January 28, 2010
Hokies rally past in-state rival UVa in overtime
By Jimmy Robertson
12OTF
Virginia Tech (16-3 (3-2 ACC)) 28371176
Virginia (12-6 (3-2 ACC)) 2738671
  • Charlottesville, Va. (JPJA) - 13,449
  • High Points: 27 - Malcolm Delaney
  • High Rebounds: 7 - Jeff Allen, JT Thompson

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia Tech overcame double-digit deficits in both the first half and the second half and then dominated the overtime period en route to a thrilling 76-71 overtime victory over in-state rival Virginia on Thursday night at the John Paul Jones Arena.

With the victory, the Hokies moved to 16-3 overall on the season, 3-2 in the ACC. UVa fell to 12-6 overall, 3-2 in the league.

“I was really proud of our resiliency,” Tech head coach Seth Greenberg said. “I was really proud of how tough we were defensively. I was proud of how hard we ran our offense and our toughness. We’re a good team when we get stops and we had so many guys step up.”

Tech certainly found its mettle in this one. The Hokies trailed by 12 in the first half after a basket by UVa’s Mike Scott with 5:20 to go, but they closed the half with an 18-5 run and took a 28-27 lead at halftime. In the second half, Tech trailed by 10 with 3:42 remaining following a basket by the Cavaliers’ Jeff Jones, but again, the Hokies responded.

After Jones’ basket, Tech went on an 11-0 run, taking a 63-62 lead with 39 seconds to go on a tough basket by JT Thompson – who was fantastic for the Hokies on this night. UVa’s Sylven Landesberg missed a shot with 13.6 seconds left and the Cavaliers fouled Malcolm Delaney with 10 ticks remaining. Delaney made both free throws to give the Hokies a 65-62 lead.

UVa then came down quickly and look disorganized on offense. Sammy Zeglinski found the ball in his hands with the clock winding down and launched a deep 3-pointer over Delaney’s hand with just over a second to go to tie game and send it into overtime.

“When I hit the shot, I didn’t get too crazy because we’ve had so many big shots hit against us and I knew something was about to happen,” Thompson said. “My thought then was let’s try to get this win in overtime.”

In the overtime period, the Hokies scored the first five points and never looked back. The Cavaliers made just two baskets in the overtime period – 3-pointers by Zeglinski and Jones – but missed their other four attempts from the floor and turned the ball over twice.

“We’ve really tried to tell our guys to enjoy overtime,” Greenberg said. “You’ve got five more minutes to play in this environment, in this atmosphere. You’ve found so many ways to get back in the game twice. Just stay with it and trust each other and support each other and that’s what they did.”

Delaney paced the Hokies with a game-high 27 points, hitting 9-of-24 from the floor, but 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Dorenzo Hudson added 18 points, hitting 7-of-14 from the floor – including all three of his 3-point attempts.

Thompson, though, was probably the hero for the Hokies. Seeing extensive minutes because of Jeff Allen’s ejection – Allen was ejected with 13:41 remaining after a flagrant foul – Thompson tied his season high with 17 points, with 15 of those coming in the second half. He made 6-of-9 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed seven rebounds.

“When another player goes down, another player has to step up,” Thompson said. “That’s what a team is and that’s what players had to do. I’m a guy who tries to bring energy and that’s what I was trying to do out there. When I saw Jeff go out, I knew I had to step it up.”

“JT was so tough and so determined,” Greenberg said. “It was good to see him play that way because we’ve been missing that. That’s a piece we’ve been missing.”

UVa got 21 points from Mike Scott. But Scott didn’t score the final 11:16 of the game. Landesberg finished with 18 points and Jones had 12 for the Cavaliers.

The Hokies will remain on the road, as they prepare for their next ACC contest. Tech takes on Miami on Sunday in a game that will tip off at 1 p.m.

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

For updates on the Hokies, follow Jimmy Robertson on Twitter (@jrobIHS).

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