Virginia Tech came back from a double-digit deficit, but then coughed up a six-point lead with 2:27 remaining and lost to Radford 68-66 at home on Sunday afternoon. The Hokies fell to 4-4 on the season, while the Highlanders improved to 5-3.
After jumping out to a 5-0 lead, Radford went on a 13-0 run and eventually took a 39-30 lead into halftime. The Highlanders were getting more open looks, and seemed to come away with most 50-50 balls.
“We just didn’t have energy coming out of the gate,” freshman forward Justin Bibbs said after the game. “We just didn’t come out intense and focused.”
Radford had a big game from behind the three-point line, going 9-of-22. RJ Price was 5-of-13.
“We didn’t play hard enough to make them miss shots,” Bibbs said.
His fellow freshman teammate Ahmed Hill agreed.
“We came out kind of flat…lackadaisical,” Hill said.
Despite the bad start, Tech rallied to take a 66-60 lead with 3:13 remaining. On Radford’s next possession, they missed two shots, but were able to grab two offensive rebounds. They were able to get to the free throw line and make two shots, which sparked the comeback.
The comeback was most certainly helped by Virginia Tech. Justin Bibbs missed the front end of a one-and-one, and later Devin Wilson was stripped at halfcourt with the Hokies leading 66-65 with 30 seconds left. The turnover led to a breakaway layup that put the Highlanders up 67-66.
Nevertheless, the Hokies had the ball for the final shot. After Radford added a free throw to go up by two, Tech got the ball into the corner to Justin Bibbs for a three-pointer. Bibbs is a 64% three-point shooter for the season, but unfortunately the shot was no good. Neither team was able to come away with the loose ball, which eventually bounced back to midcourt, and the final horn sounded.
The Hokies return to action next Sunday at 3pm when they host Alabama A&M. Tipoff is scheduled for 3pm, and the game can be seen online on ESPN3.