Virginia Tech basketball entered Saturday’s contest against Boston College desperate for a win after losing four straight games. Instead, the losing streak was extended to five straight after the Eagles (12-12, 6-7 ACC) upended the Hokies (14-10, 5-8 ACC) 77-73 in overtime.
“We just have to hang in there,” head coach Mike Young said. “It’s college basketball. The sky isn’t falling. We’re going to be OK. We’re going to come back on Monday and practice and we’re going to get better. My team fought. My team competed like crazy. Boston College was just a little bit better than we were.”
Young and Co. started hot offensively and jumped out to an early 22-10 lead with 11:38 in the first half. However, Jim Christian made the adjustment and switched to a 2-3 zone that stifled the Hokies’ offense.
Late in the first half, Virginia Tech went 5:02 without a point.
“We weren’t really expecting them to play zone,” said Nahiem Alleyne, who finished with 16 points. “We just needed to move the ball around. We kept sticking the ball in our hands a few times. We had empty possessions.”
Still, the Hokies led 38-33 at the half. Boston College came out strong in the second half and took its biggest lead of the game, 51-45, when Jay Heath nailed a 3-pointer with 11:45.
From that point on Lander Nolley exploded offensively, attempting to will Virginia Tech to a victory. His 3-pointer with 3:12 left tied the game at 62 apiece before the Eagles collected the next four points.
It was Alleyne who made the big plays to force overtime, including a layup with 40 seconds left and two clutch foul shots to tie the game with 4.4 seconds remaining.
“It felt great,” Alleyne said. “The crowd got into it. I thought we were just going to blow the doors off [going into overtime].”
In overtime, Wabissa Bede sank a three and Nolley brought the crowd to its feet with a 3-pointer of his own to give Virginia Tech the 73-70 lead with 2:02 left in the period. From that point forward, Boston College scored the next seven points en route to the win and the Hokies went 0-for-3 from three. The Eagles were 9-of-10 from the foul line in overtime.
Tied 73-73, Hunter Cattoor missed a quality look from the top of the key. Steffon Mitchell converted a tough bucket down low with 10 seconds left. He finished with 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting along with 15 rebounds. Mitchell came into the game averaging 6.7 points and 8.5 rebounds.
Wabissa Bede rushed down the court and handed it off to Nolley who was trailing behind. Nolley launched the deep three that landed off the front rim, and Mitchell clinched the win with two more free-throws.
“I felt like it may have been rushed, it may have been a good shot,” Nolley said. “I hit the one right before on the left wing, so it was just a tough miss and a tough loss.”
“The kid had a great day,” Young said. “He made a couple from distance, but he didn’t get that one home. I don’t fault my team for that.”
It was a productive day for Nolley otherwise, finishing with 29 points on 12-for-22 (54.5 percent) shooting (3-for-7 on threes) with 11 rebounds. Over the previous four losses, Nolley had been slumping, shooting 22-of-62 (35.5 percent) and 5-of-26 (19.2 percent) from three. Saturday’s performance should be encouraging moving forward.
“I just have to build on it and be an everyday guy,” Nolley said. “Just go into practice on Monday with the same attitude. Stay aggressive doing what I do and just helping my team get a win.”
The Hokies have no mid-week tilt this week, but will return to Cassell Coliseum next Saturday against Pittsburgh in an attempt to snap the skid. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.
Game Notes From Virginia Tech
Records and Notables
- Virginia Tech falls to 14-10 on the season and Boston College improves to 12-12. The Hokies have gone 5-8 in conference play this season.
- Boston College now leads the all-time series 20-13.
- Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young falls to 0-2 versus Boston College head coach Jim Christian. This is the first time since the 2015-16 season at Wofford that head coach Mike Young’s has lost five games in a row.
- Attendance was 9,275.
UP NEXT: The Hokies will be back in Cassel Coliseum to take on Pitt on Saturday, Feb. 15. This game will be broadcast on the ACC Network.
- Virginia Tech used the starting lineup of Landers Nolley II, P.J. Horne, Wabissa Bede, Nahiem Alleyne, and Tyrece Radford. It marked the fourth straight game Tech has used this starting lineup, and the Hokies are 10-8 with that starting lineup this season.
- KEY FIRST HALF RUN: The Hokies started the game off with a 20-8 start at the 13-minute mark in the first half. After a display of 3-pointers, Boston College cut the lead down to three with a score of 31-28 with under four minutes left in the first half. Two jumpers and a 3-pointer from Landers Nolley II brought the lead back up to five to end the half 38-33.
- KEY SECOND HALF RUN: The Eagles caught fire with Jay Heath hitting a couple shots after the first media timeout, as Boston College went on a 9-0 run to take a 48-45 lead into the next timeout. The Hokies went on a 6-0 run to re-gain the lead at 57-56 into the next timeout by Boston College at 6:06. Clutch free throws from Nahiem Alleyne sent the Hokies into overtime with the game tied at.
- KEY OVERTIME RUN: The Hokies started overtime play with a three from Wabissa Bede. A three from Landers Nolley put the Hokies up 73-70 with 2:02 left in overtime. Free throws from Stefon Mitchell and Derryck Thornton secured the victory for Boston College, 77-73.
- Tech shot 43.9% for the game (29-for-66), 30.8% from 3-point range (8-for-26), and 63.6% from the free-throw line (7-for-11).
- Tech controlled the paint, outscoring the Eagles 34-22. It marked the Hokies’ most points in the paint since Dec. 6 versus Duke (40 and their second-most paint points this season.
- The Hokies are now 6-2 this season when scoring between 70-79 points.
- With Tech owning a halftime lead of five, it marked their fourth time this season blowing a halftime lead.
- Every loss this season has shown the opposing team with a field goal percentage of 43% or higher.
- The Hokies led for 28 minutes during regulation.
- Nolley once again cracked the 20-point plateau, his 22nd time this season hitting double figures in scoring and his ninth time this season hitting 20-plus points. The redshirt freshman led the team in points with 29, rebounds with 11, and two blocks.
- PJ Horne posted four points, shooting 2 for 3 from the free-throw line. Horne finished the game with four points, four rebounds and one turnover.
- Wabissa Bede hit a 3-pointer and shot 2 for 6 from the field. He finished the game with five points, two rebounds, three assists and a steal. Bede nailed a clutch three in overtime to start the scoring and give Tech a three-point lead.
- Alleyne shot a career-high 16 times, making five field goals, and it was the 11th time this season he has been in double figures scoring. Alleyne finished the game with 16 points, five rebounds and two assists. This is Alleyne’s sixth game this season shooting 100% from the free-throw line.
- Tyrece Radford shot 5 for 11 from the field, having his 10th double figure game of the season. This is Radford’s second time this season leading the team in assists. Radford finished the game with 10 points, four rebounds, four assists, one block and two steals.