No. 3 Goes Down Again; Virginia Tech Beats Villanova in Overtime, 81-73

Keve Aluma Virginia Tech
Keve Aluma led Virginia Tech with a career-high 23 points in Virginia Tech’s 81-73 overtime win over No. 3 Villanova (Virginia Tech Athletics)

UNCASVILLE, CT — In an overtime thriller from Bubbleville, Virginia Tech upset No. 3 Villanova, 81-73, as the Hokies beat a top-three team for the fourth time in their last six attempts.

“Needless to say, we’re happy with our team and their toughness,” Head Coach Mike Young said. “We came in here with a plan, but it’s up to them to believe and fight and hang in there.”

It seemed like Virginia Tech had the game won after Keve Aluma made a layup with a foul to give the Hokies a 63-62 lead with 1.3 seconds left. After a Villanova timeout, Aluma stepped to the charity stripe with the intent of missing the free throw and forcing the Wildcats to try a full-court heave at the buzzer. However, he banked the shot off of the backboard and in, extending the lead to two.

“I made the basket and then, they called the timeout and the coaches told me to miss it. I tried to put more on it, and I put a lot on it,” Aluma said. “It was probably the perfect bank. It wasn’t even close to hitting the back rim.”

Villanova took the ball underneath and the Wildcats’ Eric Dixon ran the baseline with Tech’s Justyn Mutts shadowing him. Villanova’s Justin Moore set up under the basket and Mutts hit him as he tried to keep up with Dixon. The official raised his fist and called a foul on Moore. The Hokies were going to be getting the ball with 1.3 seconds left, up by two.

Inexplicably, after a brief official review, Moore ended up on the free throw line as Mutts was charged with the foul. Moore drained both shots at the line, tying the game at 64 and sending it to overtime.

Mike Young Virginia Tech
Mike Young was confounded by a call that was reversed late, sending the game into overtime (Johnnie Izquierdo / Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame)

“It infuriated me. Lee Cassell is a good official and he came over to me and said, ‘Mike, my partner is a good official who is giving me information. I got tangled up and I got it wrong,’” Young said. “I think, rightfully so, I had a little bit of an outburst. He called it on five, white.”

After the stunning change by the officials, Tech went from the high of beating the third-ranked team in the nation to having to regroup for another five minutes.

“You’re down in the dumps and your shoulders are droopy. You had the game won and now, you have to go to overtime and play five more minutes,” Young said. “Right back they come with some really nice possessions offensively. I thought we guarded so well defensively throughout and we did it again in the five-minute overtime period. We found a way to win.”

In overtime, the Hokies were able to bounce back from the shock and outplay the Wildcats. Delaware transfer Justyn Mutts scored the first five points, including his second three-pointer of the game. Mutts shot just 2-of-18 from outside the entire last season at Delaware.

With just under a minute left in the extra period, Villanova’s Caleb Daniels drained a three from the right wing to make it a two-point game. However, just like in regulation, Aluma was able to convert a clutch and-one to extend the lead back to five. The former Wofford Terrier had a career-high 23 points in his second game with the Hokies.

“Aluma has come a long way. I was kidding with him. I’m not sure he scored 23 points in the first half of his freshman year for me before,” Young said. “He’s a great person and he’s worked his tail off with a great body and big hands. He just had a really good game for us as did several others.”

The Hokies sealed the game by making 10 of 13 free throws in the extra period. This was more impressive considering both of Tech’s point guards, Wabissa Bede and Cartier Diarra, fouled out, in regulation and overtime, respectively.

Sophomore Hunter Cattoor moved to the point and was able to hit both of his free throws as the primary ball-handler.

“You better always have two-and-a-half point guards and Hunter Cattoor can slide back there. He got those foul shots down and he knows exactly what we want to run in those instances,” Young said. “We had two point guards fouled out, he stepped up to the plate and did his job. I’m proud of him.”

Just getting to overtime was not an easy task for Tech considering its performance early in the second half. The game was tied at 29 after the first half, but Villanova made adjustments and extended its lead out to 12 with under nine minutes left in the game.

In order to complete the comeback, the Hokies’ performance in the paint was crucial. Tech outrebounded the Wildcats by nine in the game and outscored them in the paint by ten.

Tyrece Radford Virginia Tech
Tyrece Radford pulled down 13 rebounds. (Johnnie Izquierdo / Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame)

“I’m not sure we ever outrebounded anyone and I’m not sure we ever outscored someone, certainly not in the ACC, in the paint. That’s what I’m comfortable with and that’s how I’ve always wanted to play,” Young said. “All of these numbers that people talk about, give me a two-foot post-up in the paint, catch and score any day of the week.”

After establishing their game down low, Tech kicked the ball to the perimeter and hit some crucial shots on the outside down the stretch.

“It definitely opens up,” sophomore Nahiem Alleyne said. “If my defender crashes down to Keve, it’s going to lead to open shots like it did tonight.”

Alleyne hit a huge deep-ball at the four-minute mark of the second half to cut the Wildcats’ lead to two. The sophomore scored in double-digits for the second consecutive game, with 20, and was four of six from beyond the arc.

Now, the Hokies have to make a quick turnaround as they prepare for their second game at the Mohegan Sun. Tech will face South Florida at 8 o’clock on Sunday night (ESPN2) before returning home to Blacksburg. They hope to complete an undefeated trip to Connecticut with a win over the Bulls.

“We’re not changing anything. We’re going to play tomorrow, hopefully the same way we played today. It’s just good basketball with kids that share and take good shots,” Young said. “I thought we took very few bad shots. We did take a couple. I think maybe we expect that in game two.”

Box Score

33 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. At first it looked like a block/charge call, but it was actually tripping on the Villanova player. Villanova player established position, but not in Mutt’s path. Villanova player’s right foot & Mutt’s foot made initial contact which caused Mutt’s to fall into Villanova player. Tough call in real time, but turned out Ok.

  2. “Tech outrebounded the Wildcats by nine in the game and outscored them in the paint by ten”

    If this is Coach Young style, I love it. This never happened in Buzz era

  3. I had little faith that those refs would allow us to leave with a win. They gave it their best to push down hard on the scale.

    They gave Gillespie fouls all night long on minimal to zero contact (fouling both of our PGs out) while his standard MO is dribble with one hand and either slap or push with the other. His physical style would not play well in the ACC. He’s a great off balance shooter but he gets way too much advantage from the refs.

  4. I thought there was absolutely no way we would win after it went to OT. An amazing effort from our guys and the future looks bright with MY. Go Hokies!!

    1. I don’t think so, we really only ran a 7 man rotation almost all of the game with Bamisille and Pemsl getting very few minutes. Radford played 44 minutes and Aluma and Mutts each played 39. When we have our full roster we are deep but we’re a little short right now and it seems coach isn’t ready to put in Mattox or N’Guessan. Will be nice to have Cone & Ojiako back!

    1. Cone, and Ojiako, have some sort of (I think) mild injury keeping them sidelined for a few games.

    2. Cone nursing a foot injury and Ojiako with knee issue. Don’t think either is real serious as I thought I read last week CMY saying Cone wouldn’t play in 1st 2 games.

  5. Whether we won or lost last night, I was very impressed with the team I saw. Great composure and teamwork.

  6. Very impressed with the coaching and tenacity I saw. Still very impressed with Bede’s shooting performance. Wonder why Catoor didn’t play much in the second half. Maybe poor guarding of Gillespie? Great win!

  7. Great article Jake

    Loved reading about the win and dominance in the paint. Hard to remember when we outrebounded anyone.

    Great time to wake up and find some good news

  8. Para Six should read following a brief officials conference, there wasn’t a video review. The official under the basket called a foul on the Hokies, but signaled in ball possession in the wrong direction.

    The debate on whether a charge or block was a correct call is a completely different issue.

    1. Jake didn’t say TV review. They met and changed their story. And the guy who called it didn’t say anything to CMY he just played like he never called it. He didn’t hesitate on his original call. He thought he saw upper body movement. Bang-bang. But, you can’t let cool Jay Wright lose on an official’s call. The Coach K of Philly. If they met every time there was a block/charge call in the game, you’d call it football. Gillespie was getting separation with his shoulder all night long and Bede was getting hand check fouls.

      1. Just to be clear… when there has been an issue or mistake made with signals, as in this case,.. the Crew Chief goes and explains the situation to the coach.. Not the official that making the mistake, that only adds gas to the fire. I’d be willing to bet before the end of the nite, the official that made the mistake, said something directly to MY.. .

      2. N2VT2. Definitely agree there were some questionable goings-on with the change on the call, but please do not put Jay Wright in the same category as Coach K!

    2. Personaly, I think it was the correct call. The Villanova player had established position. Mutts didn’t see him and barreled into him. It was a smart play by them.

      1. First thing I thought as well when I saw it happen and they blew the whistle. I was pretty sure it was on us, but was then amazed when it wasn’t.

        However, the one thing I’ll still go “Conspiracy Theory” on is….if it was just the official signaling the wrong way, an honest mistake, how the hell did it take THAT long…and Jay Wright arguing it…for them to realize “oh darn, I signaled it on the wrong guy.”

      2. leaned into our guy. When you screen from the blind side like that you better not shrug your shoulder or lean into the player…which was done. By leaning he took away the defenders only path of escape which was to step out of bounds.

        1. He also subtly widened his stance by sliding his right foot toward the baseline thereby slightly obstructing Mutts’ path.

      3. What I don’t understand is why this is a foul at all.
        When an offensive player sets a screen, it’s not a foul for the the defensive player to run into him. That’s the whole point of the screen. If the screener gets knocked down, I’ve never seen a foul called, play continues

        is there something different in the rules for inbounds plays?

  9. Love me some MY !! Knew Whit had a Keeper when he hired him. Old Bobcat that loved VT since he was a youngman. Makes even better..He’s a Hokie before He became the Coach here.

  10. It has been a LONG LONG time since VT put a team on the floor that can establish a presence in the paint and defend. rebound and score inside. Add some decent depth all over the court and we’ve got the makings of a very competitive ACC team, and things should be getting even better if CMY had can recruit the kind of kids with the type of talent he is looking for. I hope no one gets TOO far ahead of themselves with expectations this year cause the ACC schedule is so tough, but it is so nice to see a team that pulls together under a leader/coach whose optimism and personality sync up so well to his obvious on-floor coaching skill. Looking forward to VT basketball again. Kudos to all the players and ALL the coaching staff, etc.for a job well done.

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