March 1, 2007
Sean Singletary scored 17 points and Virginia gained sweet revenge against No. 21 Virginia Tech on Thursday night, beating the Hokies 69-56 and moving into first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Cavaliers (20-8, 11-4), picked to finish eighth in the preseason, finished 8-0 in league play at their new John Paul Jones Arena and moved a half-game ahead of No. 8 North Carolina atop the conference. The Tar Heels played at Georgia Tech later.
Virginia Tech (20-9, 10-5), which hosts Clemson on Sunday, never found the defensive rhythm it used to dominate Virginia on Feb. 10 in the Hokies' 84-57 victory. The Cavaliers hit four 3-pointers in the opening 5 1/2 minutes and trailed only briefly in the first half.
J.R. Reynolds and Mamadi Diane added 13 points each for the Cavaliers. Jason Cain had eight points and nine rebounds and helped on one of the Cavaliers best defensive games this year.
Zabian Dowdell led the Hokies with 17 points, while Deron Washington and A.D. Vassallo, who each had 22 in Blacksburg, finished with 9 and 3, respectively. The Hokies shot 36 percent.
Virginia Tech got as close as 59-52 with 4:25 to play, but Diane hit an 18-footer and Singletary added two free throws with 3:51 to play, rebuilding the Cavaliers comfort zone.
The Hokies had scored seven straight early in the second half to close to within 43-38, but Singletary scored on a drive and Diane hit the first of his two 3-pointers in a span of 55 seconds. The second helped offset four quick points by the Hokies, and when Singletary followed it with his own 3-pointer and two free throws, Virginia led 56-42 with 11 minutes remaining.
The Hokies got no closer than seven thereafter.
Virginia led 36-28 after a first half that was essentially three runs.
The Cavaliers led 19-8 after hitting four 3-pointers in the first seven minutes, then made only 2 of their next 13 shots. Dowdell scored six in a 13-0 run that gave the Hokies a 21-19 lead with 6:48 left. Virginia then got it back together and used a 16-3 burst to regain control.