January 31, 2009
Hokies fall at Boston College, 67-66
By Jimmy Robertson
Virginia Tech (14-7, 4-3 ACC) 214566
Boston College (17-6, 5-3 ACC) 234467
  • Silvio O. Conte Forum, Chestnut Hill, MA - 8,428
  • High Points: 23 - Jeff Allen
  • High Rebounds: 11 - Jeff Allen

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Virginia Tech’s A.D. Vassallo scored all 21 of his points in the second half, but Rakim Sanders’ stick-back of a Tyrese Rice miss with four-tenths of a second remaining turned out the be the difference as Boston College downed the Hokies 67-66 in a hard-fought ACC game played Saturday night at Conte Forum.

The loss marked Tech’s second straight and dropped the Hokies to 14-7 overall, 4-3 in the ACC. BC, which snapped a four-game losing streak to the Hokies, won its fourth straight and moved to 17-6 overall 5-3 in the league.

Trailing by one, 65-64, Tech called a timeout with 17.9 seconds left and set up a play for Vassallo, who drove hard to the basket and was fouled by BC guard Corey Raji. Vassallo hit both free throws with 14.5 seconds left to give Tech a 66-65 lead.

The Eagles called a timeout and then brought the ball down. Rice took an off-balance shot, but Sanders got the rebound and scored, giving the Eagles a 67-66 lead.

“That was the last thing I told our guys coming out of that timeout,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “The first shot wasn’t going to beat us. It was going to be the second one. We were able to get Tyrese Rice to take a tough shot. It’s tough because you’ve got to help on him, but then you’ve got to go and cut someone out. Give him credit, Sanders made a play.

“This is just the way the ACC is. There is a fine line between relief and misery. I told our guys after the game that we were going to go through this nine more times this season.”

Tech had one last gasp. The Hokies called a timeout following Sanders’ basket and set up a play, but Jeff Allen’s length-of-the-court pass was deflected out of bounds and the buzzer sounded.

Vassallo hit 7-of-14 from the floor, including 2-of-5 from beyond the 3-point arc, and he hit 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. He did not get the start in this one – Greenberg cited it as a “coaches decision.” He sat the first 7:35 of the game before entering the contest at the 12:25 mark.

“It was a little different because I haven’t been in that situation much,” Vassallo said of coming off the bench. “I didn’t feel right and I was rushing it a bit. But in the second half, I let the game come to me and Coach got me going a little bit. I was able to take advantage. I had good shots and I was able to knock them down.”

In the first half, Tech struggled to get going missing 14 of its first 18 shots. The Hokies trailed by as many as seven in the first 20 minutes, but they tightened their defense, forcing the Eagles to miss their final eight shots from the floor, and an 8-2 run at the end of the half got Tech to within two, 23-21, at the break.

Allen notched a double-double to lead the Hokies. He scored 23 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the floor and grabbed 11 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season and the 16th of his career. Delaney scored 18 points, hitting 7-of-14 from the floor, and he dished out five assists.

As a team, Tech shot just 40 percent from the floor and got out-rebounded 35-32 for the game.

BC got 16 points from Rice, who hit just 6-of-18. Joe Trapani added 13 points, while Sanders finished with 12 and Tyler Roche had 10. The Eagles shot 42.9 percent from the floor.

Tech now gets a week off before hitting the hardwood again. The Hokies take on N.C. State at Cassell Coliseum on Sunday, Feb. 8th. Tip off for the game is slated for 1:30 p.m.

For updates on Virginia Tech men's basketball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_MBBall).

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