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Seth Allen gets the game winner as Virginia Tech beats Georgia Tech 62-61. [Credit: Harley Taylor][/caption]The Virginia Tech Hokies came up short for the first time at home in almost a year this past Saturday against Notre Dame and entered tonight looking for a bounce back to stay comfortably away from the NCAA Tournament bubble. Georgia Tech gave the Hokies everything they had on a night where the Hokies struggled shooting the basketball but in the end, Virginia Tech got what they needed.
With 15 seconds to go, Seth Allen hit a game-winning layup that gave Virginia Tech a 62-61 victory over Georgia Tech to move both teams to 3-3 in ACC play. Protecting home floor is critical in the ACC and while the Hokies had their worst shooting night of the season, the Hokies found a way to win and keep themselves away from the bubble for now.
Virginia Tech's poor shooting came from all over the floor as the Hokies shot 40% from the field and 24% from beyond the arc, but they found ways to make up for that going 12-for-16 from the line compared to 9-for-15 from Georgia Tech. On top of that, the Hokies had a great game on the glass outrebounding GT 34-29 including 9-5 on the offensive glass and while that was slightly inflated by a serious of 2 or 3 offensive boards in a row in a 5-second first half stretch, this rebounding performance was quite impressive from VT.
The Hokies' senior leadership stepped up tonight starting with Seth Allen who continues to have the most efficient shooting season of his career and actually had a great night shooting the ball going 6-for-9 from the field including 3-for-6 from beyond the arc and 2-for-2 from the line on the way to having 17 points and 2 assists. Allen made some big shots and stepped up down the stretch when the Hokies he needed him the most to get the big win.
Allen's improved efficiency has definitely helped the Hokies make some improvements this year while his ability to make some big plays in big games once again showed down the stretch tonight in a game that the Hokies really needed to win to protect home-court. Allen's hustle also showed throughout the night making plays that were only because of that while also flying into the stands at one point trying to save a ball.
Zach LeDay was also big tonight as the senior forward had 17 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block on 6-for-10 shooting from the field and 5-for-7 shooting from the free-throw line. LeDay has had some quieter offensive games recently, but the undersized big man stepped up tonight against a Georgia Tech that had 10 blocks (including 8 from Ben Lammers), and did exactly what the Hokies needed him to do.
Chris Clarke did not start tonight for the first time this season after being late to practice earlier today, but Clarke made big plays once he got in the game as he had another double-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 important steal with 1:53 left and the game tied at 57. That steal was the latest example of Clarke making the type of winning plays that you want to see from a young, burgeoning star.
Justin Bibbs seemed to start breaking out of a slump tonight as he went 3-for-8 from beyond the arc with 9 points plus 3 rebounds and 4 assists. Meanwhile, Ahmed Hill and Ty Outlaw went a combined 0-for-6 from beyond the arc with Hill having 4 points and 1 assist plus 4 fouls that limited him to 19 minutes while Outlaw had 4 rebounds and an early block in his first career start.
The Hokies will need their wings to start shooting better, but Bibbs going 37.5% from three tonight is a positive sign that one of the Hokies' wings seems to be getting out of his slump.
Buzz Williams summed it up perfectly in regards to Justin Robinson tonight who had the "worst game" of his career shooting the ball with no points on 0-for-7 shooting while also having the "best game" of his career on the glass with 8 rebounds. Meanwhile, Khadim Sy had the Hokies' first 4 points plus a rebound in 11 minutes of action as it seems like Sy will stay around 10 to 13 minutes of action for the Hokies this season.
This game was far from the Hokies' best, but it was the type of game that showed the experience and character of this team with the Hokies winning the type of "off night" game that NCAA Tournament teams win. Virginia Tech now has a couple of big road games looming at Clemson on Sunday night and at North Carolina next Thursday night and if the Hokies can win one of those, they should start closing back in on the top 25 while pushing themselves farther away from the bubble.
It was quite ugly offensively for the Hokies tonight, but Virginia Tech found a way to get the job done and get a much-needed home win that gives them some momentum as they head on the road looking for their first ACC road win of the season against two NCAA Tournament-caliber opponents including one national title contender.
Postgame Player Reaction
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