Despite magic late in regulation and a hard-fought performance, Virginia Tech’s time in Indianapolis was cut short with a 75-70 overtime loss to Florida in the round of 64.
“Getting here is a significant achievement, but we had a really good team that I thought could have advanced and moved along, but we didn’t today and that’s frustrating,” Head Coach Mike Young said. “We’ll seethe over that for a while, but at some point soon, we’ll turn our attention to what a remarkable team and group of people this was to coach.”
Down by one with less than a minute left in the extra period, the Hokies (15-7) switched Cordell Pemsl onto Florida (15-9) point guard Tre Mann. The Gators’ star stepped back to create space and dropped in a dagger three-pointer to make it a two-possession game and put the contest out of reach.
Tech was in a tough position throughout most of overtime, forcing Pemsl into the game as the Hokies’ only true big. On the first possession of overtime, Florida’s Anthony Duruji drove down the line and put Keve Aluma on a poster, drawing a foul and ending Aluma’s afternoon.
Just ninety seconds later, Colin Castleton spun to the rim for the Gators and drew the fifth foul on Justyn Mutts, ending the tournament early for Tech’s starting frontcourt.
“There are so many things you’re trying to take care of and manage and needless to say, those guys are so critical for us,” Young said. “I typically don’t start guys with four fouls heading into the overtime in an effort to steal a minute or two and get to the stretch. I chose not to, and that was a poor choice on my part.”
The Hokies needed some chaos just to get the game into overtime. After Nahiem Alleyne missed a possible game-tying three-pointer with ten seconds left in regulation, Florida went to the line to seal the game. However, Duruji missed both of his attempts and gave Tech one final shot to tie the game.
Aluma looked to his left as he crossed halfcourt before reversing over to Alleyne in the right frontcourt. The Hokies’ sophomore got another chance to tie the game, and this time he didn’t miss. Alleyne hit the right-wing trey over Mann and tied the game with under two seconds remaining.
It was a huge game from Alleyne overall as he put up 28 points. Down the stretch, he was the only Hokie who could find the bottom of the net, scoring Tech’s final 12 points of regulation.
“They were switching the bigs onto me a lot, so I knew that I had to take advantage,” Alleyne said. “I had to go to the rack, get fouled and keep making plays.”
Alleyne and Radford were the Hokies’ best offensive threats, especially in the second half. Radford scored 18 points on the day on 7-of-15 shooting. After halftime, Alleyne and Radford scored 27 of Tech’s 31 points, including all 18 in the final ten minutes of regulation.
The Hokies’ reliance on their duo on the wings allowed Florida to capture the lead in the second half. Tech spread out the scoring evenly in the first half and led by six at the break. However, the Gators kept chipping at the lead and eventually took over with five minutes left in the game. The Hokies were never able to regain the lead after that point.
“They have really good shooters, and they were also dumping it down to the post, so we had to dig down on them,” Alleyne said. “It was hard to dig and also get out to your man. We had a lot of ticky-tack fouls, too. We just have to do better.”
The offensive struggles for the Hokies began with the offensive woes of Mutts and Aluma. Tech’s starting big men combined for just 13 total points, including a scoreless second half and overtime from Mutts.
Aluma and Mutts also struggled to contain Castleton, who scored a career-high 19 points on the day. Overall, Florida had a phenomenal offensive day, shooting 56.5% from the floor. That clip is the highest the Hokies have allowed all season. Most of the Gators’ success came in the second half and overtime where they shot 14-of-23 from the floor.
“I thought we guarded really well, the pace that we were looking for and everything was in place,” Young said. “We didn’t move to the ball a couple of times, and then one thing led to another. We tried to tweak it a little bit, and they were just a little bit better in that area than we were when it mattered most.”
Florida will move on to face the winner of Ohio State and Oral Roberts in the round of 32 on Sunday afternoon. For the Hokies, they look ahead to next season, the third in the Mike Young era.
The Hokies’ only seniors on the roster are Pemsl and point guard Wabissa Bede. Barring any unforeseen transfers, Tech will be able to return 91% of its scoring for next season. With COVID-19 expected to be less of a factor for next year, a return to the Big Dance next year seems to be more than possible for Virginia Tech.
“We’ll be back next year for sure,” Alleyne said. “I definitely think we could have made a run in the tournament, but this definitely set a fire under all of us. We’re going to be back here for sure.”
25 Responses You are logged in as Test
I’m a VT fan but I think Oral Roberts University would have also beaten us if we had beaten Florida.
I’m worried…I don’t see any top 100 recruits signed for 2021.
This loss hurt; especially after ORU beat OS. Could have been an easier path to the Sweet 16. But, I love the character of this group, and expect next year will be even better. Lick your wounds Hokies, but congrats on a great, yet surreal season.
Calm before the Storm
We lost to a good team and when this happens I can take the loss. Tech needs 5 players that can score and the need for a “big guy” should be the priority with their recruiting. Future looking good IF coach makes the above happen and don’t forget Cone was out with injuries. Go Hokies!!!!
Congratulations to the team, staff and Coach for an exhilarating season. Thanks, I needed that!!
The loss to Florida was tough, but the future is bright.
While I would have preferred a better outcome, I enjoyed the game. I saw two incredibly tough and talented teams battle it out. Let’s appreciate how much this team accomplished and how they greatly exceeded preseason expectations. The future is bright.
Couldn’t agree more. I know coach Young won’t say so, but I think it’s clear that the COVID pauses, 3 games in the last 40 days and 1 game in the last 17, doomed this team’s chances. Maybe without the last pause, and I know some other teams have had the same issues, we probably would have added to our win total. Looking forward to next year.
0 points from your Point Guard-4 on 5 cant win…especially in the field of 68.
It’s as simple as that.
Yeah and got close for a lay-in late and missed it. Bede’s career stats, 3.9 ppg. 3.0 assists, 2.4 Reb, 1.0 steals, 39% FG, 30% 3 pt., 56% FT and 22 minutes per game. His defense great (although didn’t make ACC defense team) and TOs low but hard to believe he started 2.5 seasons with those totals. No doubt a great kid and we didn’t have a better alternative. Here’s hoping Murphy and Pedulla upgrade that spot. We’ve got the other pieces.
my main issue with the whistles is inconsistency. They should establish an early pattern and stick to it. Our front court was bewildered trying to figure out how to guard their monster. Breathe on monster- foul. Monster slaps Radfords hands after blocking his dunk- play on! Monster steps out on Alleyne at the end of the game and almost knocks him into stands after the three ball was released- play on! Alleyne tries to evade trap on sidelines by turning with elbows tucked in- TECHNICAL FOUL 2 SHOTS AND LOST POSSESSION!
We got our share of foul shots but we got banged around earning them…FU not so much.
That’s the most phantom fouls I have ever seen in one game. The refs were terrible.
The T was due to what he did with the ball after the foul.
“bottom of the night”? bottom of the net?
bottom of the bottle? That’s tonight fo sho.
Have no fear, Will is here!
Agreed with the ticky tack fouls being called. You didn’t know what to get from this crew is the problem. They called little contact sometimes, other times they let brutal fouls go, the tech foul was ridiculous (and we win by 1 without it). That said, no semblance of an offensive strategy in the 2nd half or OT cost us bad. We made zero attempt to run any offense except iso in the 2nd half abd hoped for miracles.
This team sorely needs two things: a point guard with good handle, great vision and the ability to score; a mobile and coordinated big man who can stay on the court banging for 30 minutes a game.
Storm will give us what we need at the point. It’s up to Mike to find the big who will allow Keve to slide to his natural 4 slot. He is not a 5 and can not properly defend against natural 5’s.
Just to be fair, most teams sorely need these skills in those two positions. I know you were setting up the fact that one of the two needs is met by Storm, but it still came across as…well, duh.
Mike needs a 5, he openly talks about it whenever asked. Tonight after the loss he was advertising for a big so Aluma can move out to forward.
BUZZ and many, many other coaches don’t need bonafide 5’s Mike Young does if you want to see his system work to 100%.
Aluma and Mutts laid an egg- 13 points. We shot 42% and let them shoot 56%. Pemsl guards Mann on the dagger and then takes the last shot after a TO. Where’s the coaching? Don’t blame the refs. FL should have run away with the game, like GT did. And they were down one starter the whole game and a another starter most of the second half. Take it like a man. We laid an egg. Hoping for miracles is akin to Dean Wormer saying “Fat dumb and stupid is no way to go through life son” Time for a toga party or whatever got them into the contact tracing mess.
Lighten up, it was a great season that exceeded expectations. MY is a fantastic coach, and if you think otherwise, you’re “fat dumb and stupid.”
Mann hit a great step-back after Pemsl switched. Pemsl taking the last shot was obviously not the planned offensive set if you were watching. They just guarded Alleyne and Radford well. Pemsl wouldn’t have been in the game if the refs didn’t call bs fouls on Aluma and Mutts.
Excited for next season!
Lots of “shadow fouls” in this one…these guys with the whistles wanted to be front and center on CBS deciding the outcome of the game. Their mission was accomplished with 48 fouls called- 1.2 per minute.
Most of the really good NCAA games in history have free flow with only obvious fouls called so as not to interrupt the flow of the game.
Well it just goes to show when I only half-watch a game, since I was working at the same time, my perception can be off. From what I saw I was wondering why the refs allowed UF to get away with so much. In my glancing at the game between video calls I thought UF should have had more fouls called against them. It looked like a overly physical game by UF, they were a bunch of goons.
Also weird how I only saw Alleyne miss shots, so I had no idea he scored so many points. I owe him an apology.
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