DURHAM, N.C. – Virginia Tech got a career game from Cadarian Raines and 16 second-half points from Erick Green, but the Hokies couldn’t overcome No. 5 Duke, falling 70-65 in overtime in an ACC game played Saturday afternoon at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
With the loss, the Hokies fell to 15-14 on the season and 4-10 in the ACC, while Duke, which has beaten the Hokies in seven of the past eight meetings, improved to 25-4, 12-2 in league play. The loss marked the Hokies’ seventh ACC loss by five points or less this season.
“It’s part of basketball; it’s the ACC,” Green said. “We’re going to be in tight games. We’re going to be in close games that come down to the end. We’ve got to strap up, and we’ve got to make some plays when it comes down to the end. That’s the key thing.
“We fought so hard. I’m so proud of these guys. We’re getting better and better. To come in here to Cameron with a young squad – not to make excuses – but with a young squad and play the way we did, we did a great job. I just wish we could have finished this one off.”
In a game that featured eight second-half ties and eight second-half lead changes alone (13 ties and 12 lead changes for the game), Tech had a chance to upset the nation’s fifth-ranked team in regulation. Duke’s Austin Rivers tied the game at 58 after making the second of two free throws with 32 seconds left. The Hokies held the ball, and Green took the ball to the basket in the waning moments.
He shot a tough jumper over Duke’s Tyler Thornton with less than 5 seconds left that glanced off the rim, and then Raines missed a put-back attempt with a second to go. Mason Plumlee grabbed the rebound for Duke as time expired, sending the game into overtime.
“I wanted to go one-on-one,” Green said. “I hit him [Thornton] with the first move and had him going back. I should have pulled up on the first move instead of waiting on the second move. He didn’t bite.
“I thought I got hit on the arm, but I’m not making any excuses. I missed it. Cadarian had a great rebound, and I thought it was going to go in. It didn’t, and we went into overtime.”
In overtime, Miles Plumlee scored the first basket, and Duke never trailed again. The Hokies cut Duke’s lead to one, 64-63, on a jumper by Dorenzo Hudson with 1:19 left – a shot that Tech’s contingent felt was a 3-pointer. But Mason Plumlee hit one of two free throws with 51.1 seconds remaining to give Duke a 65-63 lead. After a Hudson miss, Rivers made one of two free throws with 19.4 seconds to build the Duke lead to 66-63.
Following Rivers’ free throw, Green drove the lane and missed an open lay-up with 9 seconds remaining. Miles Plumlee grabbed the rebound and his two free throws gave the Blue Devils a 68-63 bulge, essentially sealing the game.
“We got good shots the whole overtime,” Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. “Jarell Eddie had a good pull-up. Erick had the break when we were going for the quick two. Dorenzo was making shots, and he was trying to make a play. He was seeing a big basket, and I thought he played really hard.
“I’ve been telling you guys for three weeks that we were getting better. But obviously, you want the reward. We didn’t get the reward, but that doesn’t mean we’re not getting better.”
Duke made 8 of 12 from the free-throw line in overtime and 24 of 34 for the game. Tech made 7 of 16 from the free-throw line.
Green scored all 16 of his points in the second half, extending his streak of scoring in double figures to 30 games. Raines scored a career-high 16 points and grabbed five rebounds, and Hudson also finished with 16 points and five boards. Dorian Finney-Smith grabbed 12 rebounds, but hit just 2 of 11 from the floor and 1 of 8 from the free-throw line.
Rivers paced Duke with 23 points, hitting 5 of 12 from the floor and 11 of 17 from the free-throw line. Seth Curry added 19 points for the Blue Devils, who shot just 38.5 percent from the floor, but out-rebounded the Hokies 44-38 and made up for the scoring differential at the free-throw line.
Tech travels to Clemson, S.C., for its next game. The Hokies take on Clemson on Thursday, with the tip-off 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).