Blackshear's big day propels Hokies over Pitt, 81-67
BLACKSBURG, Va. (WSET/Hokie Sports) – Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored a career-high 31 points to carry Virginia Tech past Pittsburgh 81-67 in an ACC game played Saturday at Carilion Clinic Court.
With the win, the Hokies snapped a two-game losing streak and moved to 12-4 on the season, 1-2 in ACC play. They also beat the Panthers for the fourth straight time. Pittsburgh fell to 8-8 overall 0-3 in league play.
Blackshear, a 6-foot-10 post player, dominated on the interior, making 12 of 16 from the floor, including two 3-pointers. He also made 5 of 7 from the free-throw line.
“I’ve got a bunch of shooters around me, and they were finding me when I was open,” Blackshear said. “It made everything easier.”
Pittsburgh trailed by 11 in the second half, but went on a 17-6 run, tying the game at 51 on two free throws by Jared Wilson-Frame with 12:37 remaining. The Hokies, though, scored the next six points, with Blackshear scoring four of them.
The Panthers again sliced into the Virginia Tech lead, cutting the lead to 69-64 on a layup by Terrell Brown with 2:22 remaining. But Blackshear, as he did all game, answered, burying a 3-pointer with 2:02 to go to thwart Pittsburgh’s momentum.
“I think he’s a good player,” Tech head coach Buzz Williams said. “I think, based on how they played us, obviously, they did not want us to shoot uncontested 3’s. If you’re not going to shoot 3’s, or at the rate that we have been, how are we going to score? Obviously, he fulfilled a lot of that today.”
Nickeil Alexander-Walker aided the Tech cause by converting three 3-point plays in the final six minutes and finished with 16 points, and Ahmed Hill had 15. Justin Robinson scored 11 points and dished out 10 assists.
Wilson-Frame led the Panthers, tying his career high with 20 points. He and Parker Stewart each made four of Pittsburgh's 12 3-pointers, but the Panthers' 17 turnovers led to 22 Virginia Tech points.
• Tech shot better than 50 percent for the first time in four games. The Hokies, ranked second nationally in field-goal percentage coming into this game, shot 52.6 percent (30 of 57) despite making just 4 of 23 from beyond the 3-point arc.
• The Hokies’ four 3-pointers were their second-fewest of the season.
• Tech went 17 of 23 from the free-throw line and now has made at least 15 free throws in 11 games this season.
• Blackshear’s 12 field goals and 16 field-goal attempts were career highs.
• Robinson recorded his first career double-double. His 10 assists were one short of a career high and two short of tying the school record of 12 set by Bimbo Coles in a 1987 game against Missouri.
• Chris Clarke has grabbed at least five rebounds in a game in 13 games this season and his five assists tied a season high.
• For the seventh time this season, Tech recorded at least 20 assists in a game.
The Hokies return to action Wednesday when they play a road game at Wake Forest that tips at 7 p.m.