Virginia Tech seeks its first road win at Louisville in more than 32 years on Tuesday.
The Hokies (16-13, 6-12 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have lost each of their past nine visits to Louisville since a victory back in January of 1991, have dropped two straight games after an 81-65 loss at Duke on Saturday.
Louisville (4-25, 2-16) fell for the sixth time in its past seven games and for the 16th time in its past 18 contests following an 83-67 setback at Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Virginia Tech trailed 43-32 at halftime before Duke opened the second half on an 18-5 run to take a 61-37 advantage, and the Hokies never recovered.
The Hokies were outrebounded 37-26 and gave up 42 points in the paint.
Grant Basile, who averages a team-high 16.5 points per game, had 15 points against the Blue Devils, while Sean Pedulla, who averages 15.3 points per game, chipped in 12. Justyn Mutts, who averages 13.1 points per game, and Rodney Rice, who averages 4.3 points per game, added 11 points apiece.
“I thought we were okay, not great by any stretch,” Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said. “I thought we had a couple of good shots. We did have a couple of turnovers in that stretch that hurt us. You just can’t do that in Cameron. You can’t do that against a team the caliber of Duke.”
Louisville is limping toward the end of what could be the worst season in school history.
The Cardinals have already set school records for most total losses and most losses in league play with two games remaining before the ACC tournament. The last time Louisville finished a season with a single-digit win total was when it went 7-10 during the 1941-42 season.
Louisville trimmed Georgia Tech’s 52-34 lead early in the second half to 66-61 on JJ Traynor’s dunk with 4:57 remaining. But the Yellow Jackets responded with a three-point play and a layup for a 71-61 advantage with 3:50 to go.
“I just think there’s a focus, a discipline that you have to have, especially when you dig yourself a hole. There’s a fight that is required, you don’t just make a run,” Louisville coach Kenny Payne said.
“Now, you got to get over that. You got to take the lead. We get to the cusp of making a run and getting a lead, then a bad play, a bad call, a lack of defensive effort. One thing goes wrong, they get a basket, and it killed our momentum.”
El Ellis, who averages a team-high 18.0 points per game, scored 15 against the Yellow Jackets, while Kamari Lands, who averages 6.1 points per game, also had 15. Mike James, who averages 9.5 points per game, added 14.
Louisville had won its past 17 games against Virginia Tech overall before losing 75-43 to the Hokies in the teams’ lone meeting last season.
–Field Level Media