February 4, 2012
Hokies hold on down the stretch to knock off Clemson
By Jimmy Robertson
Clemson (11-11, 3-5) 283765
Virginia Tech (13-10, 2-6) 422567
  • Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va. - 9,426
  • High Points: 15 - Jarell Eddie
  • High Rebounds: 8 - Dorian Finney-Smith

BLACKSBURG – Virginia Tech’s Jarell Eddie scored 15 points, and the Hokies withstood a furious Clemson rally down the stretch, holding off the Tigers 67-65 in an ACC game played Saturday afternoon at Cassell Coliseum.

With the win, Tech moved to 13-10 overall, 2-6 in the ACC. Clemson fell to 11-11, 3-5 in the league.

Tech seemed to have the game in control, leading 64-50 following a Dorian Finney-Smith 3-pointer from the corner with 5:57 remaining. But the Tigers used pressure defense to get back in the game, going on a 15-3 run and cutting the Tech lead to 67-65 on a jumper by Tanner Smith with 27 seconds left in the game.

Clemson then fouled Victor Davila with 24 seconds left, but Davila missed the front end of a one-and-one, giving the Tigers the ball with a chance to tie or win it. The Tigers called a timeout with 11 seconds left and got the ball into the hands of K.J. McDaniels, who was fouled by Eddie while driving to the basket with 3.3 seconds to go.

McDaniels, who was shooting less than 60 percent from the free-throw line going into this game, missed the first free throw. He intentionally missed the second one, and a tipped ball found its way into the hands of Tigers forward Tanner Smith. Smith launched a short baseline jumper as time expired that bounced off the rim, enabling the Hokies to escape with the win.

It almost turned into a typical Tech-Clemson game,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “Whoever led the whole game was going to lose. Fortunately, for us, we survived.

“I'm really proud of our guys. This hasn't been the easiest last three weeks, and I thought their approach and energy were really good. I thought we got worn down at the end. We stopped guarding the ball, and we gave them angles for rebounds and we couldn't finish plays. I thought executed just well enough to win it. It was a win we needed. It gives us something to build on.”

Tech did not score from the floor in the final 5:57, but Eddie’s 15 points and a slump-busting game from Finney-Smith were enough to lift the Hokies. Finney-Smith scored in double figures for the first time since the Hokies’ victory over North Florida on Dec. 19. He finished with 12 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the floor and he also grabbed eight rebounds.

I think my energy level was up, and I was around the ball,” Finney-Smith said. “I got some offensive rebounds and hit some layups and got to the rim. The basket then got bigger.”

McDaniels and Andre Young scored 14 points each to lead the Tigers, who were plagued by poor shooting throughout and hit just 37.9 percent for the game. Devin Booker had a double-double, with 11 points and 11 rebounds, and Smith added 10 points.

The Hokies return to action next Thursday night when they take on the Miami Hurricanes in Coral Gables, Fla. Tipoff is slated for 9 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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