NCAA

Hot-shooting Louisville too much for high-powered Virginia Tech

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USA Today Sports

Hot-shooting Louisville too much for high-powered Virginia Tech

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Deng Adel had a career-high 27 points, scoring seven consecutive during a critical second-half stretch that put Louisville ahead, and made two big defensive plays to help the Cardinals beat Virginia Tech 94-86 on Saturday.

The junior forward's 3-pointer with 5:28 remaining gave Louisville a 74-72 lead before he added two free throws and one-handed basket to make it 80-76. Adel then grabbed a key defensive rebound before blocking Justin Robinson's shot, followed by another big rebound to finish with a season-high 11 boards.

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Ray Spalding and Ryan McMahon combined for the next seven points, Quentin Snider (19 points) added six free throws and V.J. King (16 points) one as the Cardinals (13-4, 3-1) held off the Hokies for their second consecutive Atlantic Coast Conference victory.

Robinson had 23 points, Kerry Blackshear Jr. 19 and Ahmed Hill 17 for Virginia Tech (13-5, 2-3), which shot 49 percent but committed 19 turnovers.

The back-and-forth game featured 17 lead changes and 10 ties.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies did everything as expected as the nation's top-shooting team and stayed close by making 18 of 22 at the line. But they couldn't get needed plays down the stretch and came up short in their second trip to Kentucky in a month. Tech lost 93-86 at Kentucky on Dec. 16.

Louisville: It's been nearly a month since the Cardinals reached double digits in 3-pointers, and all 13 on 23 attempts were needed to counter the high-scoring Hokies. Adel led the way, making 4 of 6 from long range. Ryan McMahon added two key 3s for 10 points. Their 11 steals were also critical, among 19 turnovers they forced for 20 points.

Second half run by Jenkins and Tillman lifts VCU over George Washington

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USA Today Sports

Second half run by Jenkins and Tillman lifts VCU over George Washington

RICHMOND, Va. -- De'Riante Jenkins and Justin Tillman scored 18 points apiece and VCU took control in the second half to defeat George Washington 87-63 on Saturday.

After slowly stretching a 41-37 halftime lead to double figures, Tillman and Jenkins combined for 16 straight points for the Rams (12-8, 4-3 Atlantic 10), who led 73-55 when Tillman's jumper with 5:20 to play ended that run. That basket started a 16-5 run as the lead reached 27.

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Jonathan Williams added 14 points and Marcus Santos-Silva 11 for VCU, which shot 55 percent from the field and went 16 of 18 from the foul line.

Yuta Watanabe had 19 points and Terry Nolan Jr. 15, combing for seven 3-pointers for the Colonials (9-11, 2-5), who shot a season-high 70 percent in the first half, 28 percent in the second. They made 5 of 9 3s in the first half, 2 of 11 in the second.

Hokies unable to slow down M.J. Walker's Virginia homecoming

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USA Today Sports

Hokies unable to slow down M.J. Walker's Virginia homecoming

BLACKSBURG, Va.  -- M.J. Walker somehow managed to secure 18 tickets out of Florida State's visiting-team allotment to take care of various family members who live in Virginia and wanted to come to Saturday's Florida State-Virginia Tech game.

He also gave them a performance worth remembering.

Walker scored a career-high 24 points to lead the Seminoles to a 91-82 victory over the Hokies on Saturday.

Playing in front of numerous family members from Petersburg, Virginia, and other parts of the commonwealth, Walker came off the bench to hit 8 of 13 from the floor, including four 3-pointers to lift the Seminoles (14-5, 3-4 ACC) to their first league road win of the season.

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"They gave me some energy," Walker said. "I was definitely looking forward to seeing them, but I stayed locked in. I was happy that they came, but I just stayed locked in and continued to play my game."

Braian Angola added 14 points for the Seminoles, who had lost three of their past four games since upsetting North Carolina in Tallahassee on Jan. 3. Terance Mann finished with 12.

Justin Robinson paced the Hokies (13-6, 2-4) with 26 points. Virginia Tech has now lost three straight to Florida State.

The Seminoles led the entire second half. Walker -- a freshman who considered Virginia Tech during the recruiting process -- gave Florida State its biggest lead when he scored on three straight possessions. His jumper with 11:57 remaining capped his spurt and gave the Seminoles a 61-47 lead.

"He's had several good games for us this year, so it's not unlike him to be able to do that," Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said of Walker. "I just think today was one of those days where he was focused. The last couple of games that he's played, he hasn't been as quite as consistent as he had been."

Walker later made the biggest play of the game when he made a steal and laid the ball in with 57 seconds left to push Florida State's lead to 79-70. The Seminoles made 12 of 14 free throws in the final minute to seal it.

For the Hokies, the loss was bittersweet. They shot better than 49 percent for the second straight game and hit 10 3-pointers, but came up short again.

"Our 13 turnovers led to 20 points," Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams said. "That's hard. Obviously, they shoot a high percentage (53.4 percent). Any team does on live-ball turnovers. In the halfcourt, we need to do a better job -- I would be at the front of the list -- and figure out whatever that is to get more consecutive stops."

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BIG PICTURE

Florida State: The Seminoles possess the depth and length to compete with anyone, but need to shoot well to give themselves a chance to win. They had shot just 27.4 percent from beyond the 3-point arc in their previous four games, but heated up against Virginia Tech, connecting on 9 of 20.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies have now lost two home games in ACC play, and their path to a potential NCAA Tournament bid doesn't get any easier, as they face No. 15 North Carolina on Monday. They will have to pull off some upsets in their final 12 games to get back in the at-large picture for a second straight season.

KOUMADJE A DIFFERENCE

Florida State shot better than 50 percent from the floor for the first time since beating Southern Miss on Dec. 21 -- a span of six games. The Seminoles shot 53.4 percent (31 of 58) against the Hokies, and Hamilton attributed much of that to 7-foot-4 center Christ Koumadje, who played in just his fifth game since missing 11 games with a foot injury. Koumadje, who made 5 of 6 and scored 10 points in just 15 minutes, is now shooting 63.6 percent from the floor since his return.

"We've been a little cold the last couple of games in terms of shooting the ball from the perimeter," Hamilton said. "I thought we would be a good perimeter-shooting team.

"Where we've been mostly challenged, we didn't have Christ Koumadje, so we didn't have an experienced interior game. Today, Christ being out there gave us a presence offensively and defensively that was welcome."

TECH'S TURNOVERS TOO MUCH

Virginia Tech has made taking care of the ball a point of emphasis in recent practices. Players run on a treadmill for 30 seconds after each turnover committed, and the Hokies' 13 turnovers were fewer than the 19 that they committed in their previous game -- a loss at Louisville on Jan. 13. But that's still too many for Williams, who saw his team commit at least 12 turnovers for the fourth time in six ACC games.

"We have made it more of a priority," he said of taking care of the ball. "What I'm trying to do is figure out how to help them because what I'm doing is not good enough to put them in the right position . The evidence and the stats show that we know what our issues are, and that's what we've got to change."

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