Virginia Tech’s Season Ends with a Close Loss to BYU

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The Hokies played one of their grittiest games of the year, but ultimately fell to BYU 80-77 in front of 12,379 fans in the Marriott Center on Friday night.  Virginia Tech finished the season 20-15, while the Cougars improved to 25-10 and advanced to the NIT quarterfinals.

After playing an overtime game against Princeton on Wednesday night, the Hokies traveled to Provo on Thursday and had very little time to prepare for Friday’s contest.  They fell behind 7-0, and then 20-11, and they looked exactly like many expected them to: a team that traveled to a different time zone with basically no time to prepare.

However, Tech battled back, and it turned into one of the best and most entertaining games of the season.  There were a total of 11 ties and 14 lead changes, and were it not for an uncharacteristically bad night from the free throw line and three-point range, the Hokies might have pulled it out.

Virginia Tech outrebounded a bigger BYU team 45-34, they blocked eight shots, and held the Cougars to 42.1% from the field.  However, the Hokies shot just 5-of-23 (21.7%) from three-point range and 12-of-21 (57.1%) from the free throw line.  The cold shooting night could possibly be attributed to playing in a different time zone just two days after the overtime win over Princeton, but no matter how you look at it, it was probably the difference in the game.

Zach LeDay had the best overall game for Tech with 17 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks, while Seth Allen led the team in scoring with 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting.  Kerry Blackshear had 13 points and seven rebounds, but he missed two late free throws and had a pair of critical turnovers over the final 1:01 that helped BYU seal the game.  Nevertheless, Blackshear made numerous critical shots in the second half that kept his team in the game.

The Hokies took their final lead of the game 73-71 at the 5:31 mark on a Justin Bibbs three-pointer.  As it turned out, that was Bibbs’ only three-pointer of the game, as the normally reliable shooter went just 1-of-6 from the outside.  BYU took the lead back 75-73 at the 4:21 mark on a Chase Fischer three-pointer, and the Cougars were able to close the game out thanks to some help from the Hokies.

Over the final 3:07 of the game, Virginia Tech had two key turnovers that BYU turned into four points, and they also missed a pair of free throws.  Nevertheless, on the whole it was a very good performance from the Hokies, whose backs were against the wall after traveling from Blacksburg to Provo, Utah and playing a game that started less than 48 hours after the end of their opening round win over Princeton.

Buzz Williams’ second season in Blacksburg was a huge turnaround.  The Hokies finished with 20 wins for the first time since 2011, and this marked their first postseason appearance since that season as well.  They improved from 2-16 in the ACC in 2014-15 to 10-8 this year.  That’s just the third time in the history of the ACC that a team has improved by eight conference wins from one year to the next.

Virginia Tech’s only senior is Shane Henry, and he played only four minutes in the final game of his career.  Every other player on the roster is eligible to return, including Ahmed Hill, who missed the entire 2015-16 season with a partial tear of his patella tendon.  Tech will likely be picked to finish in the top five of the ACC next season, if they can hold onto head coach Buzz Williams.  Oklahoma State fired head coach Travis Ford on Friday, and Williams is reported to be one of the Cowboys’ top targets.  Stay tuned.

Box Score

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9 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Wow, what a year! And last night, the team gave great effort despite overwhelming obstacles- travel, short turnaround, hostile crowd, bad refs, and still almost pulled it out, through sheer will. That is really fun to see, especially when contrasted with the JJ era. I will be a season ticket buyer next year. Please hang with us, Buzz.

  2. VT couldn’t ask for a better season. considering how that where picked to finish. As a fan , l am very happy for them. Only thing that should have happened, Buzz getting the ACC Coach of The Year. But that’s on the league not him…as you stated about the turn around on ACC wins….speaks for itself.

  3. Fantastic season for Buzz & MBB team. Solid ACC improvement in Year 2. Team has reset the expectation bar and very excited for next season. Also as noted by other posts: over next 2-3 yrs there will be some major changes in the ACC basketball coaching land and VT team led by Buzz has an excellent opportunity to capitalize.

    Great season Hokies!!!
    Awesome to see Cassell alive again!!!

    Let’s Go…Hokies!
    Thanks for great season!!!!
    Can’t wait for next year!

  4. Wow, you really think we’ll be picked in the top 5 of the ACC next year?

    I’m not saying we can’t finish there, but I’d be shocked if we are picked that high.

  5. We are on our way. Last night was not our night, but the effort was there. Very proud of this overachieving team and delighted with the season results.

    We are competitive again, and we can look forward to next season with great anticipation.

  6. Congratulations to Buzz & Team for their tremendous season! It was fun and exciting to watch this team grow into a very competitive and confident team and leave the ACC basement! Very few were predicting post season play a little over a month ago, much less going 2 rounds into the NIT and losing to a good team (who also had some extra help from the home town Refs!)! Buzz is an outstanding fit for bringing Hokie BBall to a consistent Top 25 level; NCAA tourney appearances; and having Cassell sold out!! This team has great things on the horizon for next season and with Hill coming back and hopefully Outlaw, we should compete for ACC! Go Hokies!

  7. Great game by the Hokies! The bias in calls was appalling. In the first half, BYU got away with numerous uncalled travels and blatant fouls. So proud of this team for not backing down even though they played against BYU and refs most of the game.

    Kudos for Buzz for not going ballistic. One call in second half was so ridiculous, all Buzz could do was smile.

    Love the way this teams plays and cannot wait until next year!

  8. Great Effort and great season. BYU had a “license to mug” for a large part of the game. We would have missed the free throws anyway. Can’t wait till next season. Great coverage of the season by Techsideline staff.

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