Virginia Tech overcame a 14-point halftime deficit to defeat #12 UVA 80-78 in a dramatic double overtime game in Cassell Coliseum on Sunday night. The Hokies improved to 17-7 overall and 6-6 in the ACC with the win, while the Hoos dropped to 18-6 and 8-4. It was the third consecutive road game UVA has lost after leading by double digits in the second half.
Tech’s win did not come without drama. First, there were the injuries. Chris Clarke injured his left knee with about ten minutes to go in the game. He returned to the bench with his knee wrapped in ice, but he will have an MRI on Monday to determine the extent of the damage. Khadim Sy also left the game with cramps late in the first overtime. Meanwhile, Zach LeDay fouled out with 1:22 remaining in regulation, and played just 24 minutes out of a possible 50 minutes. The Hokies were down to just five scholarship players for the final minutes of the game.
Perhaps the most dramatic moment came with 22 seconds remaining in the first overtime. With the game tied at 68, UVA point guard London Perrantes drove to the basket for a closeup look that would have put the Hoos ahead, but his layup attempt bounced around the rim for several seconds before coming to a complete stop on top of the back of the rim. In that situation, a jump ball is the call, and the possession arrow went to Virginia Tech. Seth Allen followed up by missing a three-pointer, and the Hokies escaped to the second overtime.
“That was quite a spectacle,” UVA head coach Tony Bennett said of the Perrantes layup attempt.
The final five minutes were back and forth, and UVA tied the game at 78 on a layup by Devon Hall with 17 seconds remaining. The Hokies were out of timeouts, but Seth Allen drove the lane, and a pump fake near the basket got UVA guard (and former Marquette/Buzz Williams signee Marial Shayok) off his feet, and Allen dropped in the basket with 3.1 seconds remaining. A last second three-pointer from near halfcourt by Perrantes was no good, and the Hokies celebrated their second home win of the season over a ranked opponent.
“I just tried to go hard,” Allen said. “Then I stopped on two feet so I could make a strong play to the basket, but I saw he was about to jump so I just stopped and floated it in there.”
Of course, there was plenty of drama before overtime. Tech forced the extra frames on a last second tip-in by Ty Outlaw, who crashed the boards when Seth Allen missed a running layup. Outlaw’s basket represented his only two points of the game. At that point, the 6-6 Outlaw was in the game as Tech’s “center” because everybody else was either hurt or in foul trouble.
“I’m playing the 5 (center) position, that’s not my position,” Outlaw said. “But I’m listening to the coaches instructions…Coach Jamie McNeilly told me no matter what happens, go to the glass and be there to clean up anything.”
Down by 14 at halftime, and without three members of their 8-man rotation available for the latter stages of the game, it didn’t seem meant to be for the Hokies. But with their backs against the wall, they were able to come out with a much needed win.
“That was really crazy,” Justin Bibbs said. “Unimaginable. I hope Chris is fine … it was all the odds against us. We just stayed together and pulled it off.”
Buzz Williams had a little more to say about his team’s comeback victory.
“Toughness, grit, character,” Williams said. “A lot of love between one another. Our personnel didn’t change in a positive way (with the injuries and foul trouble). So much of what happened during the overtime periods, it was kind of scrambled eggs, we were playing a lineup we never play, trying to figure out what to do offensively.”
Seth Allen paced the Hokies with 20 points, while Justin Bibbs added 16 points (4-6 from three-point range) and six rebounds. Zach LeDay had 11 points, all in the second half, while Khadim Sy had 10. There were several significant factors that led to Virginia Tech’s victory over UVA:
Free throws: Virginia Tech was 20-of-26 (76.9%) from the line, while UVA was just 14-of-24 (58.3%). The Hoos also had some critical misses down the stretch, including a Ty Jerome miss of the front end of a one-and-one with 9 seconds left in regulation that would have extended the UVA lead to at least three points. Instead, Outlaw was able to tie it on the tip-in 8 seconds later.
Field goal shooting: Tech shot just 35.7% in the first meeting with UVA, including 3-of-20 (15%) from three-point range. This time they were 26-of-59 (44.1%), including 14-of-24 (58.3%) in the second half against a defense that ranks #3 in the country in defensive efficiency.
Rebounding: The Hokies were outrebounded 37-22 in the first meeting, and UVA scored 18 second chance points. In Sunday’s win, VT outrebounded the Hoos 41-38, and UVA had just one second chance point. It was just the second time this season that the Hokies have outrebounded an ACC opponent.
The win over UVA gives the Hokies their second victory over a Top 50 RPI team this season. Tech returns to action on Tuesday night when they travel to Pitt. Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will be televised by ESPN2.
Game Notes from Virginia Tech
The win is the Hokies fourth consecutive overtime win over Virginia and the Hokies are now 4-5 in overtime games against the Cavaliers. Tech is 1-1 in double-overtime games against Virginia.
The Hokies have now defeated the Cavaliers in Cassell Coliseum in consecutive years for the first time since the 2009-10 and 2008-09 seasons. Those years were the last two of a four consecutive home win streak against UVa.
This was the Hokies’ first overtime game since defeating Princeton, 86-81 in overtime on March 16, 2016. Tech is now 65-49 overall in overtime games and 5-3 in overtime games under Buzz Williams. Tech is 30-11 in home overtime games and 16-8 in overtime in ACC games.
This snapped a two-game losing streak in double-overtime games. Tech is now 6-9 in double overtime games all-time.
The Hokies are now 2-4 against nationally-ranked teams this season.
Chris Clarke suffered a left leg injury in the game and did not return. He will have an MRI on Monday and be further evaluated.
For the second consecutive game, the Hokies have returned to the starting line-up that began the season.
Khadim Sy scored 10 points. That marks a new high for him against ACC competition. His 17 minutes played tied his high against ACC competition.
Seth Allen scored 20 points. That is his ninth consecutive game in double figures and his 17th game in double figures for the season. It is his season-high in points.
Zach LeDay scored 11 points. This is his 19th consecutive game in double figures and he has now scored in double figures in 23 of the team’s 24 games.
Justin Bibbs scored 16 points. It is his ninth game in double figures this season. His 46 minutes played in the game ties the school record for minutes played in an ACC game.