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Instate rivals clash in ACC affair

The Virginia Tech Hokies shoot for back-to- ranked Virginia Cavaliers in ACC action tonight at Cassell Coliseum.

VaTech, which has won a total of just four games since the calendar flipped over to the new year, had to go to overtime against Georgia Tech on Saturday but still managed to pull off a 74-73 win. The victory was the second in the last three outings for the program, but still the Hokies are a mere 4-8 in conference play.

As for the Cavaliers, they were able to remain in the national rankings, after losing back-to-back outings versus North Carolina and Clemson, by posting a 71-44 romp over Maryland on Saturday at home. The triumph pushed the squad to 7-5 in the ACC and that has it tied with both NC State and Miami for fourth place in the standings, while Tech occupies the ninth spot all alone with only a handful of games left before the conference tournament begins.

The Hokies won the first meeting of the season between the teams by a scant two points on the road, 47-45, but still Virginia maintains an 81-53 advantage in the all-time series.

The teams were tied 31-31 at the break, but then the Cavaliers went to work at both ends of the floor, outscoring the visiting Terrapins by a 40-13 margin en route to the comfortable win. At the defensive end, Virginia limited the visitors to a mere 26.9 percent shooting from the floor and forced 15 turnovers. Mike Scott led the offense with 25 points, converting half of his 20 field goals, while adding seven rebounds. Malcolm Brogdon added 14 points off the bench and Sammy Zeglinski another 11 points for the hometown team. In conference games this season, Scott is leading the way with his 18.7 ppg as he makes good on not just 56.6 percent from the field but also 84.0 percent at the free-throw line. With 7.2 rpg, Scott also paces the program in that department as well and it has enabled the Cavs to beat the opponents on the glass by almost two rebounds per game. Defensively, ACC opponents have connected on just 39.2 percent from the floor and 28.9 percent behind the three-point line, lackluster efforts that have resulted in a mere 53.6 ppg thus far.

Mfon Udofia's jumper with five seconds remaining in overtime proved to be the difference as the Hokies held on to defeat the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in Blacksburg over the weekend. Erick Green, who put up 14 points for the hosts, had a chance to end the game in regulation but his last-second shot missed the mark. Cadarian Raines accounted for 13 points, Jarell Eddie added 12 and reserve Robert Brown tacked on 10 points as the team somehow found a way to win despite clearing a mere 18 rebounds in the meeting. Saturday's decision marked the first in conference this season that the Hokies were able to reach at least 70 points and was a huge turnaround from just two nights earlier when the squad was held to 47 points by Florida State on the road. Clearly, point production has been tough for VaTech against the rest of the ACC and at the moment the team is putting up just 60.0 ppg, but at least the squad tends to give itself a fighting chance by allowing just 64.4 ppg at the same time. Green is the lone double-digit scorer with 16.0 ppg and is also first with 29 assists in his 11 conference outings.