Virginia Tech took #4 Duke to overtime, but ultimately fell 70-65. The Hokies dropped to 15-14 overall and 4-10 in the ACC with two regular season games remaining. The Blue Devils are 25-4 and 12-2 in the ACC, and as of right now they would be the #1 seed in the ACC Tournament.
It was a heartbreaking finish to regulation for the Hokies. They led 58-57 with 40 seconds remaining and they had a chance to run a lot of clock. However, Erick Green was faced with great pressure defense from Tyler Thornton, and he picked up his dribble and was called for traveling 40 feet from the basket.
Tech fouled on Duke’s ensuing possession, and Austin Rivers made one of two free throw attempts to tie the game. The Hokies had the ball for the final possession of the game. Green drove the lane and took a jumper, but it was off. Cadarian Raines had a chance for a putback basketball, but it went off the backboard and rim, and time expired, sending the game to overtime.
Duke took an early five point lead in overtime, though Tech clawed back behind a three-pointer and a deep two-pointer from Dorenzo Hudson. With 1:19 left, they trailed by just one point, 64-63. However, things got away from them down the stretch, and the talented, more experienced Blue Devils were able to win 70-65.
Virginia Tech was able to stay in this game against a possible #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament because the got major contributions from all five of their starters.
Erick Green: 16 points, all in the second half
Dorenzo Hudson: 16 points, including several big shots in regulation and OT, 5 rebounds
Dorian Finney-Smith: 6 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 8 offensive rebounds
Jarell Eddie: 5 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, no turnovers
Cadarian Raines: 16 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks
Tech committed just 10 turnovers for the game, which is another big reason they were able to go wire to wire with the Blue Devils. Unfortunately Dorian Finney-Smith struggled from the free throw line, going just 1-of-8. Other than that, it was his best game as a Hokie. He rebounded, he was assertive with the ball in his hands, and he did a great job of initiating the offense and getting the ball inside to Cadarian Raines.
Virginia Tech’s last three losses have come to ranked teams. They lost to #20 Florida State 48-47 on a three-pointer with 2.6 seconds left, they lost to #25 UVA 61-59, and today they lost at #4 Duke in overtime. That’s three losses to ranked teams by a total of eight points in the last nine days.
The Hokies are getting better, and the key for them now will be keep playing at a high level against teams that aren’t ranked. They’ll have a great opportunity at Clemson on Thursday night. Tip-off is scheduled for 9pm, and the game will be televised by the ACC Network.