No. 24 Hokies shut out Cavaliers in Commonwealth Cup


No. 24 Hokies shut out Cavaliers in Commonwealth Cup

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.  -- Virginia Tech defensive tackle Ricky Walker's eyes got wide when he heard the number: The No. 24 Hokies held Virginia to 5 rushing yards Friday night, and 191 yards in all, in a 10-0 victory. It was their 14th straight win in the series and third shutout of the season.

"To shut out somebody is pretty hard nowadays," the redshirt junior said. "I'm proud, man. That's great."

The Hokies did it with a familiar formula, even with several defensive starters not even making the trip because of injuries.

"We were a little bit of a MASH unit coming in here," defensive coordinator Bud Foster said. His unit was without safety Terrell Edmunds, defensive lineman Vinny Mihota and linebacker Mook Reynolds, all because of injuries, and never let Virginia deeper than the 23 yard-line.

"They understand the expectations around here, Foster said of defenders like Houshun Gaines, who made his first career start at defensive end and recovered a fumble to set up the Hokies' touchdown, Emmanuel Belmar, who started at the other end spot, and Khalil Ladler, who started in place of Reynolds, the team's No. 3 tackler. "This is a big game. It's a big game for a year," Foster added.

Josh Jackson turned the fumble recovery on the second play of the second half into a touchdown in four plays. He hit Chris Cunningham in the back left corner of the end zone after the Cavaliers defenders bit on a run fake, and the defense did the rest to keep the streak alive.

"I think it's probably the best team win of the year," Walker said.

The Hokies (9-3, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference), who won this game 52-10 last year, also had some luck on their side.

Virginia (6-6, 3-5) had two golden opportunities for touchdowns, but Juan Thornhill slipped after intercepting a pass with nothing but 60 yards of green grass in front of him. Later, speedy wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus caught a slant pattern that looked like it might go 89 yards, but as he was just hitting his stride, he was caught from behind by Deon Newsome, the only player with a chance, after just 28 yards.

"Deon's pretty fast, Hokies coach Justin Fuente said. "For him to get him on the ground so we could live to fight another day was huge."

Jackson was thrilled to see Thornhill go down after jumping a route.

"I would have had to make a tackle, so I guess it's good that he fell," he said,

The Hokies remain unbeaten against Virginia since joining the ACC in 2004, but Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall was encouraged.

"The gap has closed and that's obvious, I think, to anyone," he said. "But not enough to where we won the game."

After the first six series of the game ended in punts, Brian Johnson, subbing for Virginia Tech's injured career field goal record-holder Joey Slye, kicked a 30-yard field goal early in the second quarter. Jackson later converted a lost fumble by Virginia's Chris Sharp on the second play of the second half. After a 25-yard pass to Hezekiah Grimsley to start it, he finished it with an 8-yard scoring pass to Cunningham.

It was the redshirt freshman's 19th touchdown pass of the season.

The Cavaliers' best two penetrations into Hokies territory ended in a missed 41-yard field goal try just before halftime, and a comedy of errors in the fourth quarter. With the crowd exhorting the home team, Kurt Benkert drove them to the Hokies 30 and appeared to have hit Doni Dowling with a 16-yard pass. But a review overturned the call, and Dowling was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct after the following play for pushing a Virginia Tech player. A few plays later, defensive end Andrew Brown was ejected for a personal foul on the sideline.

Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State


Future NBA prospect Omer Yurtseven transfers to Georgetown from NC State

The pieces are starting to come together for Patrick Ewing.

On Monday the Georgetown Hoyas picked up perhaps the biggest (literally and figuratively) target of the transfer market, Omer Yurtseven.

From North Carolina State, the transfer from Istanbul Turkey will have two years remaining of eligibility. Due to NCAA transfer rules, he is not allowed to play for the 2018-19 season.


Standing at 7-0, the center helped power the Wolfpack to an NCAA tournament bid this past season. Averaging 13.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks a contest, Yurstseven earned All-ACC Third Team honors in the 2017-18 season. He also touted a 58.3 shooting percentage and was not afraid to pull it up from deep either (22 made three-pointers).

NC State lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8 Seton Hall, but he was limited due to foul trouble with only two points and two rebounds in 14 minutes of play.

Initially, he is the option to fill the void that Jessie Govan will leave, whether that is during this offseason or next. Already the team has lost power forward Marcus Derrickson

Yurtseven will just be another frontcourt talent for Ewing with the Hoyas.

It was widely reported that he was considering playing options, both in the United States and abroad before this announcement. Easily he has the talent to go in first round of the NBA Draft whichever year he declares.

On the same day, the Hoyas also announced the signing of four-star guard James Akinjo.

After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year


After historic season, Virginia's Tony Bennett named AP Coach of the Year

SAN ANTONIO -- Virginia coach Tony Bennett isn't going to waver from his foundation, whether it's the philosophy that built the Cavaliers into a contender or the big-picture perspective that helps him handle the sting of a historically improbable loss.

Both ends of that approach are fully on display now as he is named The Associated Press men's college basketball coach of the year.

Bennett won the honor Thursday after his Cavaliers set a program single-season record for wins, dominated the Atlantic Coast Conference and reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since the Ralph Sampson era. Yet that wildly successful season ended abruptly in the most unexpected way: with the Cavaliers falling to UMBC to become the first No. 1 seed to lose to a 16-seed in NCAA Tournament history.

"They experienced things a lot of guys don't," Bennett said in an interview with the AP. "That kind of success? Oh my gosh. And then that kind of loss? ... But again, their body of work deserves to be celebrated.

"And then so much of what society looks at -- it begs the question -- is it just about how you do in March? Or is it about the whole thing? It's a fair debate (on) what matters. But I told them: I wouldn't trade this team for anything. Even the experiences, as hard as they are, this is part of the process."

Bennett was the runaway winner for the award, which is being presented at the Final Four. He earned 50 of 65 votes from AP Top 25 writers with ballots submitted before the start of the NCAA Tournament.

Tennessee's Rick Barnes was second with five votes after leading the Volunteers to 26 wins and an NCAA bid despite being picked to finish 13th in the 14-team Southeastern Conference. First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was third with four votes.

This marks the second time Bennett has won the award, the other coming in 2007 when he was at Washington State.

In Bennett's ninth season, the Cavaliers (31-3) went from being picked to finish sixth in the ACC to winning the regular-season race by four games -- the first to win the ACC by that wide a margin since 2000. It then won the ACC Tournament to complete a 20-1 run against league opponents.


Virginia also reached No. 1 in the AP Top 25 for the first time since December 1982 and stayed there the final five weeks of the regular season, the last two unanimously.

And yet, the 48-year-old coach knows much of the focus will be on how things ended: that 74-54 loss to the Retrievers while playing without ACC sixth man of the year De'Andre Hunter.

Dealing with a roster of players in pained disbelief, Bennett said he has told them that they have "an unbelievable captive audience" waiting to see how they would handle it.

"I said how you respond to this will matter to your mom and dads, to your brothers, your sisters, your friends," Bennett said. "If they see that you're not fake about it, that yeah, of course you're going to be discouraged and down after a loss like that, but that you're OK. You can live with it.

"I said: you don't know the power that that's going to have in their life and in your life."

Bennett said he appreciated other coaches offering support, which included Syracuse Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim noting: "If I could hire a coach in this country and I could get Tony Bennett, there would be nobody in second place."

He said he's still reviewing what worked and what didn't, but "certainly you don't overreact" by changing everything that had brought the Cavaliers to this point.

This is, after all, a program that has been a 1-seed three times in the past five seasons with three ACC regular-season titles.

And Bennett won't be deterred from chasing more, even if it means stumbling a few more times on the way to reaching his goals.

"You better have something beyond the opinion of man or just how you feel, because this stuff is fleeting," Bennett said.

"So that's where obviously my faith is everything to me. You hear people talk about their faith in the lord and the relationship with the people that they care about, their family and their trusted friends. Those things stand the test of time. And that's what you have to draw from. And then you move on."