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NCAAB: Reserve Francisco Caffaro propels Virginia past Va. Tech

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Francisco Caffaro came off the bench to tally 16 points and nine rebounds, both career highs, sparking Virginia to a 54-52 victory over Virginia Tech on Wednesday night in Charlottesville, Va.

Armaan Franklin contributed 15 points and five rebounds for Virginia (10-6, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference). Reece Beekman added 11 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Virginia Tech (8-7, 0-4) was led by Keve Aluma, who had 22 points and six rebounds. It was the seventh loss in the past 10 games for the Hokies.

In a slow-paced game that was close throughout, neither team led by more than four points in the second half. Overall, there were 10 ties and 13 lead changes.

Aluma’s driving layup with 3:13 left put Virginia Tech in front 52-48, but the Cavaliers held the Hokies scoreless the rest of the way, forcing three turnovers and three missed shots.

In the final five seconds, Hunter Cattoor and Storm Murphy missed 3-point attempts that could have given Virginia Tech the lead. Cattoor and Murphy finished with 10 points each.

Virginia cut Virginia Tech’s lead to 52-51 when Jayden Gardner slipped a pass inside to Caffaro for a layup. With 1:31 to go, Franklin gave the Cavaliers the lead with a pair of free throws. After Virginia’s Kihei Clark made 1 of 2 free throws with 14 seconds left for a 54-52 edge, Virginia Tech couldn’t convert with its final possession.

In the first half, when Virginia starter Kadin Shedrick picked up two quick fouls, Caffaro entered and sparked the Cavaliers, scoring the first five points of a 10-0 run. Franklin scored the other five, including a 3-pointer that put Virginia up 17-9.

Cattoor answered with a turnaround jumper and a 3-pointer, part of a seven-point run that pulled the Hokies close and set the scene for a tight contest the rest of the way.

–Field Level Media

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