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Virginia Tech stuns #2 Virginia in Charlottesville, 61-60 in OT

Virginia Tech stuns #2 Virginia in Charlottesville, 61-60 in OT

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Hokie Sports) – Virginia Tech rallied from a five-point deficit with 38 seconds remaining in overtime and pulled off a stunning Commonwealth Clash win, knocking off No. 2 Virginia 61-60 in an ACC game at John Paul Jones Arena on Saturday night.

The Tech-UVA men’s basketball game was presented by Virginia529, the official college savings plan of Virginia Tech Athletics and the University of Virginia Athletics. The score for the "Commonwealth Clash" is now 4.5-2 in favor of Virginia Tech. Learn more about Virginia529 and this competition at www.thecommonwealthclash.com.

The win marked the first time that the Hokies had beaten a top-five team on the road since downing then-No. 1 Wake Forest 78-71 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Jan. 21, 2009. It also marked their first in Charlottesville since 2012, a string of five straight losses.

The Hokies won their second straight game and their fifth in the past six contests. Tech moved to 18-7 overall, 7-5 in the ACC, and perhaps most importantly, avenged a 26-point loss to the Cavaliers on Jan. 3.

“There have been multiple games where we could have just stopped or quit or splintered apart,” Virginia Tech head coach Buzz Williams said. “It’s how their parents are. It’s the togetherness of those kids. Our staff has been phenomenal in their willingness to have high energy to coach and to help our guys be accountable in the changes we’ve made.

“I just hope we handle it in the right way. The margin in this league is unlike any time since I’ve been here. Everybody is beating up everybody. We’ve just started a very difficult stretch. I think we play three of the top-15 teams in the country over a 10-day period. Thankful for the start. We’ll have to be very mature in how we handle it going forward. There is still a long time to go.”

Tech trailed 59-54 after Virginia’s Isaiah Wilkins made two free throws with 38 seconds remaining. But the Hokies rallied, cutting the lead to 59-56 on a Kerry Blackshear Jr. layup with 30 seconds remaining. Then after Virginia’s Devon Hall made a free throw with 29 seconds to go, Tech’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker sliced the UVA lead to 60-59 on a 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining.

Tech fouled Hall again with 13 seconds to go, and Hall missed the front end of a one-and-one. Tech’s Justin Robinson pushed the ball up the court and to the rim, but missed. Blackshear, however, got the rebound and made a tough layup, getting fouled with six seconds left. He missed the free throw, leaving the Hokies with a 61-60 lead.

Virginia had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but Ty Jerome missed a long 3-point attempt at the buzzer, setting off a wild Tech celebration.

Robinson again paced the Hokies, scoring 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting. He also dished out seven assists. Alexander-Walker added 12 points on four 3-pointers.

Tech shot 43.1 percent and hit 11 3-pointers, while Virginia shot a season-worst 34.4 percent. The Hokies also out-rebounded Virginia 37-36.

“I wouldn’t say strategically it’s been any change from what we’ve taught in the beginning,” Williams said of his team’s defense. “It’s just been more of an emphasis on hold one another accountable, watching tape of ourselves and literally just practicing that. No drills, no offense, nothing. Just halfcourt defense, and in my opinion, it’s an incredible credit and speaks to the character of our guys that, in early February, they were willing to accept what we were saying and figure out a way to be accountable in what we had to do.”

GAME NOTES

• Tech’s field-goal percentage defense was its best against an ACC team this season.

• The Hokies moved to 10-1 on the season when out-rebounded their opponent.

• The Hokies have hit at least 10 3-pointers in a game on 13 occasions this season. They are 10-3 in those games.

• Robinson scored in double figures for the 12th straight game. He is averaging 17.5 points per game in that span.

• Robinson’s seven assists marked the 10th time this season in which he has dished out seven assists in a game.

• AleXander-Walker scored in double figures for the fourth time in the past five games. He is averaging 11.8 points per game in that span.

• Devin Wilson made his second consecutive start (fifth of the season) and tied a career-high with seven rebounds.

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