Virginia Tech Falls to Northwestern in Overtime

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Joey van Zegeren didn't have a good game against his former team, but he did throw down this dunk.
Joey van Zegeren didn’t have a good game against his former team, but he did throw down this dunk.

Virginia Tech suffered a tough 81-79 setback in overtime at the hands of Northwestern in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Tuesday night. The Hokies dropped to 4-3 with the loss, while the Wildcats improved to 6-1.

The Hokies continued to do the things they had been doing well. They outrebounded Northwestern 42-36, and grabbed 14 offensive rebounds. Coming into the game, Tech was #22 nationally in rebounding rate and #12 in offensive rebound percentage, so those trends continued.

Tech was also #1 in the country in free throws attempted per game, and they had attempted more free throws than their opponent in every single game this year. That trend continued tonight as well…

VT: 18-of-23 (78.3%)
NU: 7-of-11 (63.6%)

Unfortunately, Tech’s trend of playing poor defense also continued, and that led to their eventual loss.

Northwestern blistered the Hokies in the first half, shooting 56.7% from the field and 42.9% from three-point range. As a result, they took a 45-36 lead into halftime.

“I think a couple of times we went under screens, and they just stepped behind and popped them,” Seth Allen said after the game.

The Hokies were able to get back into the game in the second half because of improved defensive play. Northwestern shot just 40.5% from the field for the final 20 minutes of regulation.

“Our mentality was different on both ends of the floor in the second half,” Buzz Williams said.

The Hokies rallied from nine points down at halftime thanks to some impressive performances…

Seth Allen: 25 points, 7-of-15, 4-of-8 3pt., 7-8 FT
Chris Clarke: 11 points, 13 rebounds (second straight double-double)
Justin Bibbs: 17 points, 7-of-11, 3-of-5 3pt.

Tech got off to a great start in overtime, taking a 77-73 lead thanks to two baskets by Jalen Hudson and Satchel Pierce. Unfortunately, their defense came apart down the stretch again.

With the game tied at 79, Northwestern’s Bryant McIntosh got by Devin Wilson on a drive, and Satchel Pierce was late with his help defense, and the result was a game-winning layup with 27 seconds left. Chris Clarke had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but his open jumper from near the baseline was barely off.

Buzz Williams was visibly upset after the game as he walked off the court, and he was unusually short with the media following the game. He normally gives long-winded answers, but he kept his answers short.

Was it emotional for him to face former Hokie Joey van Zegeren (4 points, 2 rebounds, 14 minutes)?

“No.”

Why does the team keep getting off to bad offensive starts?

“Bad coaching.”

Why did he seem more upset than usual after a loss?

“We just lost a two-point game in overtime at home on national television. Were you there?’

Williams obviously considered Northwestern to be a big game, and he was upset with his team’s defensive performance.

Nevertheless, the team has made major strides this year in other areas, which I’ll detail in a TSL Pass article tomorrow.

Virginia Tech returns to action this Saturday at 3pm when they host Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The game can be seen online on ESPN3.

Box Score

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7 Responses You are logged in as Test

    1. I think he is upset with himself and his team for the “pathetic crowd”. He said so in the post-game. He knows it takes good play and wins to win back the crowds Cassell used to have. So when they don’t play well and lose games, Buzz knows the attendance is going to suffer.

  1. Definitely not BBL articulate, but for anyone who wasn’t watching the game, you could see significant improvement in the players’ performance. It seemed they were not playing as tightly knit on D as NW was.

    With 6 seconds left in first half, NW inbounded the ball from mid-court, and their big polish center shot from short of mid court (30 feet?) and made a huge 3 pointer. That throw up shot was the diff in the game. As much as VT struggled, they were that close against a good team. NW is not bottom of the barrel big 10.

  2. Too many open looks for NWestern. Also, Wilson may end up being a liability this season. His offensive look seemed to be driving in the lane until he was surrounded by 3 people then throwing an errant pass. After watching Clark for a couple of games, he reminds me of Devon Washington. Fun to watch him go after the ball.

  3. He isn’t the only one that was disappointed! What was wrong with LeDay? Didn’t play much after being leading scorer so far. This is another loss that should have been a W. We should be 6-1 now. We’d better win the next 4 in a row without much trouble.

    1. Wasn’t Leday the one they were talking about in postgame where they had set a goal for him in the first 13 or so minutes, and he didnt accomplish it, so that’s why he didnt play much after? I may be mistaken…got distracted often by all the parking lot traffic where all the fans must have been pissed and taking it out on each other!

  4. Encouraged despite the loss. Defense is clearly a huge issue.

    This team was picked to be in last place in the ACC if I’m not mistaken and quite frankly if we end up at .500 or close in overall wins, I would consider this year a huge success.

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