There is a God | Hokies (11-7, 21-10) 52, florida state (11-6, 21-10) 51

Box Score

The Virginia Tech Hokies’ NCAA tournament hopes got a huge boost Friday night as Tech beat the No. 3 seed fsu in the 2011 ACC Tournament, 52-51, in a sloppy, low-scoring game, that for at least one half set the sport back a half century.

The Hokies overcame a 10-point, second-half deficit and tied the game at 49 on a Manny Atkins three pointer from near the Virginia Tech bench with three minutes to play. The noles retook the lead, 51-49, before Malcolm Delaney hit 1/2 free throws with :41 seconds left to cut the lead to one, 50-51.

Erick Green was just 2/13 on the night, but he hit his biggest shot of the game, a long two from the top of the key, with 4.7 seconds to play to give the Hokies their first lead, 52-51, since early in the opening half when they lead 4-3.

fsu still had a shot, though. Derwin Kitchen got the ball in the far corner and appeared to hit a game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer as the noles’ bench and about a dozen fans erupted in celebration. But after nearly five minutes of reviewing the shot, it was clear that the ball was still on his fingertips when the clock hit 00:00:00. The officials left the scorer’s table and waived off the basket, thus giving the win to the Hokies.

Aside from the thrilling end, this game was ugly; something Hokie fans have witnessed so often this season. Everything that could go wrong, practically did. Things got off to an ominous start when head coach Seth Greenberg called a timeout just 41 seconds into the game and got into a verbal argument with first-team All-ACC guard Malcolm Delaney, whom Greenberg promptly benched for :32 seconds.

Greenberg could be seen trying to talk to Delaney, but the star player turned his head away from the coach, clearly not interested in what he had to say.

It got worse. Jeff Allen picked up two fouls less than five minutes into the game, while Davila finished the first half with three fouls and Delaney was called for two fouls. The Hokies couldn’t hit a free throw, or a field goal for that matter, the entire first half. It took Virginia Tech six and a half minutes to register their first field goal and were under 50 percent from the charity stripe until Delaney hit a pair with less than a second left in the half. The finished the half 7/13 from the FT line and trailed 19-27 at the break.

The Hokies shot a pathetic 17.9 percent from the field on 5/28 shooting in the first half. They had only 19 points and two of those came on a pair of Delaney free throws with less than a second to play in the half. The 19 points is the lowest first-half total by the Hokies all season. Their lowest scoring output in a half was 18 in a 72-57 road loss to georgia tech.

The second half didn’t get off to a particularly great start either. After a quick 4-0 run by the Hokies, Davila picked up his fourth foul, while Delaney and Allen picked their third less than five minutes into the second half. It was all downhill from there.

From there, the noles pushed their lead to 10 points, 28-38, with 13:25 to play. Then, the Hokies finally found some rhythm. Tech used an 11-3 run to cut fsu’s lead to one, 39-40 with nine minutes to play and it was a decent game from then on out.

With 3:05 remaining and Tech trailing 49-46, Manny Atkins came of a screen near the Hokies’ bench and drained a three pointer to tie the game at 49. The Noles regained the lead with a minute to play, 51-49. Delaney was fouled in the act with :41 to play, but missed the first and made the second, to cut the lead to 50-51.

The noles had the ball and the shot clock off when fsu called a timeout. On the inbounds pass, Allen stripped the ball giving the Hokies the ball. Green hit the eventual game winner, but only after replays showed that fsu’s would-be game-winner did not count.

Foul trouble nearly killed the Hokies Friday night. Delaney, Davila and Allen all played with four fouls each for the critical final five minutes of the second half, which hindered their ability to play aggressive basketball. Despite that, Tech kept the game close and allowed them to hang with the noles before overcoming the adversity.

The Hokies will face No. 2 seed duke tomorrow in the ACC semifinals.

This post was written by:

- who has written 235 posts on Tech Hoops.

Cope is a Virginia Tech graduate and veteran sports journalist with a career spanning television, radio, and newspapers. He's the recipient of three Virginia Press Association awards for his writing and design, as well as a CASE Gold Award for his feature writing. Cope has covered the Hokies since 1993 for various local and national news organizations. He's been with TechHoops.com since 2007.

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  • ryan

    a go ahead bucket with 4.7 left, a dagger to lose at the buzzer, and an overturned call…all while our bid hanged in the balance.

    the rollercoaster of emotions…can’t be expressed

  • King

    A tale of 2 halves. Wow! Thank you basketball gods!!!

  • DuffHokie

    Some how with all the foul calls, f$u only made it to the line 5 times… this could have been a completely different game if they had shot a few more FTs. Also again, the basketball stat god Niemo had it right again.. the team with the most 3’s and higher 3% won.

    Green played the full 40 min and needs to rest up on the quick turnaround for tomorrow.

    Kudos to Manny for stepping up and keeping us in the game. If it wasn’t for him we’d be on the bus back to Blacksburg.

  • ryan

    btw “in a sloppy, low-scoring game, that for at least one half set the sport back a half century.”

    Did you see the Penn State game?

    • http://www.vthokiefans.com Cope-acabana

      No, but I saw the score and it set the game back to the dark ages, for sure.

  • hokiegrad

    GO HOKIES!!! What an ending! Incredible shot from Green there, having the night he was having and stepping up and drilling that. And Atkins… give that man the game ball! Allen and Davila somehow staying on the floor with all those fouls. Delaney running the show. That, my friends, is a game to remember!

  • UptownsGreatest

    MANNY MILLIONS IS BACK!!!!!

  • DuffHokie

    @ryan… big 10(11) basketball sucks, they don’t count

  • FruitpieTheMagician

    wwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee are the champions my friend!

    and we’ll keep on fightin’ to the end.

    -freddie mercury

  • chrishokie

    Whoops, I missed this and posted on the previous article. Go Hokies! I don’t care what happens tomorrow. I am enjoying this win until round 1 of the NCAA!!!

  • SlothVT92

    Simply an unbelievable roller coaster ride of an ending. I don’t know if any team is “owed” a last second win, but if there is one then it’s us. Overcame a lot (FSU’s D, missed FTs, missed goaltending calls) and found a way. Hopefully not another 27 years before we win 2 (and hopefully more) in a conference tourney.

  • abc

    I believe it was actually 19-27 at the break…. just to make it sound more pathetic. Great game, great finish!

  • VTGoad

    I’m still in disbelief that we won that game. FSU frustrated us with a very aggressive defense. You could see it in our teams faces and expressions, and especially could tell by all the fussing we did to the referees. FSU will do that to the best of teams though. That’s exactly how they beat Duke earlier this year. I’m very happy that our team never gave up in this game with the season on the line. Seemed like every time the game was slipping away, we found a way to avoid disaster. Hopefully we don’t look too worn down against Duke tomorrow. This is all just icing on the cake, but wouldn’t it be wild if we found a way into the acc championship game!!!

  • King

    Manny “Maniac” Atkins: 14 pts in 31 mins, 4-8 FG, 3-4 3pt, 3-5 FT

    Rest of team: 38 pts, 13-46 FG, 3-18 3pt, 9-16 FT

  • John

    how awesome this game was, especially being surrounded by FSU fans! Hokies!!

  • LuvzAznChix

    Damn…just dayum! Hello Big Dance (& hopefully @ least one-two wins in the tourney).

  • NYC Hokie

    unbelievable win against fsu. Immediately following the win, I thought, “VT is IN!!”. However, after letting the W settle in for a couple of hours, I think Tech may need to beat Duke to get in the tourney. gotta believe.

  • http://none Ryan Healy

    Haaaalllllleyuuuuuyaaaaaa!!!!

  • http://none Ryan Healy

    four years for this day, worth every minute

  • http://none Ryan Healy

    every tenth of a second… .00

  • Uncle Nick

    FWIW Kitchens shot was a 2, his foot clearly on the line. Ref had the two fingers out also.

    So was Malcolm out of bounds on the baseline? I couldn’t tell from any replay.

  • ryan

    @NYC, no.

  • Les

    re: disagreement

    It looks to me that Greenberg wants Malcolm to play off the ball more of late. We see Bell and Atkins being utilized more to handle the ball above the circle to relieve some of the wear and tear on Delaney & Green and minimize using Garland in pressure situations.

  • chrishokie

    Did anyone notice that when Green took his somewhat contested jumper that Atkins was wide open to his right for a 3? When FSU hit the buzzer shot I was wishing Green had made the extra pass because the extra point would have been huge and it would have taken a little more time off the clock. But, thankfully it worked out. Great play by Malcolm to get Green the ball and Allen’s steal was huge!

  • King

    Following the game, Lunardi still said we’re hanging on by a fingernail for one of the “Last 4 In” spots. Not exactly a resounding endorsement for a ticket to March Madness. NYC Hokie may be right on this. I’m nervous for our guys since they just finished a miraculous & emotionally draining game where only 6 guys played, all averaging nearly 30 minutes for the game. The game wrapped up around midnight, so you figure it was close to 1am when they finally got back to the hotel. Now they’ve got to turn around and get ready to play at 3pm against one of the best teams in the country. I hope we see a big basket today.

  • H-SCokie

    This team has transcended normal Hokie basketball for me. I found myself last night, of course rooting for them, but not at all a Hokie pride type of rooting where it’s ultimately about me. I was rooting for them just as people, it didn’t matter what name was on their jersey. To be so close so many times, to persevere through 4 years of adversity, to have overcome and keep grinding through death, disease, injuries and seemingly always on the wrong end of heartbreaking loses. It couldn’t happen to better people.

  • ryan

    King, NYC

    The thing is, he has as us at top of the last 4 out teams. All the teams under us lost already and can do no further damage. only 1 bid could potentially be stolen, being in the a-10 if Dayton wins tomorrow.

    there simply aren’t enough teams to leap us. we’re in.

  • King

    Ryan, while Lunardi is good at projecting the brackets…he’s not the one actually selecting the teams. The whole process is entirely subjective and shrouded in mystery. The Selection Committee has screwed us in the past and I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens again. There are no guarantees or sure things at this point. Also, you overlooked the fact that Boise St nearly knocked off Utah St tonight…they could’ve stole a bid from us, in addition to Dayton. And who’s to say that Harvard doesn’t get an at-large bid? They played a legit non-conference shcedule, have 23 wins and lost to Princeton at the buzzer. Maybe someone on the Selection Committee went there. Who in the heck really knows? I hope you’re right but I’m resigned to cautious optimism at this point.

  • King

    Ryan, like I was sayin…

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