Trailing by eight with 1:42 remaining in the Watsco Center, Virginia Tech could’ve let its game at Miami end like so many others this season.
A close contest with five minutes to go, the Hokies couldn’t make enough plays down the stretch to win. Shades of Virginia, NC State, North Carolina, Boston College and meeting No. 1 with Miami. But Sean Pedulla and Darius Maddox had other ideas.
Instead, Tech fought back. Mike Young’s team forced two turnovers and made five-of-six shots in the final 92 seconds, none bigger than Maddox’s trey with 14.6 seconds left. The play started with Cattoor tipping an inbound pass after Pedulla made a contested layup that cut the deficit to two.
The ball fell right to Maddox, who said he didn’t know how much time was on the clock or what the score was. He just knew the Hokies needed a basket. And get one they did.
The shot turned out to be the deciding factor, one that gave Virginia Tech (18-11, 10-8 ACC) a 71-70 win over Miami (20-9, 12-6). It’s also the eighth victory in nine games for Tech, in addition to being the program’s first Quadrant 1 win of the year.
“We were desperate,” Maddox said on his game-winning shot. “I feel confident in the way I’m shooting, just staying aggressive, and every shot I take I feel is good.”
“We’ve come a long way, haven’t we?” Young joked. “I want him [Maddox] to shoot it more. Every time he shoots the ball,… the thing’s going in the basket. And he’s shooting at an incredible clip. That’s a huge shot. That kid rises up and bangs that thing home.”
The win wasn’t pretty. But basketball games in February and March don’t need to be, as long as the final score is in the right favor.
Amazingly, the Hokies had season-highs in turnovers (19) and assists (21) in the same game. The giveaways were killer: Miami scored 25 points (36% of their total points) off Tech mistakes, and just turned the ball over nine times itself. Seven came in the second half, and two were in the final two minutes, including the one that led to Maddox’s shot.
For the longest time, it looked like the turnovers would doom the Hokies. They had 16 at the under-eight media timeout and the 18th came at the four-minute mark. But after that, they only turned the ball over once more.
“I haven’t had a team turn the ball over 18 times. I’m not sure if that’s happened in my career. You can’t win that game. … Great level of resolve. Hung in there, wasn’t always pretty. Frustrating, just not great basketball from us.”
However, when the ball wasn’t being handed to the Hurricanes, Tech was good offensively. 21 assists on 29 made field goals, 56.9% from the floor and 81.5% (22-of-27) on 2-point shots. The threes didn’t exactly fall at a consistent rate – VT has hit eight or fewer treys in five straight games now – but the clip was much better in the second half.
After making just two of its first 13 (15%) attempts from deep, Virginia Tech closed out the game going 5-of-11 (45%) from the 12:20-mark onward. Five of the last six field goals went through the nylon for VT, too.
That was combined with better defense, too. Sure, the Canes shot a 50% clip for the game, but after making 11-of-19 shots to start the second half, they were 3-of-8 over the last seven minutes.
“Next best action,” Young said. “You don’t see anyone on this team getting their shoulders down, droopy. Our team does have respect for those three guards and Miller and Waardenburg. They do it against most everyone. Just hard to match up with.
“But again, I go back to the camaraderie and the teamwork, togetherness of this team. They like playing with one another and have great trust in one another.”
Tech was better in many areas, and rebounding was one of them. It held a 31-21 margin on the glass over Miami, led by Keve Aluma’s ten boards.
He finished with sixth double-double of the season, pacing Virginia Tech with 18 points, while Pedulla (17) and Maddox (13) gave the Hokies 30 points off the bench. Five Miami players scored in double figures, led by Kameron McGusty’s 15. Isaiah Wong added 14, while Charlie Moore had 12.
But the Hokies had enough in the tank to overcome the turnovers. Back against the wall, they finished the game on a 12-3 run. Justyn Mutts mentioned the team being desperate after the Virginia game 12 days ago, and the players showed that in the late stages of the game in Coral Gables on Saturday.
Tech’s season wouldn’t be over had it lost, but the odds would’ve been even more against Young & Co. Instead, they’re still on the bubble, now with a precious Quadrant 1 win, and they have momentum heading into the final two games of the regular season.
“Let’s play well on Tuesday against Louisville,” Young said. “We’ve still got work to do. Let’s win tomorrow. … If we keep winning, I think that’ll bode well for the Hokies.”
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Big parts of the selection committee’s picks are strength of schedule and how the team is trending at the end of the year. Hokies are 8 of 9. If they can get these last two they have won 10 or 11. And their SOS is pretty high. I would hope that would get them there, even if they get bumped in the first round of the ACC. But winning one round in the ACC would do wonders.
VERY frustrating to watch the sloppy passing that led to so many breakaway baskets for the bad guys.
Was that just a fluke, because I don’t remember a game where their passes were so “lazy”.
It’s go time fellas, so keep the pedal to the metal! NCAAs……..that’s what I’m talking bout!
I wonder where the ESPN NCAA Tournament guru will have the Hokies ranked now. Probably the bubble. Will be interesting if VT beats both Louisville and Clemmons.
Beat Louisville and Clemmons and win two in the ACC Tourney. Hey, we’ve already beaten ND.
5 to 8 teams out as of last night
Thank you for the write up…much appreciated! However, I didn’t know what the score was until the 5th paragraph!…and then I read through it because of the type set.
Down 8 with 1:42 left?! SUPER WIN!!
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT:
I know that many have had trouble getting VT basketball on the so called RSN networks. REDDIT has an NCAA Basketball Stream that always has several VT streams for each game. Today’s game had about ten streams.
Here is a link to the sub-Reddit stream I am writing about:
You join REDDIT and then go to the stream and save it as a favorite. Go to REDDIT right at tip off time and pick your stream. Make sure your virus and firewall protection is A-OK and you are good to go. You may have to click though an add but today I went straight into the game full screen and never lost it…better video quality on my all in one desktop monitor than on my big screen streaming YouTubeTV.
Let me know if you have questions. I think that I’ve used this for football also for the weak games that don’t even make ACCN.
Reminder, Clemson on March 5th is another RSN “network” game so sign up and learn how to use this streaming option.
Thanks, I will give this a try!!
Thx! I will also try.
On Charter Spectrum, it has RSN games on Bally Sports South which is the channel on which I watched yesterday’s game. On my Greenville, SC Charter feed (I live near Asheville, NC) the game is on channels 34 and 811. For some reason, the game on ch. 34 is in a small box with four inches of black border. Not so on ch. 811 where it appears normally. Anyway, look for BSSO on your channel guide for next Saturday’s game.
Those of us who dropped cable and stream Youtubetv, Hulu and others dont get bally- RSN.
REDDIT is only option
YES network also carries our RSN games. If you don’t get the YES Network on TV then go to their website and find it there.
Pay for view? I wont pay for another stream…YTTV expensive enough
Love when we win close games; and softball is the truth.
Glad to see Pedulla and Mattox in the game late
71 70 Final Score
21 18 From Three Point Shots
44 44 From Two Point Shots
06 08 From Free Throws
Biggest VT Lead: 9 (24-15)
Biggest MIA Lead: 8 (67-59)
Last Tie (of 7): 39-39
Last Lead Change: VT 71, MIA 70
It Was Over: VT 71, MIA 70
Wow!! Maddox hits a 3 after a Cattoor steal, the Hokies hold on the final possession, and steal one in Coral Gables, surviving 19 turnovers to get their first Quad 1 win of the season! What a huge step towards possibly making it back to the Big Dance! Payback for that halfcourt shot in Blacksburg!! Louisville comes to town Tuesday. Let’s break that 32 year drought against the Cardinals!!
Correction – 31 years, not 32.
I vote for Pedula as the most under rated player on the team. Seems like he is good
He has a lot of positives for a freshman but some of his turnovers were pretty frustrating. Should give us 3 more great years at point.
He has improved a ton since November but he still makes some glaring freshman mistakes when he gets extended minutes – including tonight in the midst of an overall great game for him. Definitely growing to where his positive contributions outweigh his mistakes though
He came in with solid athletic body and a PG attitude. There r going to be some teams out west sorry they overlooked him.
He will be a leader next year.
I said from day one day one when he committed and I saw his high school film this kid was terribly good and game ready right now regardless of strength and size. Hes much Better than someone else on the squad that everyone assumed was going to take this team forward after Bede. Coach Mike has figured it out too……..hes done with player seniority and old school coaching……. this kids talent refuses to allow you to look the other way. Cant wait to see Pedulla next year!
Nice article, David. Karma? Luck? Determination? All of the above keeps us in the tourney hunt.
Things finally fell our way
More Pedulla … hard to remember he is a freshman the way he is playing of late.
Also something needs to be done with all the turnovers this team allows.
It is very easy to see he is a freshman the way he is playing of late
EDIT: “and the 18th came at the four-minute mark. But after that, they didn’t turn the ball over again.”
Think #19 came with under a minute 30 by Pedulla…
Thanks for the correction. Mid-writing this story, I was told that Tech actually finished with 19 turnovers, the final one in the last minute. But I forgot to go back and adjust that sentence. Thank you, and appreciate you reading.
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