Another game, another loss on the last possession. Georgia edged Virginia Tech 67-66 in Athens on Tuesday night, sending the Hokies to 5-4 on the season. The four losses have come by a combined four points.
This was a very close game throughout, with neither team leading by more than five points. The Hokies led 60-56 in the latter stages of the half, but yet again they couldn’t put the game away despite another big performance from A.D. Vassallo.
Vassallo paced the team with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting. He was 4-of-6 from three-point range. He also added seven rebounds and three steals. He was one of just two Hokies in double figures. Malcolm Delaney added 11 points for Tech, but he was only 3-of-10 from the field.
Jeff Allen was noticeably absent for Virginia Tech. He scored eight points on 4-of-8 shooting, and he had six rebounds. However, he played just 25 minutes because of foul trouble. It was the second time in the last three games that his minutes have been limited because of fouls.
The Hokies did get a solid night from Cheick Diakite, who scored six points, grabbed five rebounds and blocked six shots. However, they couldn’t overcome the lack of production by the normally reliable Delaney and Allen.
Virginia Tech continued to struggle with turnovers on Tuesday night. The Hokies committed 18 turnovers during the game, while forcing just 12. The Bulldogs came into the game with 128 turnovers in just eight games, but Tech didn’t do a good job of getting in the passing lanes, pressuring the ball and coming up with loose balls.
As usual, the game came down to the final possession. Georgia center Albert Jackson scored the game-winning basket with 28.3 seconds remaining. However, there was plenty of action yet to come.
The Hokies took the ball down the court and called a timeout with approximately 11 seconds left to set up the final play. Tech point guard Hank Thorns, who had played a good game up until the final possession, started with the ball at the top of the key. A.D. Vassallo came off a screen on the left wing, and the Georgia defense didn’t rotate. He was wide open and screaming for the ball, but Thorns inexplicably drove the lane and put up a wild shot over two defenders who were a foot taller.
Two Tech players, Cheick Diakite and Jeff Allen, were all alone under the basket waiting on the rebound. It fell to Diakite, and his putback attempt was no good, and Jackson grabbed the rebound and was fouled with 0.5 seconds remaining.
Jackson missed the free throw, and Tech rebounded and called timeout with 0.3 seconds remaining. However, the full court lob was intercepted by Georgia, and the game ended.
The Hokies will return to action on Sunday when they host Longwood in Cassell Coliseum. Tipoff is scheduled for 2pm, and the game will not be televised.