Feb. 10, 2007
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) - Jamon Gordon made sure Virginia Tech only needed half of its guard tandem to win its much anticipated matchup with Virginia on Saturday, and the Hokies also got a huge day from Deron Washington in their 84-57 victory.
The high-flying Washington scored 22 points and had 10 rebounds, A.D. Vassallo also scored 22 and Gordon had 15 and six assists as the Hokies (17-7, 7-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) won for the first time in their last five meetings with Virginia.
In ending their two-game skid, the Hokies were sharp after a week off and knocked Virginia (16-7, 8-3) out of a tie for first place in the conference, and ended their seven-game winning streak in the league, their longest since the 1981-82 season. The victory also earned Virginia Tech a point in the Commonwealth Challenge presented by Comcast competition. Virginia now leads the 2006-07 Commonwealth Challenge 5.5-4.5. The next competition is in women's basketball on Feb. 15 in Blacksburg.
J.R. Reynolds led Virginia with 21 points and Sean Singletary had 13, but the group considered the best backcourt in the conference was no match for the Hokies, even though Zabian Dowdell drew four quick fouls and was hardly a factor in the game.
The Hokies didn't need him, shooting 55 percent in the first half and almost 58 percent for the game. The Cavaliers, by contrast, shot below 33 percent overall.
Trailing by 16 at halftime, the Cavaliers closed to within 42-29 early in the second half, but the Hokies scored the next nine points, the start of a 15-2 run that gave them their biggest lead to that point at 57-31. That essentially ended it, except for the second of Washington's two poster dunks, and then a shot where he flicked the ball over his head while being fouled and the ball dropped. It was that kind of day.
The Hokies, coming off consecutive losses followed by a week off, came out like a team playing to prove that its earlier No. 16 national ranking wasn't a fluke.
After Reynolds scored 26 seconds into the game, Virginia Tech used stiff perimeter defense and sizzling shooting to build a 36-11 run over the next 12 minutes.
The Hokies had 11 blocks.
When Vassallo hit a 10-footer 7:23 before halftime, it was the Hokies' 15th basket in 20 attempts and gave them a 36-13 lead even with Dowdell, their scoring leader, spending all but four minutes of the half on the bench with two personal fouls.
Virginia coach Dave Leitao had already used three timeouts trying to stop the momentum, but then the Hokies helped by making only one of their last nine shots and committing six turnovers as the Cavaliers closed with a 9-2 run to get within 38-22.
Except for briefly in the second half, the Cavaliers never got closer.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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