Virginia Tech shoots 59 percent yet still falls to No. 8 Louisville, 94-90.
louisville — Louisville’s 1,800th victory was one for the books.
On a day when both teams were so hot from the field that Virginia Tech Coach Buzz Williams changed shirts at halftime, Donovan Mitchell had 26 points to lead the eighth-ranked Cardinals past the Hokies, 94-90, on Saturday.
Both Mitchell, a sophomore guard, and the Cardinals’ inside game stood out.
Mitchell connected on his first six shots, including three threepointers, en route to going 8 for 13 from the field and 5 for 7 from the beyond the arc. He led an effort that saw Louisville (22-5, 10-4 ACC) shoot 51.5 percent from the field and 12 for 22 on three-pointers.
The Cardinals needed that as Virginia Tech (18-8, 7-7) managed to shoot 59.2 percent from the field, including 65.4 percent (17 of 26) from beyond the arc.
The Hokies, who set a KFC Yum! Center visitors’ record with their 90 points, also made the most three-pointers against the Cardinals since they beat West Virginia in the 2005 Elite Eight.
“Every team is going to fight. Even the teams who are at the bottom of the ACC are going to fight,” Mitchell said. “Everybody is fighting to make the tournament. We’re going to get every team’s best shot being a ranked team because if they beat a [ranked team] there is a good chance that will get them into the tournament.”
The difference ended up being the 19 extra shots the Cardinals received by using the glass to their advantage.
They outrebounded the Hokies 33-25, with 16 coming on the offensive end. That allowed Louisville to enjoy a 26-3 edge in second-chance scoring.
“I think if we don’t have a hot shooting night, they beat us by 40,” said Williams, wearing the orange Virginia Tech T-shirt he switched to in the second half after he sweated through his dress shirt. “I think the hot shooting night allowed it to be a game.”
Louisville Coach Rick Pitino said he hated to win solely on offense, but he also knew the Hokies, who played four guards, would be a challenge. Nonetheless, he expects his team to learn from this win.
“If we don’t start playing better defense, we’re all going to be on vacation early,” he said. “You are going to be covering someone else. If you’re impressed with that, you’re not watching the game I’m watching. But that being said, it was a great win.”
Seth Allen led the Hokies with 25 points, and Ty Outlaw added 19.
Quentin Snider finished with 19 points and Jaylen Johnson 16 for Louisville.
By playing the Cardinals close on the road, the Hokies did little damage to their NCAA tournament rèsumè, but beating tough teams away from Cassell Coliseum remains a challenge. The last win against a ranked team on the road came against Clemson on Feb. 25, 2009.
With the victory, the Cardinals became the 10th program in history to reach 1,800 wins.
In its 103rd season, Louisville’s record stands at 1,800-897.
Virginia Tech will now return home, where it will play Clemson on Tuesday night.
Louisville will travel to face North Carolina on Wednesday night in the teams’ only regular season matchup.
Virginia Tech Coach Buzz Williams switched to a Hokies T-shirt for the second half Saturday after he sweated through his dress shirt.