Jeff Allen scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Virginia Tech held Boston College to just one field goal in the final three minutes to pull away from the Eagles 79-71 in an Atlantic Coast Conference game on Saturday evening at Cassell Coliseum.
The win – the Hokies’ fourth straight over Boston College – marked Tech’s third straight overall and its seventh in the past eight games. Tech moved to 12-5 overall on the season, 2-1 in the ACC. It also gave Tech head coach Seth Greenberg his 100th victory as the Hokies’ head coach.
“That just means I’ve had some good players and I haven’t screwed them up,” Greenberg joked.
BC fell to 13-6 overall, 1-3 in the league and lost for the fourth straight time since knocking off then-No. 1 North Carolina 85-78 in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Jan. 4.
Allen, a 6-foot-7 sophomore from Washington, D.C., scored 17 of his points in the second half and hit 11-of-16 from the floor. He also connected on 7-of-12 from the free-throw line, and he blocked three shots, as the Hokies blocked a season-high eight in the game.
“I wasn’t even thinking about myself during the game or about what type of game I was having,” said Allen, who surpassed his previous career high of 22 set on Nov. 21 against Xavier. “I knew it was going to be a defensive game and that we were going to have to rebound. That’s all I was worried about.”
“Jeff was magnificent,” Greenberg said. “We did a great job of getting him the ball and he did a great job of attacking. We did a good job with spacing and we got him the ball early. He’s been working hard and we’re seeing the benefits of that.”
BC tied the game at 54 in the second half on two free throws by Joe Trapani with under 13 minutes to play, but the Eagles never recaptured the lead. Tech gradually built its lead back to as much as five, but Trapani’s 3-pointer later cut the Hokie lead to 70-68 with 3:07 left.
The Hokies, though, hit 9-of-13 free throws in the final minute to pull away, with Malcolm Delaney hitting 5-of-6 from the stripe. BC’s only points in the final three minutes came when Tyrese Rice hit a 3-pointer with 16.8 seconds to go to cut the Tech lead to 77-71. Delaney’s two free throws with 16 seconds left provided the final margin.
Tech’s defense in the final three minutes may have been the difference. BC hit just one of its final seven shots and turned the ball over twice.
“We went to a smaller lineup to be able to switch those screens,” Greenberg said. “That helped us and we rebounded. That was the difference.”
As a team, the Hokies shot 49.1 percent from the floor and held BC to 40.7 percent. Tech also out-rebounded the Eagles 38-29 and committed just 10 turnovers.
“I thought that was as well as we’ve played for an extended period of time all season,” Greenberg said. “We were consistent with our effort and our execution. We had a lot of different guys contribute and we were tough when we had to be tough.”
Delaney scored 19 points for the Hokies and A.D. Vassallo added 16.
Trapani finished with a career-high 23 for the Eagles. Rice, BC’s leading scorer at 17.5 points per game, scored 19, but hit just 6-of-19 from the floor, including 3-of-8 from beyond the 3-point arc.
The Hokies, who cleaned up on this three-game homestand, now hit the road for their toughest test of the season. Tech travels to Winston-Salem, N.C., for a game against No. 3 Wake Forest on Wednesday. The Demon Deacons moved to 16-0 on the season by beating previously unbeaten Clemson 78-68 at Clemson. Tip off for the Tech-Wake game is at 7 p.m.
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