BLACKSBURG – Jeff Allen dominated the final four minutes of the game and the Hokies drilled seven of their eight free-throw attempts in the final 45 seconds to outlast in-state rival Virginia 61-55 in an ACC game played Saturday night at Cassell Coliseum.
With their fourth straight victory – and seventh in the past eight games – the Hokies moved to 20-4 on the season, 7-3 in the ACC, and they remained a perfect 13-0 at home this season. Virginia, which has lost to Tech five times in the past six meetings between the two, fell to 14-8, 5-4 in the ACC.
Allen, who was ejected from the game at UVa a couple of weeks ago after a flagrant foul, only played two minutes in the first half after picking up two quick fouls, but came in the second half to score all 13 of his points, including eight in the final four minutes.
“I was determined to finish what I wanted to start in the first half,” Allen said. “In the first half, I wanted to go out and play, but that didn’t happen. I got the two quick fouls. Coach talked to me at halftime and told me to play through it. So I played through it.”
“It was really special. I couldn’t go two games without doing anything against UVa.”
With Tech trailing 51-48, Allen turned the momentum of the game when he drove right at UVa’s Mike Scott, made the basket and got fouled, nailing the free throw for a three-point play that tied the score with 1:51 remaining in the game. On UVa’s next possession, Calvin Baker missed a jumper with 1:36 remaining and Tech’s Terrell Bell garnered the rebound.
The Hokies called a timeout with 1:27 to go, and after the timeout, Allen found himself open on the wing and drained a 3-pointer with 1:14 remaining to give the Hokies a 54-51 lead.
“I work on that,” Allen said of the 3-pointer. “Coach told me, ‘Don’t work on it if you’re not going to shoot it.’ I’m working on it, so I’m going to shoot it.”
UVa’s Sylven Landesberg missed a 3-pointer with 58 seconds left and Sammy Zeglinski got the rebound. But Allen stole the ball from Zeglinski and Tech’s JT Thompson was fouled with 45 seconds left. Thompson made them both and the Hokies made free throws the rest of the way to put the game away.
Allen made 4-for-7 from the floor in the second half, including both of his 3-point attempts, and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line.
“For Jeff to have the composure, after picking up two fouls in two minutes, and then coming back in the second half with a great sense of purpose and focus just speaks volumes of where he is right now,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “And he’s a big reason where our team is.”
Dorenzo Hudson led the Hokies with 15 points, hitting 6-of-13 from the floor. Malcolm Delaney added 13 points, and despite hitting just 4-for-16 (1-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc), he did grab eight rebounds and dish out four assists.
Virginia got a monster game from Scott, who scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Scott made 8-for-16 from the floor. Landesberg finished with 17 points.
The Hokies remain home for their next ACC contest. Tech takes on Wake Forest on Tuesday night at Cassell Coliseum. The tip off for the game is 7 p.m.
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