PITTSBURGH, Pa. – In a game that saw eight ties and 10 lead changes, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team was unable to hold on at No. 25/22 Pittsburgh, falling 62-57 in double overtime at the Petersen Events Center on Saturday. Senior Jarell Eddie led the Hokies with 15 points in the hard-fought battle, while Cameron Wright had 18 points for the Panthers.
Outside of two instances, once in the opening minutes of action and again in the second overtime, neither team ever held a lead of more than two possessions throughout the entire game. Pittsburgh (20-4, 8-3 ACC) scored on five of its first six possessions to jump out to a 13-5 lead in the opening minutes of the game and force a Tech timeout before the first media timeout.
The Hokies (8-15, 1-10 ACC) responded after the regrouping and went on an 8-0 run of their own, with half of the points coming from Trevor Thompson. Ben Emelogu capped off the run with a long 3-pointer to give Tech its first lead of the game at 14-13 with less than 11 minutes remaining in the half.
The two teams swapped leads until the very end of the first half, and the Panthers eventually held on to a slight lead at the break (27-26).
Tech wasted no time regaining the advantage in the second half, as Emelogu drained his second 3 of the day on the first possession. The Hokies were able to hold on to the lead for much of the second half, but a 3-pointer by James Robinson with 6:44 left to play in regulation put Pittsburgh ahead for the first time in the new half.
It seemed as though the momentum would shift in the Panthers’ favor with less than five minutes to play when Wright tipped away a Hokie pass and danced his way down the scorers table in an effort to save the ball. He kept it in bounds, tipping it back to the middle of the court to James Robinson, who scored the fastbreak layup and ignited the crowd.
The Hokies were not rattled by the big play, and less than a minute later, Eddie connected from 3-point range to tie the game at 44. Tech scored four points in the final three minutes of regulation and held the Panthers scoreless until Robinson was fouled on a 3-pointer and converted the four-point play to tie the game at 48 and force overtime.
Tech entered the extra time with one overtime game under its belt so far this year, its lone conference win at Miami back in December. Pittsburgh’s Lamar Patterson, who scored 25 points in the Panthers’ overtime win at Miami earlier in the week, was 0 for 5 at the end of regulation.
Scoring was limited in the first overtime, as both teams scored just four points apiece, all of which came from the freethrow line. With 43 seconds remaining, Devin Wilson zoned out the entire crowd chanting his name and sunk a pair of free throws to tie the game at 52. He finished the game with 10 points, eight of which came from the free-throw line.
Patterson finally hit his first field goal of the afternoon, 41 seconds into the second overtime, and the Hokies lost both Joey van Zegeren and Trevor Thompson on sequential possessions as both players fouled out. The pair again gave Tech good production, combining for 18 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. The ensuing free throws created enough distance for the Panthers to hold on to and have Tech playing catch up for the remaining minutes.
Tech held the rebounding advantage the entire game and finished almost doubling Pittsburgh’s total, 43-28. Raines’ aggressive play in the post helped him lead the Hokies in rebounding with 11, nine on the offensive glass.
Robinson added 16 points for the Panthers, and Josh Newkirk scored 11 in the game.
Tech will not play a midweek game and return to action on Saturday as they play host to Miami on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m.
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