A buddy of mine asked me before the game, “Okay, give it to me: What’s
Tech got to do to win this game?” There’s no silver bullet, I answered. The
Hokies just had to play lights out, and UNC had to have an off day. Just a few
hours later, I’ve seen one of the best games the Hokies have ever played, and
VT has their first win over a number one team in 24 years and three days, dating
back to when I was a senior in high school.
My buddy also asked me what the spread on the game was, and I told him it was
UNC by four and a half. I chuckled and said I’d bet the house that UNC was
going to cover that. Good thing I don’t have a bookie, or my family would be
sleeping on the floor at my parents’ house tonight.
The story of this game was written from the 13:07 point of the first half to
the 7:48 point, a stretch of five minutes and 19 seconds that saw the Hokies go
on a 17-0 run and turn a 21-13 deficit into a 30-21 lead. In that stretch, the
- Made two three-pointers. (Tech hit 7-of-13 for the game, a sizzling
- Got seven points from their bench. (In the most incredible stat of the
game, Tech’s bench outscored the ultra-deep UNC bench 36-23.)
- Registered two steals. (Tech had 14 steals to just seven for UNC.)
- Got eight points from guards Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon (who scored
40 points in the game).
While the 17-0 run will be the one you remember, and the one that typified
the game, this contest was really won from the 3:02 mark of the first half to
the 11:28 mark of the second half. UNC’s Brandan Wright scored to make it
40-36 with 3:02 left in the opening half, and over the next 11:34, the Hokies
laid a 28-9 run on the Tar Heels that upped the lead to 68-45 and sealed UNC’s
fate. Even the quick-scoring Tar Heels couldn’t overcome a 23-point lead in
the last 11:28 of the game, especially since the Hokies made the lead stand up
deep into the second half, up by as much as 81-61 with 3:48 to go.
UNC nearly pulled off something legendary, torching the nets for 27 points in
the last 3:48, making the Hokies sweat out a 94-88 win. Over time, though, the
details of that expertly-executed comeback by the Heels will be forgotten,
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