Virginia Tech jumped out to an 18-point lead against Boston College, then saw their lead cut to just one point in the second half, but ultimately played strong down the stretch and beat the Eagles 85-79 in Cassell Coliseum on Sunday night. The Hokies improved to 16-5 on the season, and they are now 5-4 in the ACC. BC dropped to 9-13 and 2-7. The victory also gave Buzz Williams the 200th win of his coaching career.
If you like three-point shooting, this was the game for you. The Hokies were 12-of-18 (66.7%) from behind the arc, while Boston College was 12-of-29 (41.4%). BC reserve guard Jordan Chatman, who has not started a game all year, lit up the Hokies for 31 points. He was 10-of-12 from the field and 9-of-11 from three-point range. He made his first nine three-point attempts.
Chatman played so much because BC’s leading scorer, Jerome Robinson (20ppg), played just six minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. That turned out to be a blessing for the Eagles, as Chatman went on a scoring tear. He came into the game a 39% three-point shooter. After tonight’s game, he’s made 40 three-pointers on the season, and nearly 25% of them came against the Hokies.
“He was just finding the open spots in our zone,” Justin Bibbs said. “He was sneaky. Every time they drove, he would find an open spot.”
Tech, who played mostly zone defense in the first half, was able to withstand that type of shooting night because they played terrific offensively in their own right. Besides knocking down two-thirds of their three-point attempts, Tech also made 59.1% of their field goals and were 21-of-30 (70%) from the free throw line. The Hokies made more free throws (21) than Boston College attempted (19), which is always one of Buzz Williams’ goals.
Seth Allen continued his streak of great play on the offensive end. The senior guard finished with a team-high 18 points, a team-high six rebounds, and a team-high four assists. He was 5-of-7 from the field, 2-of-4 from three-point range, and 6-of-8 from the free throw line. Allen came into the game as one of the nation’s most efficient offensive players this season.
Allen credited his teammates for his improvement, but also noted that he’s a better decision maker this year.
“Shot selection,” Allen said after the game. “I’ve just been taking better shots, and just trying to get to the paint and make a good play for the team.”
Although the team didn’t necessarily play well for all 40 minutes, Buzz Williams was quick to note that Tech’s overall record is very good.
“I’m thankful,” Williams said. “16-5, 5-4, I’m encouraged. But I also understand what’s coming in the month of February.”
What Williams means is that the Hokies still have to play two games against UVA, two games against Miami, as well as take a road trip to Louisville. Not to mention other games against Boston College (road), Clemson (home), Pitt (road) and Wake Forest (home). There are no days off in the ACC.
Nevertheless, the Hokies find themselves in a solid position as they head into the second half of the ACC schedule. The team is #39 in the RPI, and they currently sit in a tie for sixth place in the ACC standings with two teams they have beaten head-to-head: Syracuse and Georgia Tech. Furthermore, they are just one game out of third place in the ACC standings, and 1.5 games out of second place.
“I was just telling our guys this, not trying to be a prophet in any sort of sense, I think this year it will go down as this is the best league, in one single year, in the history of college basketball,” Buzz Williams said of the ACC following Sunday’s game.
Virginia Tech returns to action on Wednesday night when they go on the road to face #12 UVA. Tipoff is scheduled for 8pm, and the game will the televised by The ACC Network. Check your local listings.
The Hokies used the same starting line-up as the last two games, both on the road.
Seth Allen scored 18 points. That is the 14th game of the season in double figures and the sixth consecutive. He also had six rebounds, leading the team and tying his ACC-best for rebounds in a game.
Justin Bibbs also scored 18 points. It is his eight game of the season in double figures. The 18 points ties his season-high in points, set on Dec. 31 against Duke. Bibbs made 4-of-5 from three-point range, also tying his ACC-best.
Zach LeDay scored 17 points. He has now scored in double figures in 20 of the team’s 21 games and 16 consecutive games.
Ahmed Hill scored 10 points, his 15th double figure game of the season.
The Hokies shot 63.6 percent in the first half, their second-highest percentage in a half this season and the best in an ACC game this season. Tech shot 60.9 percent in the second half at Clemson last Sunday night.
The Hokies’ 72.7 percent from three-point territory in the first half is their highest percentage of the season in ACC play and the second-highest overall. Tech shot 75.0 percent in the second half against The Citadel.
The Hokies’ 59.1 percent from the field in the game is the team’s third-best of the season and best in ACC play.
The 66.7 percent from three-point territory is a season-high. It is the highest percentage in a game since Tech shot 66.7 percent in a win over Morgan State on Nov. 30, 2014. It ties the school’s record for three-point percentage in an ACC game. Tech shot 66.7 percent in 76-62 win at Wake Forest on Feb. 22, 2011.
Boston College’s Jordan Chatman made nine three-pointers. That is a new Virginia Tech opponent record.