Blackshear's putback lift Hokies past No. 2 Virginia in OT

Pauline Gross
February 12, 2018

That was that. Virginia didn't really lose any ground at the top of college basketball thanks to the aforementioned losses by Villanova and Purdue, though the Cavaliers did probably lose their shot at being #1 this week.

After No. 1 Villanova lost at home to St. John's on Wednesday, Saturday's game against in-state rival Virginia Tech in Charlottesville, Va., got a bit more interesting for second-ranked Virginia. It was one of the biggest wins in Tech basketball history.

For Virginia Tech (18-7, 7-5), the rivalry win will serve as the crown jewel of a resume that had previously appeared destined for the NCAA tournament bubble.

The third-place Cavaliers reached nine ACC wins for the first time since going 9-7 in league play in the 2011-12 season. He made just 5 of his 21 attempts, including only 3 of his 14 3-point tries. It's about time that Virginia starts receiving some of the limelight from ESPN, as they are usually drowned out by other top 10 teams such as Purdue, Michigan State, Kansas, and Duke. But it didn't happen. And Virginia has four top-50 road wins compared to Villanova's one. Tech will not win this game by going for tough two-pointers. Down 13-5 early on, they went on a 22-2 run to take a 27-15 lead, which was Virginia's biggest deficit of the season. Despite the loss, UVA still owns a 2 ⁄2-game lead over Clemson in the ACC standings. However, they almost lost it down the stretch thanks to bad free throw shooting by two good free throw shooters.

Virginia Tech was able to celebrate officially when Ty Jerome's deep three-pointer missed, dealing the Cavaliers their first loss since December 5 at West Virginia.

After an 85-75 win over North Carolina State on Wednesday night in Blacksburg, Buzz Williams stated how he liked the energy and spark Devin Wilson brought to the floor with this Hokies team.

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In overtime, Virginia built a five point lead with less than a minute remaining, and considering how stingy Virginia typically is on defense, that seemed insurmountable. VT could not keep it up in the second half though, shooting just 28.6% and 1-10 from three. "And we're on a mission", said UVa's Lauren Moses, who scored the go-ahead basket with 38 seconds left.

"Had we won, we would have been number one and I wouldn't have felt great".

Blackshear Jr. then grabbed Robinson's missed layup and scored on the second-chance opportunity, which proved to be the game-winner. Wilson started his second straight game this season in JPJ and had a fantastic game, racking up 7 points while shooting a ideal 2-2 from the floor, including making his second three pointer of the season.

After UVa's Dominique Toussaint made two free throws, Tech's Kendyl Brooks sank a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 58-56. Like Robinson and Hall before him, Blackshear missed. Clarke's offensive rebound with 30 seconds to go in regulation gave the Hokies the ball back and extended the possession, sending Robinson to the free throw line. Due to their historically good defense, having a letdown game didn't appear all that likely. But the Hokies offered a harbinger of things to come with some late heroics in the first half when Alexander-Walker hit a buzzer-beating three-pointer to send Tech into intermission with a 33-26 lead. The pack-line defense has shown very little holes, as opposing offenses have scored double-digits less than their single average and fail to find an answer for Virginia's lethal backcourt trio of Ty Jerome, Guy, and Devon Hall.

But there are few secrets in big-time college basketball. Tech led for 21:24 of the 45 minutes.

Saturday night's game will be played in front of a sold-out crowd at John Paul Jones Arena.

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