Virginia Tech overcame a 15-point deficit to defeat Michigan 73-70 on the road on Wednesday night. The Hokies improved to 6-1 on the season while the Wolverines dropped to 5-2.
Virginia Tech was on the tail end of a 10-day road trip, and they played like it in the first half. The Hokies trailed by as many as 15 points in the first 20 minutes, and playing in their first true road game of the season, things were not looking good. Though they did manage to cut the Michigan lead to 39-30 at halftime, the home team seemed firmly in control.
The Hokies started the second half on a 9-2 run. but Michigan pulled back ahead by ten, 62-52, with 7:23 left. However, the Hokies managed to take control over Michigan late in the game, perhaps drawing on their past experience in the Wooden Legacy Tournament last week. Tech was defeated by Texas A&M on Friday after blowing a 17-point lead with just under 15 minutes remaining in the game. In many ways this win overcame that loss, simply because it was at a road venue in the Big Ten.
Michigan led the game for 37:50, but Seth Allen hit a runner off the glass at the 1:46 mark to put the Hokies up 68-67. After a missed jumper by the Wolverines, Allen drained a three-pointer from the top of the key to make the score 71-67. It seemed as if the Hokies had the game under control, but a three-pointer by Michigan’s Duncan Robinson with 42 seconds remaining cut the lead to 71-70.
On Tech’s next possession, Allen was whistled for a questionable push off foul, giving Michigan the ball. However, Zak Irvin missed a jumper, and Justin Bibbs made two free throws with 3.9 seconds remaining to push the lead back to 73-70. The Wolverines got one final shot, but Robinson missed a heavily contested three-pointer, and the Hokies walked away from Ann Arbor with a huge come from behind victory.
Zach LeDay paced Tech with 18 points, 15 in the second half, and he also tied Chris Clarke with a team-high six rebounds. Justin Robinson had 11 points with four assists, while Justin Bibbs and Seth Allen had 10 points apiece.
The Hokies shot 24-of-46 (52.2%) for the game, including a 6-of-14 (42.9%) mark from the three-point line. However, it was Tech’s free throw shooting that was the difference. The Hokies went 19-of-21 (90.5%) from the charity stripe, their second performance of over 90% from the line for the year (Tech shot 19-of-20 against New Mexico). That type of shooting was enough to overcome the slow start and 14 turnovers. Though Tech only led the game for 1:44, that was enough for the victory.
After being on the road since last Monday, the Hokies finally return to Blacksburg next week. Tech will host Maryland-Eastern Shore in Cassell Coliseum next Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30pm, and the game can be seen online on the ACC Network Extra.