Virginia Tech takes aim at Virginia’s 9-0 home record

Dec 30, 2023; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Virginia Cavaliers head coach Tony Bennett talks to guard Reece Beekman (2) and guard Ryan Dunn (13) in the second half against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Purcell Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

With four straight road losses, all by at least 16 points, alarm bells are ringing at Virginia.

But the Cavaliers (11-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) have been as reliable as ever at home, where they have won 19 straight games, including all nine this season.

While trying to solve larger issues, the Cavaliers will try to keep the home fires burning against rival Virginia Tech (10-6, 2-3) on Wednesday in Charlottesville, Va.

Virginia’s uncharacteristic tailspin, which includes a 66-47 loss Saturday at Wake Forest, has come after it won nine of its first 10 games and reached No. 22.

“There might have been a tough loss here or there at a certain time, but this has been (different),” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said.

In the Wake Forest defeat, Virginia shot a season-low 28.1 percent. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers’ vaunted pack-line defense surrendered 50 percent shooting by the Demon Deacons, who hit 10 of 21 (47.6 percent) from beyond the arc.

Reece Beekman (10 points, four assists) was the only Virginia player who scored in double figures.

“We’ve got to find ourselves again,” Beekman said. “I know we’ve had success at home but we’ve got to try to put it all together.”

On Wednesday night, Beekman likely will guard Virginia Tech’s Sean Pedulla, who is on a tear — averaging 30.3 points in his last three games.

Despite Pedulla’s play, the Hokies have lost three of their last four, including their first home defeat on Saturday, 75-71 to Miami.

Pedulla had 33 points and 10 rebounds, both career highs, and Lynn Kidd (16 points) made all eight of his shots.

But they didn’t get enough help as Virginia Tech’s most experienced player Hunter Cattoor (head injury) missed the game. His status is “day to day,” Hokies coach Mike Young said.

“They’ve got a lot of pieces I’m unfamiliar with,” Young said of Virginia. “John Paul Jones Arena is a wonderful place. We’ll have to play awfully well if we expect to win.”

–Field Level Media

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