Virginia Tech finally broke their seven game losing streak by beating Pitt 70-67 in overtime in Cassell Coliseum on Tuesday night. The Hokies are now 9-11 overall and 1-6 in the ACC, while Pitt dropped to 13-8 and 3-5 in conference play.
In today’s game preview, we talked about scoring opportunities and how Tech was being beaten up on the offensive glass and to a lesser extent in turnover margin. That wasn’t the case on Tuesday.
Offensive rebounds: Pitt 15, VT 12
Turnovers: Pitt 11, VT 9
That’s a -3 in offensive rebounds, and a +2 in turnovers, for a margin of -1, meaning that Pitt had just one more shot opportunity than the Hokies. The box score backs that up, as the Panthers attempted 61 field goals to Tech’s 60. Both teams attempted 17 free throws, and for once the Hokies held the advantage at the charity stripe.
VT: 12-of-17 (70.6%)
Pitt: 9-of-17 (52.9%)
It was a gutsy win for the Hokies, who were coming off that tough loss to UVA on Sunday.
“I think it says a lot about what they went through Sunday afternoon and what they went through since Sunday afternoon to be in the position we are in right now,” Buzz Williams said after the game.
Tech’s stars were Adam Smith and Malik Mueller. Smith scored 26 points, nailing the game-tying three-pointer with 0.8 seconds left in regulation, and the game-winning three-pointer with 3.4 seconds left in overtime. His shot to tie the game came from approximately the same spot that he barely missed a potential game-tying three-pointer against #2 UVA on Sunday. He went 9-of-17 from the field and 6-of-11 from the outside.
As a team, the Hokies shot 12-of-27 (44.4%) from the outside, and that turned out to be the difference in the game. With Shane Henry and Satchel Pierce ineffective, Buzz Williams used Mueller (6-3) at power forward and Christian Beyer (6-7) at center for most of the game, and rotated his defense between man and a 2-3 zone. Beyer had seven points and five rebounds, including a critical “and-one” late in regulation that kept the Hokies in the game.
Despite holding a 29-24 lead at halftime, the Hokies found themselves trailing 60-53 with 2:11 left in regulation. They managed to overcome that deficit, and rallied to tie the game thanks to Smith’s heroics.
After the Hokies cut the lead to 60-59, James Robinson hit a runner in the lane for Pitt to make the score 62-59 with 17 seconds remaining. Malik Mueller then missed a three-pointer to tie the game, but Christian Beyer grabbed the offensive rebound with seven seconds left and the ball eventually got to Adam Smith, who nailed a very deep three-pointer to tie the game.
Pitt took an early lead in overtime, but the game was tied at 67 with 1:07 remaining. The Hokies got the last shot after a loose ball was ruled to go off Pitt with 29 seconds left. From there, the Hokies inbounded and Adam Smith made the game-winning shot with 3.4 seconds left. Pitt’s last second desperation heave was no good.
Finally in the win column, the Hokies will now play Wake Forest in Winston-Salem this Saturday at 2pm. The game will be televised by RSN. Check your local listings.
The highlights below are provided by Niemo of TechHoops.com.