January 13, 2011
Hokies come up short against UNC, 64-61
By Jimmy Robertson
12F
Virginia Tech (10-5, 1-2 ACC) 313061
North Carolina (12-4, 2-0 ACC) 244064
  • Smith Center, Chapel Hill - 21,089
  • High Points: 28 - Malcolm Delaney
  • High Rebounds: 7 - Jeff Allen, Victor Davila

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Virginia Tech’s Malcolm Delaney made nearly every 3-pointer he took against the North Carolina Tar Heels, but his attempt in the waning moments was just off the mark, and the Tar Heels rallied past the Hokies 64-61 in an ACC game played Thursday at the Dean E. Smith Center.

The loss snapped Tech’s six-game winning streak and moved the Hokies to 10-5 overall on the season, 1-2 in the ACC. North Carolina is now 12-4, 2-0.

The Hokies trailed 62-58 after UNC’s Tyler Zeller connected with 1:01 remaining, but Delaney buried a 3 with 47 seconds left to cut the lead to one, 62-61. Zeller then missed a shot inside for the Tar Heels, giving the Hokies a final chance.

Without any timeouts, Delaney took a 3-pointer with seven seconds left that looked good once it left his hand. But the shot bounced off the rim and the Tar Heels rebounded. Tech then fouled Kendall Marshall with 2.8 seconds to go, and Marshall made both free throws extend the lead to 64-61. Tech’s Erick Green tried to throw a halfcourt pass after Marshall’s second free throw, but Dexter Strickland stole it to end the game.

“It looked dead on, but it was a little short,” Delaney said of his final shot. “I got a little separation like I wanted. I just didn’t hit the shot.”

“I thought it was a pretty good play,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “We wanted to run a quick, which is a quick ball screen in transition. It was a little later than I would have liked. I would have liked for him [Delaney] to be able to turn the corner, but I can’t complain about the shot. He was seeing a big basket and he was the guy we wanted to get the ball to.”

Delaney paced the Hokies with 28 points, hitting 8 of 18 from the floor, including 7 of 12 from beyond the 3-point arc. He also finished with five assists and four steals.

Tech controlled much of the game, jumping out to a 12-2 lead and expanding that lead to as many as 16 points in the first half. The Hokies led by 10 with 17:12 remaining in the game, but with players like Green, Jeff Allen and Manny Atkins suffering from cramps and missing portions of the second half – and the Hokies already down to eight scholarship players – the Tar Heels went on a 14-3 run to claim a 43-42 lead on John Henson’s basket with 9:36 remaining.

“We started losing some bodies, “ Delaney said. “Our game plan was not to just play zone. We were going to switch our defenses up a lot. But foul trouble and people cramping up changed the whole game plan.

“But we lost the game. We had the game in position. We came out and made the first punch. In the second half, we just didn’t put them away.”

“We’re not going to spend any time throwing a pity party,” Greenberg said. “We play on Saturday at eight and that’s what it is. We’re going to go and play Saturday and we’re going to play our tails off. We’re going to play to win.

“It is what it is. You can’t change it, so let’s go out and play some ball.”

Henson scored 12 of his 17 points to pace the Tar Heels, who shot 41.3 percent for the game and out-rebounded Tech 46-33. The Hokies shot 39.6 percent from the floor, but made 11 3-pointers – a season high.

Green was the only other player in double figures for the Hokies, finishing with 10. Zeller added 16 and nine rebounds for the Tar Heels, while Harrison Barnes ended up with 12

Tech continues ACC play on Saturday when the Hokies return home to play Wake Forest. Tip-off is slated for 8 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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