The Hokies got back to their winning ways on Sunday night, beating Maryland 67-64 in Cassell Coliseum in overtime. Tech, #23 in the A.P. Poll, is 2-0 in overtime games this year, with a win at Duke to go along with Sunday’s victory. They are now 14-5 overall and 4-1 in ACC play. Maryland, ranked #22 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll, drops to 15-5 overall and 1-4 in the ACC.
With their 14th victory of the season, the Hokies have matched their win total from last season. Their four ACC wins also matches last season’s total. Virginia Tech is now tied for second place in the ACC with UNC. Both teams trail Boston College, who is 5-1 in conference play.
The Hokies got very good performances from four players on Sunday night. As usual, the senior backcourt tandem of Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon played well. Dowdell led the team in scoring with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. He also had five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Jamon Gordon added 16 points for the Hokies. He was just 4-of-17 from the field, but he was 8-of-9 from the free throw line. He also chipped in seven rebounds, two assists and six steals.
Heading into the game, Maryland was believed to have an advantage on the inside against the Hokies, but that wasn’t the case. Virginia Tech’s Coleman Collins had 11 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks, while Cheick Diakite came off the bench to add nine points, three rebounds and four blocks in 21 minutes. Maryland’s inside duo of James Gist and Ekene Ibekwe combined for 11 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks. Combined, they shot just 4-of-15 from the field.
Virginia Tech out-rebounded Maryland 47-40 and pulled down an impressive 15 offensive rebounds.
This contest was close for the entire 45 minutes, with neither team able to get much of a lead. Maryland controlled the opening minutes, jumping out to an 11-6 lead on a D.J. Strawberry layup at the 13:34 mark of the first half. The Hokies responded by going on an 8-0 run that was capped by a jumper by Cheick Diakite with 11:39 remaining to make the score 14-11 Virginia Tech.
The Hokies controlled the majority of the remainder of the first half and led by as many as seven points. Another jumper by Diakite gave the Hokies a 32-25 lead with 1:55 remaining, but the Terps stormed back, going on an 8-0 run of their own to take a 33-32 lead with 44 seconds left in the half. Mike Jones and D.J. Strawberry each hit a three-pointer during the short run.
Two Zabian Dowdell free throws with 31 seconds left in the half put Tech back on top 34-33, and they took that lead into the halftime intermission.
Maryland jumped out and controlled the early portion of the second half. Two free throws by Greivis Vasquez made the score 42-38 with 16:47 remaining in the game. That lead did not stand up for long. Virginia Tech’s defense buckled down, and the Hokies went on a long, drawn out 16-4 run that put them up 54-46 after a Cheick Diakite dunk with 9:32 left in the game.
The teams played evenly for the next several minutes, with a layup by Coleman Collins putting the Hokies up 58-50 at the 6:24 mark. Tech appeared to have the game in hand, but Seth Greenberg elected to slow the offense down and run time off the clock, and the strategy backfired. The Hokies scored just one point for the remainder of regulation.
That one point however, was huge. After Maryland rallied with a 9-0 run and took a 59-58 lead, Collins went to the free throw line and sank one of two free throws, evening the score at 59. Collins’ free throw came with 59 seconds remaining. Neither team could manage a score to win the game in regulation, as Jamon Gordon missed a jumper with 12 seconds remaining, and Maryland’s James Gist missed a short baseline shot at the buzzer.
The Terps couldn’t muster much offense in the overtime period. Mike Jones hit a layup on their first possession to make the score 61-59, but that was Maryland’s only field goal in overtime. Zabian Dowdell answered with a layup of his own, and then Jamon Gordon added two free throws to put Tech up 63-61.
The Hokies ran their lead up to 65-61 with 2:11 remaining on a layup by Zabian Dowdell. A free throw by Ekene Ibekwe made the score 65-62, but Coleman Collins answered on the other end when he tipped in a Jamon Gordon miss with 1:11 remaining. The Hokies led 67-62 at that point.
After two free throws by D.J. Strawberry and a missed shot by Dowdell, Maryland had one more chance, down 67-64. The Terps attempted to extend the game by going for an easy two points and then fouling, but Mike Jones’ layup attempt rimmed out with seven seconds left, Markus Sailes grabbed the rebound for Tech, and the Hokies ran out the clock.
The Hokies return to action on Tuesday night when they travel to Coral Gables to take on the Miami Hurricanes. Tipoff is scheduled for 9 pm, and the game will be televised by RSN (check local listings).