- - Sunday, January 22, 2012

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — In a game in which both teams went all-in on defense, it was Virginia Tech’s Dorenzo Hudson who bucked the trend, hitting a 3-point shot to lift the Hokies to a 47-45 victory, their first in ACC play.

No. 15 Virginia watched the Hokies extract revenge for last year’s sweep by slowing the pace and beating the Cavaliers at their own game.

The final numbers for U.Va. were abysmal: four assists, 33 percent shooting and 1 of 14 from behind the arc.

“For us to shoot that poorly and still be in it, I think that’s a testament to our defense,” Cavs forward Akil Mitchell said. “But if you’re shooting 7 percent on 3s, it’s tough to win.”

The Hokies didn’t fare much better offensively, as it was their fewest points in a victory since February 1997.

Hudson had been relegated to sixth-man duty after a weak December, but in two games off the bench has been a difference maker.

“He’s stayed positive the whole time,” roommate Erick Green said. “That’s the best thing about him. He didn’t drag anybody down, and he kept himself upbeat.”

With the Hokies protecting a one-point lead late, Hudson got the ball in the corner and launched the winning 3-pointer. Virginia’s Joe Harris hit a basket on the other end, but it was the Wahoos’ third attempt, and it left just one second on the clock.Tech’s Robert Brown then missed a free throw, giving U.Va. 0.7 seconds for a desperate final look that never materialized.

Virginia could have avoided the situation altogether by making some shots. After going down seven to open the second half, the ‘Hoos went to a four-guard lineup that gave them some momentum and evened the score.

All those guards couldn’t buy a bucket, though. Senior Sammy Zeglinski went 0 for 6 as he played through a stomach virus. He got applause from the crowd as he made a practice shot well after being fouled in the second half.

“He gave everything he had,” U.Va. coach Tony Bennett said. “I just don’t think he had quite the steam, or the lead in his pencil, that he needed.”

Hokies coach Seth Greenberg said he was most impressed that his team, which is now 12-7 overall and 1-4 in conference play, was able to weather Virginia’s rally instead of developing a defeatist mentality and folding.

Virginia Tech dug a hole with fouls during that rally, picking up eight of them in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Virginia couldn’t capitalize, though, as junior Jontel Evans went just 1 for 5 from the foul line.

It was the first sellout of the season at John Paul Jones Arena, with the town responding to the buzz that had built up around the Cavs (15-3, 2-2). The crowd was mostly a nonfactor, though, making noise during the second-half rally and after a Mike Scott dunk late, but otherwise watching the rivals parody the Big Ten style of play.

In the luxury suites, every television was tuned to the NFC football game.

With Virginia center Assane Sene out for the first time after sustaining an ankle injury last week, the Hokies’ attention was placed solely on Scott inside, a gamble that paid off.

He was double- or triple- teamed every time he touched the ball, and his 10 points represent a victory for an opposing defense.

“When you’re struggling to shoot, you’ve got to find ways,” Bennett said. “For us, that’s offensive rebounds, put-backs, getting to the line or maybe transition buckets. And there were a few we left on the table.”

The points both teams left on the table would be enough for a feast.

For the Hokies, though, the unappealing style represented the path to a much-needed victory.

Read more about the the Cavs & Hokies at TimesDispatch.com

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