Malcolm Delaney scored a career-high 29 points, and A.D. Vassallo dropped in 28 to lead the Virginia Tech Hokies to a crucial ACC road win over the miami hurricanes, 88-83 in overtime. Delaney was lights out and his clutch three pointer in overtime with the shot clock expiring put the Hokies ahead for good.
This was another nail-biter of an ACC game as neither team could distance itself from the other. Tech’s “big three” once again powered the Hokies, combining for 74 of the team’s 88 points. Only four starters scored; Delaney – 29, A.D. Vassallo – 28, Jeff Allen – 17, and J.T. Thompson – 2. The fifth starter, freshman Victor Davila, did not score. The bench combined for 12 points, and Lewis Witcher had half of those. The “big three” truly lived up to their billing tonight.
The Hokies took a quick 2-0 lead, but miami came back and took the lead and kept it for most of the first half. The canes led by seven — their largest lead of the game — midway through the first half, but Delaney scored six straight points for the Hokies to pull Tech to within a bucket. But miami would pull ahead by five once again. The Hokies had an answer all night, though, whenever the u tried to distance themselves, and with 3:07 left in the first half, the Hokies tied the game on a pair of made free throws by Delaney.
Jack McClinton, miami’s much feared shoot-it-from-anywhere threat, turned the ball over on the canes’ next possession and Allen converted, giving the Hokies a 32-30 lead, their first since they led 2-0. Tech would relinquish the lead however, trailing 34-37 before Lewis Witcher got a tip-in with less than a second left to send Tech into the break down by one, 36-37.
The second half saw the canes jump out with a quick 4-0 run to stretch their lead to five. Tech kept it close, though, and the teams would trade the lead five times in the final five minutes. Tech grabbed a five-point lead with 4:38 to play, 70-65, but just as miami couldn’t pull away, neither could the Hokies. With Tech leading 77-74 and less than a minute to play, miami’s Brian Asbury buried a trey to tied the game.
Tech had the last possession and a chance to finally be on the winning end of a last-second shot, but miami’s defense did not allow Delaney a good look and his forced shot in the final seconds missed badly, sending the game into overtime tied at 77.Â VT did not take a timeout, choosing to let Malcolm drain the final 20 seconds before attempting the fadeaway game-winner.
Overtime began with a miami 4-0 run and the Hokies quickly found themselves in a hole after only a minute had gone by in the extra session. But Tech tightened up on defense and shut down the canes for the final 3:57 of overtime. The canes managed only two free throws after their initial burst.
Meanwhile, Vassallo, Allen, and Delaney provided all the offense the Hokies would need to pull ahead for good. Allen attacked the lane from the left side and missed his initial shot, but grabbed his own rebound and put it back and got the foul. Allen missed the free throw, but 5’9″ Hank Thorns out-rebounded two miami post players (thanks to a Diakite tip of the ball), giving the Hokies a fresh shot clock.
Tech got the ball inside to Vassallo, who missed a baby hook shot, and the rebound was knocked out of bounds by miami. On the inbounds, Delaney got the ball at the top of the key before driving, spinning and dropping in a little jump hook to tie the game at 81.
A pair of free throws gave the canes the lead, but Delaney answered once again with a big three-pointer to push Tech to an 84-83 lead. Vassallo and Dorenzo Hudson each hit a pair of free throws in the final 25 seconds to put the game away and give the Hokies back-to-back conference road wins.
Even though miami’s star guard Jack McClinton had 20 points in the game, it was a quiet 20.Â He started out 1/9 from the field and finished just 6/21.Â Hudson, Thompson, and Delaney did an excellent job getting a hand in his face.
The real stars for the u were Brian Asbury, a senior averaging just 6.5 ppg coming in, and big-man Dwayne Collins.Â The Hokies left Asbury wide open all night, and the 14% three-point shooter (coming into the game) made them pay, hitting three long balls and scoring 13 early points.Â He finished with 21.Â Meanwhile, Collins abused the Hokies inside.Â At one point in the second half, he scored 13 straight points for the canes, keeping them in the game.Â Allen, Diakite, and Witcher simply could not stop him inside, usually resorting to fouling him.
The Hokies now sit alone in second place in the ACC at 4-1.Â They play #10 ranked clemson at home on Thursday night.Â It’s a BLACKOUT, people!Â See you in your finest VT black on Thursday!
- This was a huge win. As noted in the game preview, this is the only time VT plays miami, so the Hokies now have the tiebreaker in a two-way tie for ACC Tournament seedings.Â More importantly this victory gives the Hokies a second quality win against an RPI Top-50 team.
- Delaney’s 29 points is tied for the fourth most ever scored in an ACC game by a Hokie.Â Â Amazingly, four of the top seven ACC scoring performances by Hokies have come in the last four games: Allen’s 30 against bc (tied for 2nd), Vassallo’s and Delaney’s 29 against uva and miami respectively (tied for 4th), and Vassallo’s 28 tonight against miami (7th).Â Zabian Dowdell (the Hokie from Pahokee) has the high mark with 33 at unc in 2007.
- Other than the Big 3, only one Hokie scored more than 2 points — Lewis Witcher had 6, all in the first half.Â That’s not going to cut it.Â Against wake, VT got 25 points from the supporting cast.Â Tonight, just 14.Â Witcher did have a solid first half though, with 6 points on 3/3 shooting, including a nice left-handed hook andÂ 3 rebounds. In the second half, Witcher didn’t score and had just one board.
- Hank Thorns had a career-high 8 assists.Â He looked like the Hank of last year in this one, setting up some easy buckets for teammates.Â However, his jumpshot is just plain awful.Â Thorns was 1/5 from the field, and the one make was a layup.Â Tech’s starters had just 3 assists.
- Collins for miami simply manhandled the Hokies inside.Â The boxscore only shows two offensive rebounds for Collins, but if you watched this game, there’s no way that’s correct.Â Again, Tech’s low post players let him catch the ball way too close to the basket and he made the most of it.Â Foul or layup, that’s all VT saw in the second half.Â And if you think it will be easier against clemson, you’re wrong: The Hokies have to face 6’7″, 240 lbs Trevor Booker.Â He is every bit as good and tough inside as Collins.
- McClinton and Collins had 24 of miami’s final 27 points in regulation (everything but the game tying three by Asbury).
- Victor Davila missed two easy layups early in the game and did not play in the final 30 minutes (does any team miss more layups or potential “and-ones” than the Hokies?).Â Witcher and Diakite ate up his minutes.
- Tech’s offense looks great of late (well, I guess the Big 3 does).Â They shot 49% tonight after shooting 50% against wake.Â Since the duke thumping, VT has scored 78, 79, 78, and 77 in regulation in their last four ACC games.Â Not bad for a team that wasn’t even averaging 70 points per game before that point.Â The Hokies have been able to match the quality ACC offenses and play the higher scoring game.
- Tech had three players play 40+ minutes — the Big 3, of course.Â Delaney and Vassallo played 43.Â Yet they were still money in overtime when it mattered most.
- Speaking of money, how money was A.D. in the second half?Â He had 17 second-half points, including threeÂ clutch long balls.Â One of those tied the game at 63 withÂ six minutes to go, and then A.D. hit another one on the next possession toÂ put the Hokies ahead.Â Vassallo also became the 14th Hokie to reach the career 1,500 point mark.Â Congrats!
- The Hokies have now won 7 overtime games in a row in ACC play and are 8-1 all time.Â The Big 3 is 4-0 in ACC OT games.
- Tech has won 9 of 10 games, tying the best 10 game run under Seth (also did it in 2006-07).
- This is the third time VT has won five in a row under Greenberg but they have never made it to six.