UNC to Advance

NEW YORK (AP) Darius Maddox, Keve Aluma and Virginia Tech dominated No. 25 North Carolina 72-59 on Friday night to advance to the 2022 New York Life ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament championship game for the first time – and prevent another matchup between the Tar Heels and rival Duke.

The seventh-seeded Hokies (22-12) will face the top-seeded Blue Devils on Saturday night at Barclays Center, trying to deny retiring coach Mike Krzyzewski his 16th ACC championship in his final conference tournament.

Maddox scored 20 points and was 4 for 5 from 3-point range and Aluma had 18 points for the Hokies, who will try to become the second team to win the ACC Tournament with four victories in four days.

Virginia Tech is a relative newcomer to the conference, having joined in 2004. The Hokies have won four football championships since joining, but have been unable to break through the Blue Bloods in basketball.

Until now.

Third-year coach Mike Young’s team has been rolling since losing five games in January. The Hokies have won 12 of 14 to put themselves in position to win an ACC championship and maybe earn an NCAA at-large bid no matter what happens against Duke.

On Friday night in Brooklyn, Virginia Tech snapped a four-game losing streak to North Carolina with ease.

The Hokies opened the second half with a 9-0 run on a three-point play by Aluma and back-to-back 3s by Hunter Cattoor and Justyn Mutts that upped the lead to 41-26.

The Tar Heels, looking to return to the ACC title game for the first time since 2018 and set up a rubber match with Tobacco Road rival Duke for the championship, never mounted a real threat.

Maddox, who made a 3 at the buzzer to stave off elimination against Clemson on Wednesday night, dropped an open 3 and held the follow-through to give the Hokies a 20-point lead with 12:47 left against North Carolina.

Armando Bacot had 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Tar Heels.