December 1, 2010
Hokies fall in OT to Purdue
By Jimmy Robertson
12OTF
(22) Purdue (6-1) 2526758
Virginia Tech (4-3) 2130455
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 9,847
  • High Points: 14 - Jeff Allen
  • High Rebounds: 11 - Terrell Bell

BLACKSBURG – Jeff Allen scored 14 points and Tech’s defense held Purdue to just 36.2 percent shooting from the floor, but it wasn’t enough to overcome JaJuan Johnson and the Boilermakers, as Tech fell to Purdue 58-55 in overtime in an ACC-Big Ten Challenge game played Wednesday night at Cassell Coliseum.

With the loss, the Hokies dropped their second straight, falling to 4-3 overall on the season. Purdue, ranked No. 18 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll and No. 22 in The Associated Press poll, moved to 6-1.

“There’s a fine line between winning and losing,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “Between a good season and a great season. We’ve got to find a way to get over that line right now.

“It’s not about our record, 4-3. It’s our seventh game of the season and we’ve played a terrific schedule. It’s nothing about record right now. It’s about us getting better. We’ve got our first league game on Sunday. We’ve played a good schedule. I saw huge improvement in our basketball team. We’ve just got to get better.

“The last time I checked, maybe one team is going undefeated. The rest of us are going to fight and claw and scratch to win games. We’ve got a small margin of error, but I like our team. I think we’re doing some good things, and as we get some more guys contributing, we’re going to be even better.”

In overtime, Tech led by a point, 55-54, after a Dorenzo Hudson free throw with 1:45 left. But Johnson hit a jumper with 1:27 left that gave the Boilermakers at 56-55 lead.

On the ensuing possession, the Hokies’ Jeff Allen turned the ball over, as Purdue’s Terone Johnson stole Allen’s pass to Dorenzo Hudson. JaJuan Johnson then missed a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left as the shot clock ran down, but the Hokies couldn’t corral the rebound and the ball went out of bounds off a Tech player, giving Purdue the ball. Tech then fouled E’twaun Moore, who sank 1-of-2 from the line with 23.8 seconds left to give Purdue a 57-55 lead.

Tech called a timeout with 16 seconds remaining to set up a play. But Malcolm Delaney stumbled and lost the ball while trying to drive toward the basket with three seconds left to play. A group of players got hands on the ball and the officials called a jump ball. Purdue retained possession, and Tech again fouled Moore, who hit 1-of-2 with 2.6 seconds left to give the Boilermakers a 58-55 lead. Moore missed the second, but Purdue’s Lewis Jackson got the rebound and ran out the clock.

“We were trying to get the ball to Jeff, but they overplayed him,” Delaney said. “So with five seconds left, I just tried to make a quick move.”

Tech appeared to be in good shape in regulation, leading 51-49 after a Terrell Bell free throw with 21.9 seconds remaining, but after a timeout, Purdue went inside to Johnson, who hit a jump hook with 8.8 seconds left to tie the game at 51.

The Hokies pushed the ball up the court and tried to get a good look. But Johnson stepped out on Delaney, forcing Tech’s guard to shoot a tough shot along the baseline that bounced off the rim as the horn sounded, sending the game into overtime.

“I wish I had that play back,” Greenberg said. “I was hoping we’d get something in transition. I was hoping we’d get what we call a ‘drag,’ where we get a quick screen in the backcourt and get some space. But we fumbled it in the backcourt and then we didn’t get back to that point. We got fanned to the baseline.

“I was hoping we could get it to the middle of the floor. I probably should have snagged the official then [and called timeout] when he [Delaney] went outside instead of turning it up the court.”

Johnson, a 6-foot-10 senior, finished the game with 29 points for Purdue – one short of his career high. He hit 11-of-24 from the floor and 6-of-9 from the free-throw line. Moore added 14 points.

Allen paced Tech with the 14 points and had nine rebounds, as the Hokies out-rebounded Purdue 42-34. Victor Davila played his best game of the season, scoring 12 points, grabbing six rebounds and blocking three shots before fouling out with 1:46 remaining in regulation.

Delaney struggled in this one, hitting just 2-of-18 from the floor and 1-of-6 from beyond the 3-point arc. He finished with nine points.

“A lot,” Delaney said when asked how much this loss hurt. “I played horrible. We missed free throws [Tech went 15-of-21 from the line]. We missed block outs. When we needed second-chance points, we didn’t get them. We played hard, but it wasn’t good enough.”

Tech opens conference play on Sunday when rival Virginia comes to Cassell Coliseum. Tip-off for the game is 6 p.m.

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