Virginia Tech’s season came to an end with a 79-76 overtime loss to Wichita State in Cassell Coliseum on Sunday. The Hokies finished the season with a 22-12 record, their third 20-win season in the last four years.
This game was close from start to finish, but by the end of the game the Hokies just didn’t have enough players. Victor Davila tried to fight through a bad shoulder injury, but proved ineffective, and Jeff Allen fouled out with six minutes remaining in regulation. For the final 11 minutes of the game, including overtime, Seth Greenberg was without both of his post players.
Greenberg had to dig deep on the bench, bringing in walk-on Paul Debnam for defense and rebounding. Debnam came up with a couple of great energy plays that led to Tech points, but in the end it was Wichita State’s height on the inside that won out in overtime. The Hokies had no answer for 7-0 center Garrett Stutz, who scored seven consecutive points in overtime against a Tech defense that featured no post players.
Malcolm Delaney closed his Virginia Tech career with a game-high 30 points in 43 minutes. Delaney also had five rebounds and four steals. He was 8-of-14 from the field, and 3-of-6 from three-point range. Delaney also made 11-of-13 shots from the free throw line.
Eric Green chipped in with 17 points and three steals while shooting 5-of-12 from the field. Jeff Allen had 10 points and seven rebounds in his final game as a Hokie before fouling out, and Terrell Bell had six points, three rebounds, three assists and two blocks in his final game as well.
Manny Atkins came off the bench to play big minutes for the Hokies, scoring eight points and grabbing six rebounds in 26 minutes. Atkins has raised his game recently, dating back to the beginning of the ACC Tournament.
Virginia Tech was able to rally from a 63-57 deficit with 4:36 remaining in regulation. Erick Green hit a big three-pointer as well as a driving layup, and Malcolm Delaney made four free throws during the run. Manny Atkins drilled a three-pointer from the corner to give the Hokies a 69-66 lead with 1:10 left, but J.T. Durley answered with a three-pointer of his own to tie the game. Neither team could score down the stretch, and the game went into overtime.
Trailing 76-74, and with a five second difference between the shot clock and game clock, the Hokies went into a trap defense and forced a turnover with 11 seconds remaining. Erick Green came up with a big steal, and he pitched it ahead to Terrell Bell for a layup that tied the game with just nine seconds left.
However, Wichita State pushed it up the court quickly, and no one stopped point guard Joe Ragland, who hit a running shot in the lane with just 2.6 seconds left to make the score 78-76 Shockers. Tech called a timeout and inbounded to Malcolm Delaney, but Delaney stepped out of bounds near halfcourt before he was able to put up a shot. Wichita State was fouled and made one more free throw, which made the final margin 79-76.