Virginia Tech trailed by double digits in the second half, but found a way to win, defeating UNC 79-77 in double overtime in Cassell Coliseum on Wednesday night. The Hokies improved to 14-5 overall and 5-3 in the ACC with the win, while the Tar Heels dropped to 8-10 overall and 1-6 in league play.
Tech trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half, 49-37, when UNC’s Justin Pierce hit a three-pointer with 13:18 left in the game. At that point the Tar Heels seemed to have complete control, and their huge size advantage on the inside was making things very difficult for the Hokies on both ends of the court.
However, as they’ve been prone to doing recently, the Hokies dug in and mounted a comeback. PJ Horne tied the game at 60 with a pair of free throws with 13 seconds left, and Tech had to withstand a final UNC possession. The Tar Heels got the ball into the paint to forward Garrison Brooks – who had 28 points, 13 rebounds and six assists – but his shot was too strong, and the game went to overtime.
UNC jumped out to a 65-60 lead less than a minute into overtime, but again the Hokies fought back. First Jalen Cone drained a three-pointer, and then one free throw each from Landers Nolley and PJ Horne tied the game at 65. After the Tar Heels went back up 67-65, it was Nolley who tied the game with an inside shot with 27 seconds remaining. Again the Hokies had to withstand a final UNC possession, and again they forced a miss at the buzzer, this time by Leaky Black.
It was more of the same in the second overtime period, with UNC leading by as many as three points, 73-70, with 3:02 remaining. However, after two free throws by Landers Nolley and a three-pointer from Nahiem Alleyne, Tech held a 75-73 lead. It was short-lived however, as UNC answered with a bucket to tie the game at 75. Nolley came right back with another shot, which was answered in turn by Brooks with nine seconds remaining to tie it at 77.
Mike Young did not call a timeout on Tech’s final possession. Nolley dribbled towards the corner, where he handed it off to a cutting Tyrece Radford, who was scoreless up to that point. Radford drove the lane against man defense, and no UNC defender closed down to help. With the aid of a friendly rim, Radford got the shot to fall with 0.4 seconds remaining, and then intercepted UNC’s desperation heave on the inbounds play to give the Hokies the win.
“Landers made exactly the right play,” Young said. “Unlike Saturday [vs. Syracuse], he knows it and I know it. He didn’t make the right play. He’s a great player and he learned from his mistake. He drove it as far as he could drive it, gave the ball to Tyrece Radford and he got it into his left hand and got all the way to the rim. He got it home for a nice win.”
The Hokies were led by Nolley with 22 points. Though he was only 5-of-17 from the field, he was 10-of-11 from the free throw line, and hit a couple of key shots with the game on the line. He also led the team with seven rebounds. Jalen Cone added 18 points, going 6-of-11 from three-point range, and he matched Nolley with seven rebounds. Nahiem Alleyne added 11 points off the bench, while Wabissa Bede contributed with eight assists.
North Carolina came into the game No. 14 nationally in offensive rebound efficiency, but the Hokies held them to just six offensive rebounds and only two second chance points. Tech outscored the Heels 10-2 in second chance points despite being the much smaller team.
“It definitely feels great to have one go our way, especially when we’re about to have two road games,” Jalen Cone said. “We’re just going to keep this momentum and stay together as a team. Our team just loves to fight.”
Virginia Tech returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Boston College. Tipoff is scheduled for 2pm, and the game will be televised by ESPNU.
Game Notes From Virginia Tech
Records and Notables
● Virginia Tech moves to 14-5 overall and 5-3 in ACC play.
● This marks Tech’s second straight win over North Carolina inside Cassell Coliseum and Carolina’s first time losing six straight ACC games in program history.
● Mike Young is now 2-2 against North Carolina and Roy Williams.
● The outing marks the first double-overtime win for the Hokies since it defeated Virginia 80-78 in Cassell Coliseum in the 2016-17 season. It also was Tech’s first overtime game this season and the first since the 2019 ACC Tournament versus Florida State.
● This is the second all-time double-overtime game between North Carolina and Tech, with the first time being a 90-88 victory for the Hokies in 1964.
● North Carolina leads the all-time series over Tech 68-15 including. The last time in Cassell before tonight, the Hokies defeated UNC 80-69.
● UP NEXT: Tech will travel to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts for a road contest with Boston College on Saturday at 2 p.m. ET inside Conte Forum.
● Virginia Tech started a lineup of Wabissa Bede, Tyrece Radford, Landers Nolley, P.J. Horne and Jalen Cone, marking Cone’s second start of the season and the second straight game Tech went with this group.
● The Hokies outscored UNC in fastbreak points 9-0 and in second-chance points 10-2.
● Virginia Tech’s bench outscored the Tar Heels bench 23-6. This marks game No. 11 this season that Tech’s bench scored 20 or more points.
● Tech’s 14 3-pointers tied its third most 3s of the season.
● KEY FIRST HALF RUN: With just 13 minutes to go in half one, Tech was off to a strong start, following a triple from redshirt freshman Landers Nolley II and a slam dunk from sophomore Isaiah Wilkins to give the Hokies a 15-12 lead. With just over five minutes left in the half, the Tar Heels went on a 9-0 run giving it a 31-24. UNC controlled the rest of the half and went into the break leading 36-30.
● KEY SECOND HALF RUN: With 12:59 remaining in the game, freshman Hunter Cattoor drilled a 3-pointer, which would spark an 8-0 run to cut into the deficit and make the score, 49-45, Tar Heels. Trailing by seven with just under four minutes to go in the game, Jalen Cone nailed consecutive triples to bring Tech within one.
● OVERTIME Jalen Cone got Tech started off in extra time with a 3-pointer from the corner. With 27 second left in overtime, Nolley finished in the paint to tie it at 67-67. UNC missed yet another last second shot and the contest entered a second overtime.
● DOUBLE OVERTIME: Junior Wabissa Bede hit from downtown to open scoring for the Hokies in the second extra time. With 23 seconds left in the game Nolley finished a reverse layup giving Tech a 77-75 advantage. Radford hit a shot in the paint with one second left to give Tech the lead and the 79-77 win.
● Landers Nolley scored 22 points, marking his 17th game reaching double figures and seventh straight double figures scoring game. Nolley led Tech in scoring for the 12th time this season and reached his seventh 20-point or more outing.
● Jalen Cone hit a career-high six 3-pointers and scored in double figures for the fifth straight game. Cone also recorded career highs in rebounds with seven and blocks with one.
● Nahiem Alleyne scored 11 points against UNC which is his third straight game scoring in double digits. Alleyne also hit three triples and now has eight 3s over his last two contests.
● Bede dished out eight assists and had only one turnover. Bede has 120 assists and 30 turnovers on the season and owns one of the best assist-turnover ratios in the country.