Virginia Tech Rallies From 15 Down To Beat Michigan

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.

Box Score

26 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. Great comeback. This team has chemistry and “is family.” That is clear. Watching it, I was floored by the continuous (I think nine of ten) drives directly under the basket from the end line on the other side, in other words, from one side of the bucket to the other, after the VT man guarding the UM player cut off the path to the front of the bucket. I remember the announcer saying after one of Wagner’s back-door put-ins that UM had scored seven out of eight times on that exact move. I think they ended up with eight of nine or maybe nine of ten of those one-on-moves. Any comments about that? Different defensive strategy by the Hokies? AH

  2. I don’t think the Seth Allen push off call was questionable. Looked like the correct call to me.

    1. Indeed, that was a good call. The game was officiated relatively well. The ghost offensive foul on Ahmed Hill early in the first half arguably changed the course of the game. It was his second foul and he was forced into conservation-mode.

      1. Agree on the Allen call, he extended his arm and made contact. The other thing about the Hill call was that he made the shot and should have gone to the line.

  3. What’s encouraging is that UM looked (for most of the game anyways) like a team that will win a lot of games this year. I don’t know enough about basketball, but either their ball movement in the first half was impressive, or our defense was terrible. So many clean looks without a defender anywhere close. Surviving that barrage without checking out mentally was a great sign I think.

  4. The key to the win was Tech’s ‘free throw defense’. We shut down Michigan on the line 😂😂😂

    1. Part of UM’s lack of FT was the fact that VT played an “O-Lay Defense” for much of the first half. They gave up one after another uncontested drives to the basket with no help in sight.

  5. I think if the basketball gods had told us that we’d go 4-1 on this 5-games-in-10-days road trip before it started, we’d have all taken it in a heartbeat.

    Great job by the team to keep plugging away last night even when things weren’t looking good. This was a quality win that will definitely help our case come NCAA tournament selection time.

  6. Terrific win. Curious as to why Sy doesn’t get more minutes. He seems very effective in his limited time on the floor.

    1. He will gain more minutes, as he gets more comfortable with what the team is doing. He still has things to learn so he knows what to do, and where to be on the court. He does well in his limited minutes.

  7. I wonder if the Seth Allen push off was done on purpose. It made UM take a shot before time expiring. If they miss they have to foul. If they make it, we have the last shot to win.

  8. Come on CC…there was nothing questionable about Seth Allen’s push off foul. It was a foul, period. Seth overcame his foul and made some big time plays down the stretch. Big time players make big time plays during crunch time. Soft players fold during crunch time. Great victory! I hope the team can start playing from the opening tip like the second half tonight. Actually, they did during the Texas A&M game, but fell apart in the second half. They need to put two halves together.

    1. CC: Simply change this line to “VT overcame Ahmed Hill being DQ’d on some questionable calls….” and you are good…3 of the 5 called on Hill were ridiculous.

      1. Of the three offensive fouls the first was horrible call but the last two spot on. He was out of control. Everyone has a bad day at the office.

    2. Yep, arm bar to the guy’s midsection and pushed off. Nothing questionable about that especially with how tight they were calling everything else.

      1. Actually, it was quite the acting job. Ref was fooled by the um player flailing. Very little contact was made and it is usually not called.

    3. Seth’s push off foul, in perhaps years past, would have lost us the game for sure. A turnover at such a crucial time would have meant the other team went down and nailed the shot and we lose. This team seems to have something different going on and I like it! Still shaking my head why he would do something so blatant at that juncture but Seth’s decision making on some of these under 1 minute possessions has been circumspect for a while. Fantastic win by the team and I can’t wait for the ACC conf season to begin.

    4. I agree with CC: highly questionable. Seth didn’t create the defender’s comical backward semi-flop with his arm action. If you want to say that Seth gave the ref an opportunity to be conned by the defender by sticking his arm out that’s fine, but it doesn’t make it a legitimate offensive foul.

  9. Rebounding will be tough for these guys and need to have a presence on the boards to be effective.

  10. My son and I were one of the 50 to 75 loyalists at the game. I watched Buzz and how he reacted to the ebbs and flows. He displayed none of those Jim Harbaugh theatrics on the sidelines. Calm, cool and collected and I think his players feed off that. The game was like watching a boxer that has a knock out punch. On the ropes taking a beating the entire fight and then out of nowhere the lightning right hook and you put the other team on the mat. The end result was like watching lightning in a bottle. We stole one and I think every one of our fans in the arena gleefully knew but, hey, we will take it. Fans in maroon and orange were high fiving each other as we left the arena. A truly entertaining game. As a co worker who is a Michigan fan told me during half time, our team is very athletic and it showed by this comeback.

  11. Buzz has this team and VT going in the right direction. It’s great to BB being played again at this level at VT, been awhile.

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