BLACKSBURG – Robert Brown’s game-winning 3-point attempt at the buzzer glanced off the iron, and the Virginia Tech Hokies dropped a 70-68 heartbreaker to Brigham Young in a non-conference game Wednesday night at Cassell Coliseum.
With the loss, Tech fell to 12-8 overall on the season. BYU moved to 18-5.
The Hokies trailed 70-66 after BYU’s Brock Zylstra buried a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left – his only basket of the game – and Noah Hartsock hit one of two free throws with 15.9 seconds remaining. But Erick Green answered for Tech on a layup with 10 seconds remaining, and on the ensuing inbounds play, the Hokies forced a BYU turnover with 9.8 seconds to go, giving them a final attempt at a tie or win.
Following a timeout underneath its basket, Tech got the ball into the backcourt to Green, who drove down the lane to the basket and took a shot. Hartsock came over and tipped the ball, but Green retrieved it and threw it to Jarell Eddie, who tossed it to Brown. The sophomore from Florida rushed a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer that bounced off the rim.
“I tried to attack and make a play,” Green said. “Everything happened right. I went in there too worried about drawing the foul instead of just worrying about getting the basket.
“I thought it was in there until he [Hartsock] blocked it. Well, he didn't really block it. He nipped it and got some air off of it and distracted the shot."
"On the last play, they [the Cougars] surprised us,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “They had been going zone [defense] on underneath out-of-bounds plays, and they went man. It worked to our advantage because when we threw it out, they overran the pass and gave Erick a 5-on-4 situation. He got in the lane and had a chance to score the ball. I'll take that any time."
Green scored all 11 of his points in the second half, extending his streak of scoring in double figures to 21 straight games. Dorenzo Hudson paced the Hokies with 14 points off the bench, and both Victor Davila and Eddie added 12 each. Eddie finished with a career-high 14 rebounds for his first career double-double.
Tech shot better than BYU despite missing its first 15 shots from the floor. Tech went the first 6:55 of the game without scoring, getting its first point when Eddie made the second of three free-throw attempts. Tech’s first basket came on a C.J. Barksdale stick-back with 10:17 left in the first half, but the Hokies ended up shooting 42.9 percent for the game compared to 33.3 for BYU.
But the Hokies committed 15 turnovers against BYU’s zone, and Tech made just 15 of 23 from the line.
“When you're having a special season, all those two-point games go your way, whether it's Wake or BC or Minnesota or this game,” Greenberg said. “Unfortunately, at this point, we haven't been as fortunate as we'd like to be. But I think this team is pretty good.”
Hartsock led the Cougars with 22 points, while Brandon Davies added 17.
Tech, which finished its non-conference slate, returns to ACC action this Saturday when it travels to College Park, Md., to take on Maryland. Tip-off is slated for 2:30 p.m.
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