The Virginia Tech Hokies lost their first game of the season on a heartbreaking half-court buzzer beater at the end of overtime against xavier, 63-62 in the semi-finals of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. It was duke 2005 all over again.
With the game tied at 60, Dorenzo Hudson missed a short jumper from the right side, but Jeff Allen, who led all scorers with 22 points, was there for the tip-in to put the Hokies ahead 62-60 with 1.9 seconds left. The musketeers inbounded the ball to Dante Jackson who took a few steps before heaving a half-court shot that banked off the glass and in as the buzzer sounded. Game over.
It’s hard to pin this loss on the buzzer beater because the Hokies had several opportunities to put this game away in regulation. Following a Malcolm Delaney trey with 5:11 left in the game, Tech went scoreless for the remainder of regulation. Tech had a 52-45 lead at that point, but the offensive drought allowed xavier to crawl back into the game.
With the game tied at 52 and 46.6 seconds left on the clock, Delaney, one of Tech’s most reliable free throw shooters, missed both shots that would have have given Tech the lead and likely the win.
Tech used a 14-4 run early in the second half to build a 10-point lead, but squandered it with poor shot selection, turnovers and ill-timed fouls. But, Seth Greenberg called a timeout and settled them down. Tech actually played pretty well against a xavier team that went to the Elite Eight back in March. Had it not been for the late second-half no show for the offense, Tech would have won this game.
In many respects, it’s a wonder they were even in it at all considering A.D. Vassallo scored only four points in the game on 2-13 shooting. Vassallo, who had been averaging better than 19 points a game, never got into a rhythm thanks to xavier’s aggressive defense that often double-teamed Tech’s perimeter shooters the entire game.
Allen led the Hokies with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Delaney added 15 points and 5 assists. Hudson was the only other Hokie to score in double figures – he had 10 points. Allen continues to show his improved range and accuracy hitting on 1 of 2 three point attempts.
This was a tough loss for the boys, but hopefully one that they can use a chip on their shoulder. But they really needed a quality win against a quality opponent this early in the season. This could come back to haunt Tech come tournament selection time. Next up, a consolation game against the loser of tonight’s other semifinal game between seton hall and memphis. More than likely Tech will face seton hall, which won’t help their RPI much.
I’ll leave the rest to Niemo.