Virginia Tech Outlasts UNC In Double Overtime

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Virginia Tech
Tyrece Radford was the hero for Virginia Tech against North Carolina. (Ivan Morozov)

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.

Box Score

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.

Team Notes

● 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.

Individual Notes

 ● 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. 

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37 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. It’s such a pleasure to go see this young team play. I am also proud to say Coach Mike Young is both a fine coach and gentleman. I’m glad he is a Hokie, and kudos to AD Whit Babcock for hiring him. Let’s Go Hokies!

  2. Glad Bede stayed. Just wish he’d drive to the hole more, develop a teardrop shot. His handle is good enough, needs to start finishing.

    1. Yes, on a lot of his drives it’s just he and the rim. If he could learn to close he’d be all-ACC with his defense on top of it.

  3. Cracked up in the highlights of the UNC alley oop on the in bounds play. Jalen Cone got switched to the 7-footer and the announcer said, “what are you doing Jalen, I know you’re bouncy, but just get out of the way!”

  4. Great Hustle and Will-power win. Also, a talent win – ball-handling, team play, and shooting the 3 ball.

    Brooks is a player – like to see him in the portal to VT!

    Cutesy [and incorrect] use of “prone”. Not a good adjective for this “willful” and hard-working team!


    adjective 1.likely to or liable to suffer from, do, or experience something, typically something regrettable or unwelcome.

  5. The best thing I love about the whole situation is if we are successful and build a really good Bball program he’s not going to leave……………..we need to find the same type of dedicated coach that wants to be here for the long term when CJF plays us again and leaves……..which he ultimately will.

    CJF could work just as hard with the administration in being the coach that builds the program and facilities to new heights where it can compete with upper tier programs, not just go to a place that he thinks already has it. We all know the administration is not going to shut him down and not work with him on making improvements.
    But he has to start winning and do something special for once (God forbid beat a top 5 team!) and watch the money start flowing in. Beamer got the upgrades he needed when he started winning, not before. U can say times have changed since then but it just doesn’t work like that. You just need the right person who’s only aspiration isn’t to move on to the next bigger and better thing.

    1. Yeah, he’s on a 12-6 team right now that will have to hustle a little to make the NCAAs. Love him but I like the team we have.

  6. Hmmmm Coach MY doing a heroic job cooking up W’s with very little in the pantry at the start of the season. Does anyone doubt his abilities now? The kids are playing hard and have that never die attitude – this is one of the most fun teams for VT b-ball! GO HOKIES!

    1. I especially like watching this team because I have no real expectations other than seeing them play hard. They deliver on that.

  7. Things they don’t keep statistics for: a coupon for free bacon if the opposition misses two free throws in a row. Well, UNC did just that and the crowd went ballistic and dare I say with a bucket after that that there was a constant high energy buzz for the rest of the game and the two overtimes. The crowd was already pretty good but that just shifted into a higher gear.

  8. Incredible resiliency. Darn…I wish Blackshear would have stayed…that would have filled a huge hole and brought us to another level. I wonder if he didn’t realize how good this team is and regrets not coming back?

    1. yeah, Blackshear, Blackshear Blackshear. especially this game with the squirrels versus the Oak Trees, KBJr might have made this more than a little bit easier. Sure, little point dwelling on the past, but this was the game we really needed him. How’s he doing at Florida? Oh, pretty good, pretty efficient, but nothing he couldn’t have done here.

      1. Except he is close to parents (as I understand)…
        Tthat means something for some kids…and I get it.
        You never know how long they will be around…

    2. No hate here for KBJ but he chose to move on. As a result, so did I.

      It would be interesting, though, if TSL or some media entity were able to interview him later in the season and ask how he feels in hindsight about the move and about this years VT squad.

      1. Yeah, problem is he wouldn’t quite understand where you’re coming from, that is asking for a very dispassionate review of his choice.

  9. Wow, what a ride! Bede missed some easy shots (and a key FT) BUT he had the courage to take a BIG 3 late and he hit it. And he had his usual assortment of other great moments. Kudos to him.

    It seems like the weakest part of Nolley’s game is now his 3-point shooting. He does everything else well. I wonder if we should use him more in the post or in the middle spot against the zone. He’s very good at passing from the post and drawing fouls and very hard to guard down low without help. And he makes good decisions about shooting vs. passing when he is inside.

    Anyway, a big win and crucial to keeping our NCAA hopes alive. We’ve 12 games left and only 3 are against teams above us in the standings. If we lose those 3 can we go 7-2 in the rest? It’s possible and might be what it takes. What a season this has turned out to be.

    1. Wouldn’t say Nolley “does everything else well” his defense and especially ball handing (lots of TOs) are both ares that could use major improvement.

    2. Watched Bede during warm-up, hitting some deep threes – like five feet behind the line – in practice and with a pretty stroke too, so yeah, every sport has its warm-up champions but Bede can hit those shots just whatever ails him, rushing it, whatever, also maybe an old school high off the glass for those layups? Those UNC guys were tall though.

      1. Interesting posts on Bebe. Got to admire the guy – works hard. I wonder if in a game that we are way up or way down, you don’t tell Bebe to shoot every time. See if he can find his shooting game. What an addition that would be.

        1. Not a bad idea. I am sure he has the green light as
          MY has done with most of the players but telling him to shoot Instead of making it his choice may be what he needs.

    3. I know coach has told him we need him to score but I think once ACC play really kicked into high gear, he’s forcing it a bit more (a la Cuse game). He’s young. He’ll learn from those mistakes and he showed that last night. I think everyone shoots it better when they catch and shoot and he’s no different.

      I’m really excited for Jalen. VT has never really had an ice water in his veins kind of shooter the likes of Redick or Kyle Guy where you just hate chasing him around the court because he can get his shot off with the slightest bit of space. He may turn into that player for us. Outlaw could shoot it but he was passive. Vassallo…Bibbs could too but Cone is on another level.

    4. Nolley is in a bit of a slump from 3 but he is still shooting 37% on the season with over 50 made 3’s it’s a major factor in his game. I think if he starts being more selective about when he hoists up a 3 his percentage will go back up.

      What I liked about this game was our efforts to get him the ball on the post in the 2nd half & OT and give him space to work into the lane or to the baseline. Getting him the ball in good scoring position is critical.. he can’t be expected to hit contested 3’s constantly. Those post-ups were generally successful and while he missed a few jump shots from that set but he also started head faking and then driving on the defender. He’s starting to show the ability to post guards up and power over them for layups (even 6’8″ guards like Leaky Black) and the quickness to beat Forwards to the rim (like Brooks) while finishing (reverse layups to avoid blocks from behind). The next phase of this action is learning to hit the open guy behind the arc as teams start dialing up more help defense on these plays.

      1. I agree with you that Nolley’s post up/driving game appears to be improving. That is really good for Nolley and the team, it will help win games if we can establish him as a threat posting up and going to the rim and finishing against smaller players, particularly when he’s not making 3s. I’d like to see some of the 3s he’s taking now get distributed to some of our other 3 point shooters (particularly Cone who is our most consistent shooter) or become more post up opportunities for Nolley. Overall I believe that would help bring the team shooting percentage and offensive efficiency up.

  10. Need to edit this:
    ● 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.

    1. We just cut and paste that stuff from what VT sends us. No idea what they left out there, maybe “including tonight’s result”?

  11. Lots of credit to the fans who packed Cassell. Looked like a great atmosphere on TV, especially when Enter Sandman played in double OT. This team just won’t quit. There isn’t a spoiled one in the bunch and everyone contributes. MY makes great in game adjustments & does a great job motivating such a young squad. Can’t wait to see how we look a month from now.

    1. Agree with all of that! I was amazed at how rowdy the crowd remained, even when things looked bleak and key shots kept being missed. Kudos to every Hokie — coach, player and fan — at the Cassell.

      1. Loved hearing the crowd singing Enter Sandman. You could hear every word on the television coverage!

    2. Student section were in there seats, locked and loaded and yeah kept it up all night. I usually cringe when Sandman plays late in a game, eg the BC game against Matty Ice long ago, but this time it felt really right and built energy.

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