Virginia Tech got some late game heroics from their freshman class and knocked off the Maryland Terrapins 67-66 in Cassell Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies trailed most of the game, but remained within striking distance, and a few freshmen came up with some big shots down the stretch to secure the win. Tech improved to 10-6 overall and 1-1 in the ACC with the win. Maryland is 10-7 and 0-2 in ACC play.
Freshman forward Jeff Allen was Tech’s most dominating player on Saturday. He finished with a team high in points (17), rebounds (9), steals (5) and blocks (3). He was 7-of-14 from the field and hit the game-winning free throw near the end of the game.
Two other Hokies finished with double figures. A.D. Vassallo had 16 points and eight rebounds, hitting 3-of-4 from the outside. Freshman guard Malcolm Delaney had 13 points, and tied the game on a late three-pointer. Deron Washington finished with nine points and seven boards.
Freshman point guard Hank Thorns played an excellent game off the bench. He scored seven points, and also had five rebounds, four assists and three steals in 29 minutes. He was the third freshman that made a critical basket late in the game.
Virginia Tech got off to a great start, using an 11-0 run to take a 15-5 lead with 13:36 remaining in the first half. However Maryland responded with their own 13-0 run to go up 18-15 at the 8:51 mark.
The game was basically even after that, though the Terps did manage to extend their lead to as many as six points in the first half. Two Bombale Osby free throws made the score 33-27 Maryland with 45 seconds remaining in the half, and the Terps took that lead into the halftime intermission.
Virginia Tech rallied in the second half, but they could never quite get over the hump until late in the game. They came within one point on five different occasions, and tied the game four times, but could never manage to take the lead. A dunk by A.D. Vassallo with 3:06 remaining tied the game at 61, and it looked like this one was going down to the wire.
However, Maryland started taking control at that point, running off five straight points while the Hokies weren’t doing much offensively. Tech had played well defensively up to that point, but it didn’t appear they were going to get the win. Maryland led 66-61 with 1:46 left in the game.
At that point however, Tech’s freshmen took over. With 1:32 left in the game, Hank Thorns nailed a baseline jumper to make the score 66-63. On the other end, Maryland’s James Gist misted a contested shot, and the Hokies got the rebound and got the ball up court quickly.
Thorns found fellow freshman guard Malcolm Delaney on the fast break, and Delaney nailed an open three-pointer to tie the game at 66 with 52 seconds remaining. It was a very quick turnaround, and the Hokies were right back in the game.
Maryland called a timeout to set up a play, but James Gist turned the ball over as Deron Washington stripped him of the ball with 27 seconds left. The Hokies elected to not call a timeout, but a well executed offensive play got Jeff Allen to the free throw line. Allen caught the pass down low, and although he missed the shot, he was hacked with 12.4 seconds left in the game.
Allen, who missed a potential game-winning free throw against Butler earlier in the season, was at the line in the same situation. The freshman from Washington, D.C. nailed the first free throw to put Tech up 67-66. He missed the second, and there was a scramble for the ball. Hank Thorns came up with it in the corner, but the official ruled that he stepped out of bounds before he could call a timeout.
Maryland called a timeout, then inbounded from the backcourt with less than 10 seconds remaining. Point guard Greivis Vasquez brought the ball up court and tried a three-pointer from the top of the key. Deron Washington challenged the shot, and it was no good. A.D. Vassallo grabbed the rebound, the buzzer sounded, and the Hokies picked up their first ACC win of the season.
The Hokies return to action on Wednesday night, when they take on UVA in Charlottesville. Tip-off is scheduled for 7pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.