Virginia Tech dealt with some late drama, but rallied to defeat Boston College 85-80 in overtime in the Conte Forum on Wednesday night. The Hokies won their third game in a row, improving to 16-6 overall and 5-4 in the ACC in the process. The Eagles dropped to 13-9 overall and 3-6 in conference play.
Tech did not trail in the second half, and in fact led by as many as 12 points when Justin Robinson drove the lane for a layup to make the score 62-50 with 8:05 remaining. The Hokies had previously wrestled control of the game away from Boston College late in the first half to take a 34-29 lead into halftime, and all VT fans were feeling confident at this stage of the game.
But things got tough down the stretch. On Saturday night against Notre Dame, Chris Clarke made huge plays down the stretch to cement a Virginia Tech victory. On Wednesday night, his error with 1:02 remaining in regulation nearly cost the Hokies the game. With 1:02 left to play, Justin Robinson was called for a foul on a Jerome Robinson three-point attempt with Virginia Tech up 71-64. Clarke doubled down on the foul by getting whistled for his own technical foul, and the result was BC’s Jerome Robinson making five consecutive free throws to take the score from 71-64 to 71-69 with no time coming off the clock.
BC’s Robinson then made two more free throws with 22 seconds remaining, and both teams missed late shots that would have won the game. This one was heading to overtime, and Chris Clarke went to the bench for the final five minutes to brood on his mistake.
Boston College took the lead early in overtime, going up 77-76 with 3:13 remaining. However, Virginia Tech took control down the stretch, outscoring the Eagles 9-3 to walk away 80-75 winners. Back-to-back-to-back three-pointers from Justin Bibbs and Nickeil Alexander-Walker transformed a 77-76 Boston College lead to an 82-79 Virginia Tech lead, with a dunk by BC’s Nik Popovic accounting for the Eagles’ two points. Kerry Blackshear hit a layup with 1:22 remaining to make the score 84-79, all but sealing the deal for the Hokies.
Justin Robinson had three assists during the overtime period, and he finished the game with 10 points, 12 assists, two steals and just one turnover. The 12 assists tied a team record set by Bimbo Coles in 1987 against Missouri. It was Robinson’s third consecutive game with one or fewer turnovers, and it was perfect timing for such as a performance, as TechSideline.com just published a TSL Pass article on Wednesday that illustrated just how important Robinson is to Tech’s team from an advanced stats standpoint. Here are the numbers from Robinson’s last three games…
UNC: 19 points, 4 assists, 1 turnover
at Notre Dame: 12 points, 7 assists, 0 turnovers
at Boston College: 10 points, 12 assists, 1 turnover
Totals: 41 points, 23 assists, 2 turnovers
Robinson has never had a three-game stretch like that in his career during ACC play, and his performances have helped lift the Hokies from being 13-6 overall and 2-4 in the ACC to 16-6 and 5-4.
Of course, Robinson wasn’t the only player to make a big impact against Boston College. Kerry Blackshear led the team in points (20) and also finished with eight rebounds, while Justin Bibbs and Nickeil-Alexander-Walker had 18 points each. Both Bibbs and Alexander-Walker were 7-of-14 from the field. Bibbs was 4-of-7 from three-point range, while Alexander-Walker was 4-of-8. Despite his late mistake, Chris Clarke contributed with six points, a team-high nine rebounds and four assists.
As a team, the Hokies had 19 assists on 30 made field goals, and turned the ball over only 10 times. Meanwhile, BC had 16 turnovers, and those six extra possessions for Virginia Tech were critical to the outcome of the game.
After winning three straight games, including two consecutive road games, Virginia Tech will return to Cassell Coliseum for a pair of home games against Miami and NC State. First up is Miami. The Hurricanes will face the Hokies in Blacksburg this Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2pm, and the game will be televised nationally by ESPN. Virginia Tech has already announced that the game is a sellout.