Virginia Tech escaped Littlejohn Coliseum with a hard fought 82-81 victory over the Clemson Tigers on Sunday night. The Hokies improved to 15-4 overall and 4-3 in the ACC with the win, while Clemson dropped to 11-8 and 1-6.
The loss was Clemson’s sixth consecutive defeat, many of which have come in heartbreaking fashion. The Tigers took UNC to overtime before falling, and also played Notre Dame and UVA down to the wire before dropping the home contest to the Hokies. Meanwhile, Tech went 2-0 this week and won both games by a combined two points.
The Hokies gave up a barrage of three-pointers. Clemson was 13-of-27 (48.1%) from three-point range, and that hot shooting nearly won them the game. However, the Hokies had one critical stat in their favor: free throws. Tech was 16-of-17 (94.1%) from the charity stripe, and they knocked down all their key free throws down the stretch to ice the game. They were also 29-of-53 (54.7%) from the field against a Clemson defense that has struggled in recent weeks.
Sunday night’s game featured eight lead changes and six ties, though it was the Hokies who led for over 75% of the contest.
Amount of time led by VT: 33:22
Amount of time led by CU: 2:56
Amount of time tied: 3:42
Tech could never build a lead larger than eight points, however, which meant the game was going down to the wire. A great free throw shooting night was the difference.
Senior guard Seth Allen started the game and had a big impact. He finished with a team-high 17 points (15 in the second half) and six assists, and he committed just one turnover. Allen was very efficient offensively, going 6-of-10 from the field and 3-of-5 from three-point range. He also had a block and a steal.
Allen is on a hot streak right now. Here are his numbers in his last three games…
Notre Dame: 16 points, 6-of-10 FG, 3-of-6 3-Pt.
Georgia Tech: 17 points, 6-of-9 FG, 3-of-6 3-Pt.
Clemson: 17 points, 6-of-10 FG, 3-of-5 3-Pt.
Total/Avg: 16.7 ppg, 18-of-29 FG (62.1%), 9-of-17 3-Pt. (52.9%)
He had help from Zach LeDay, who finished with 16 points and five rebounds, as well as Ahmed Hill, who finished with 11 points. Ty Outlaw had his most productive outing of the season with eight points and four rebounds in 12 minutes. Chris Clarke finished with eight points and six rebounds.
It was a much-needed road win for the Hokies. Sunday night’s game was the first game of an eight-game stretch that will see Tech play six games away from Cassell Coliseum. They needed to figure out a way to steal a couple of those road games, so Sunday night’s win was most welcome. It also elevated the Hokies to #37 in the RPI, a very important metric for the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Thursday night when they travel to Chapel Hill to take on #9 North Carolina. Tipoff is scheduled for 8pm, and the game will be televised by ESPN.