Virginia Tech lost another close contest on Monday night, this time falling to #22 Wisconsin 74-72 in Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies tied the game on a three-pointer from A.D. Vassallo with seven seconds remaining, but the Badgers won it on a pull up jumper from point guard Trevon Hughes with 0.9 seconds left. Tech falls to 4-3 on the year with the loss.
The Hokies have now lost to Xavier, Seton Hall and Wisconsin by a combined seven points.
A.D. Vassallo paced Tech with 30 points. It was easily his best game of the season. He was 12-of-17 from the field and 6-of-9 from three-point range. Anytime the Hokies needed a big basket in the second half, Vassallo was there to provide it. He also had five rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots in 38 minutes.
Sophomore guard Malcolm Delaney added 12 points and six assists. Freshman forward Victor Davila continued his good play by contributing 13 points in 25 minutes.
Jeff Allen played just 15 minutes because of foul trouble. He eventually fouled out late in the game. He finished with just two points and three rebounds, and was 0-of-2 from the field overall.
The Hokies played perhaps their best game of the season, but in the end it didn’t matter. Tech shot 26-of-52 from the field (50%), 11-of-16 from three-point range (68.8%) and 9-of-12 from the free throw line (75%). They finished with 18 assists and just seven turnovers, and out-rebounded Wisconsin 26-22.
Wisconsin controlled virtually the entire game, and it didn’t seem like the Hokies had a chance to be in it at the end. The Badgers led by as many as 11 points in the first half, when Jon Leuer’s three-pointer with 6:16 remaining made the score 28-17. It was Wisconsin’s second 11 point lead of the half, and Tech just couldn’t seem to hang with the defending Big Ten champions.
However, the Hokies whittled that lead down to three points later in the half, and trailed just 38-30 at halftime. They were still behind, but they had a fighting chance.
The Badgers went right back to work in the second half. Wisconsin scored the first five points of the half, taking a 43-30 lead with 18:11 left in the game. The Hokies didn’t go away, and they responded with a 9-0 run of their own to make the score 43-39 with 16:04 remaining.
Wisconsin managed to hold a comfortable lead for most of the remaining minutes of the second half. They led by nine points, 67-58, with 1:14 remaining following a three-pointer from Marcus Landry. However, a quick three-pointer from Malcolm Delaney cut the lead to six points, and later a three-pointer from Dorenzo Hudson made the score 68-64 Wisconsin with just 36 seconds remaining.
After a turnover by Wisconsin, Malcolm Delaney was fouled while shooting a three-pointer with 29 seconds left. He made two of his three free throw attempts, and the lead was cut to 68-66.
The Hokies started fouling at that point, and Joe Krabbenhoft went to the line and hit two free throws to extend the lead back to four points. A.D. Vassallo stepped up on the other end and nailed a three-pointer, and that made the score 70-69 Badgers with 18 seconds left. Suddenly Tech had a chance, if some late game luck finally fell their way.
The Hokies were still in a fouling situation, and Jason Bohannon hit two free throws for the Badgers with 11 seconds left. That made the score 72-69. The Hokies had one more chance, with no timeouts remaining. Hank Thorns pushed the ball up the court, and he found a curling A.D. Vassallo on the left wing. Vassallo elevated over the defender and nailed the three-pointer. That tied the game at 72, and it looked like overtime in the opening game of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
However, Wisconsin pushed the ball up the court, and point guard Trevon Hughes hit a pull up jumper from the top of the key with 0.9 seconds remaining. Dorenzo Hudson’s desperation three-pointer was no good at the buzzer, and the Badgers left Blacksburg with a 74-72 win.