25 Years Ago Today: 2/6/88 – Virginia Tech 141, southern miss 133 (2 OTs)
There have been some thrilling victories for the Hokies in the Cassell over the years, from the two wins over No. 1 and later No. 2 memphis state in the mid-80s, to the NIT Quarterfinal win over new mexico state in 1995, to the ACC wins over No. 1 unc in 2007 and No. 1 duke in 2011. But there has probably never been a more exciting game in the Cassell than the one that took place exactly 25 years ago today.
Here are some of the eye-popping numbers and records from what some consider the most exciting game ever played at Cassell Coliseum:
- 274 combined points – still the highest single game point total for VT (141) and an opponent (133)
- Tied 110-110 at the end of regulation – still the most combined points scored in regulation at the Cassell (220)
- Bimbo Coles – 51 points on 16/30 FGs, 1/2 threes, and 18/27 FTs (second highest single game total in VT history behind Allan Bristow’s 52 in 1973; still the most FTs attempted by a Hokie in a game)
- Wally Lancaster added 39 points, including five three-pointers, for Tech. That’s 90 points combined from Coles and Lancaster.
- southern miss had four different players score 20+ points, led by John White’s 41
- Just three weeks earlier, southern miss had defeated VT 127-102 in Hattiesburg, meaning the teams combined for 503 points in their two games that season
- LINK to the BOX SCORE (scroll down)
Dr. Quinton Nottingham, who is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Business Information Technology within the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech, played in that game for the Hokies and was nice enough to talk with us about the experience.
- TechHoops: Unfortunately, YouTube didn’t exist back then so all we know of this game now is a box score. Tell me what the game was like against Metro Conference foe southern mississippi.
- Dr. Nottingham: Interestingly, our style of play didn’t change the entire season. It just so happened that we played a team that liked to press, run and shoot the three just as we did… thus, resulting in a high-scoring game. From the tip to the end of the second overtime, we pressed and ran the floor — nonstop. We were down at the half but weren’t concerned because we knew that basketball was a game of runs and we would get one or two over the course of the second half (which we did). From our — the players’ — perspective, we knew/felt that it was a high-scoring game but we never thought it would be the highest scoring game in Cassell history.
- TechHoops: The Hokies were down 62-48 at the half, what did you do to get back in the game?
- Dr. Nottingham: We just continued to press and do what we did all season. The success of our press and our aggressive play had us thinking that we could beat anyone and that we could overcome any deficit.
- TechHoops: How exhausted was everyone by the second overtime?
- Dr. Nottingham: Fatigue was never an issue in that game. We practiced hard and played hard. When a team presses for 40 minutes night in and night out, fatigue is a nonissue.
- TechHoops: You had nine points on 2/4 three-pointers that night. What is your favorite personal memory from that game?
- Dr. Nottingham: Whenever I think of that game, the first memory is the beginning of the game. I was guarding Casey Fisher (who seemed to have unlimited range on his jumper) and Coach Allen told me to face guard him all night and force him to put the ball on the floor. On one possession, Casey got the ball about 27 feet from the basket and I was guarding him. I looked at him and said, “I’ll give you that,” and he drained it — right in front of our bench. Coach Allen said, “Q, you can’t give him that jumper.” I had the biggest smile on my face in that game and even at writing this. Southern Miss was a good team and they had a couple of NBA guys on that squad.
- TechHoops: On paper it looks like arguably the most exciting game in Virginia Tech history — tied at 110 at the end of regulation and 274 combined points for the game in 50 minutes. Having now been a part of Virginia Tech basketball since the mid-1980s have you ever seen a better game?
- Dr. Nottingham: It was a fun game to play and to be a part of. But there have been many exciting games in Cassell Coliseum since I enrolled in 1984. The game against No. 1 Memphis State in Cassell Coliseum was exciting — I don’t think anyone sat down during the entire course of the game. Even though we lost to UMass by 16 in 1996 (when they had Marcus Camby), the atmosphere in the Cassell was electric. I was doing radio at the time and it seemed that with media requests, it was standing room only in the building. Lastly, the New Mexico State game to get to MSG for the NIT Semifinals… the crowd was amazing and the game was exciting with numerous lead changes throughout.
- TechHoops: Could that team play with the Hokie teams of today?
- Dr. Nottingham: Really? I don’t really see anything special about the Hokie teams today to make me wonder if that’s even a legit question. I’ve had a few conversations with people regarding the 1995 NIT Championship team and if they were as good as we were — which I’m not convinced that they were. I’m convinced that our defensive pressure was as good as any team past and present.
A special thanks to Dr. Nottingham for sharing his memories of this game with us!
About Dr. Nottingham:
Dr. Quinton Nottingham is an Associate Professor in the Department of Business Information Technology within the Pamplin College of Business at Virginia Tech. He received the Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. degrees in Statistics from Virginia Tech. While at Virginia Tech, Dr. Nottingham was also a member of the Virginia Tech basketball team (1986-1989). He also served as the color commentator for the Virginia Tech basketball radio broadcasts from 1993-1996. Dr. Nottingham has served on the board of various professional organizations such as the Vice President of Finance, Program Chair, and President for Southeast Decision Sciences Institute, a board member on the Virginia Tech Athletic Foundation (VTAF), University Club, and the Virginia Tech Monogram Club. He is a member of the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS), Southeast INFORMS, and the Decision Sciences Institute (DSI).