Virginia Tech outscored Oklahoma State 18-6 over the last six minutes of the game to win 56-51 in the semifinals of the 76 Classic on Friday afternoon. The Hokies are now 4-1 on the season, and the Cowboys dropped to 4-1.
Oklahoma State led 45-38 on a basket by Ray Penn with 6:02 remaining, but a tip-in by Malcolm Delaney on Virginia Tech’s next drive ignited their game-ending run. The Hokies took the lead 50-48 on two Victor Davila free throws with just under two minutes left, and the Cowboys didn’t have the offense to come back down the stretch.
Virginia Tech scored their final field goal with 3:33 remaining on a give and go, with freshman point guard Tyrod Garland giving it up to Jeff Allen, who then hit Garland streaking to the basket. Those were two of Garland’s six critical points in eight minutes of action. He was forced to play because Erick Green’s calf injury.
Both teams obviously struggled offensively, though the Hokies did score 24 points in the first 11:30 of the game. At that point the Cowboys switched to a zone defense, and the Hokies scored only two points over the final 8:30 of the first half. Garland scored both of those points on two free throws.
Oklahoma State did an excellent job of stopping the penetration of Malcolm Delaney, who was 3-of-8 from the field. However, he was also 10-of-11 from the free throw line, including six key free throws in the final 2:27 of the game. Delaney finished with a team-high 16 points.
Jeff Allen got into foul trouble yet again, but was still productive with 12 points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes. Victor Davila added nine points and five rebounds for the Hokies. Dorenzo Hudson did not have his best game, scoring just eight points in 38 minutes.
As a team, the Hokies shot just 34.7% from the field and were just 2-of-14 (14.3%) from three-point range.
However, they played well defensively, as usual. Oklahoma State was just 17-of-59 (28.8%) from the field, and they committed 16 turnovers. So far, the trend for the Hokies in the 76 Classic has been their opponents committing turnovers against Tech’s very good defense.
The Hokies are certainly not a well-oiled offensive machine at this point, but they remain true to what has brought them so much success in the Seth Greenberg era: defense.
Virginia Tech will take tomorrow off, then return to action in the championship game of the 76 Classic on Sunday night at 9pm on ESPN2. They will take on either Murray State or UNLV, who were both in the NCAA Tournament last season.