It may be time to throw away the game plans that suggest you can stop Virginia Tech by stopping Dell Curry.
Curry scored 20 points tonight, yet balanced scoring carried the Hokies past Virginia, 84-66, before 10,056 at Roanoke Civic Center.
Virginia, which had won 10 of its previous 11 basketball games with Tech, played under the direction of assistant coach Jim Larranaga after Coach Terry Holland became ill.
Holland, who missed four games last year because of stomach problems, came to the arena with the team but decided to fly home when he became nauseous. Team physician Joe May, who observed Holland, said he had an acute viral illness, and word from the University of Virginia Hospital in Charlottesville confirmed that diagnosis.
The players were informed of Holland's illness moments before they took the floor for warmups.
"We were stunned," said guard John Johnson. "But I don't think we can use it an excuse. There's no excuse for the way we played."
Down, 27-26, at the half, Virginia edged ahead before Tech made a 9-0 run to a 42-34 lead. The Cavaliers closed to 46-44, but Tech pulled away to 68-52 with 5:21 to go.
The Cavaliers (4-2) gave up 57 points in the second half to a Virginia Tech team (6-1) pressing for top 20 recognition, a team that features four senior starters in Curry, forwards Keith Colbert and Bobby Beecher and center Dave Burgess with freshman point guard George Caesar.
Colbert, of Annapolis, got 12 points in the second half to finish with 19. Beecher, without a first-half field goal, came on for 17 points.
Johnson and Olden Polynice had 13 each for Virginia, but Polynice was not the big factor he has been in previous games with the Hokies.
"I thought one of the keys to the victory was the play of Dave Burgess," Tech Coach Charlie Moir said. "He didn't give any ground in the battle with Polynice."
Tech, outrebounded by almost five a game for the season, had a 42-36 edge tonight.
"I thought the first half was very physical, and I think we were taken a little bit by surprise," Larranaga said. "We thought at halftime we had set our minds to play more physically ourselves. It seemed their strategy was the same, to get Beecher in the action early."
Said Colbert, "We had a fire in our eyes. I think we wanted it a little bit more." Howard 53, Towson St. 51
At Towson, William Stuart scored eight of his 10 points in the second half and blocked a key shot to lead the Bison to their first victory.
Howard (1-3) led, 52-51, with 20 seconds left when Stuart blocked an 18-foot attempt by Bill Leonard. Howard's Derek Caracciolo retrieved the ball and Howard called time. Stuart was fouled after receiving the inbounds pass and sank one free throw at 0:10.
Steffan Bunsavage missed a 22-foot buzzer shot for Towson (2-3). Washington Coll. 78, Gallaudet 67
Kurt Keller scored 24 points and the Shoremen (6-1) won in overtime at Gallaudet (1-6), whose Mike Stultz had 25 and David Hamilton 21.