Virginia forces overtime with a miraculous three-pointer, but Virginia Tech holds on
Friday, January 29, 2010
CHARLOTTESVILLE -- If there was any doubt that the Virginia-Virginia Tech rivalry extends from the football field onto the basketball court, Thursday night's game provided the answer. The intra-state feud included energized fans, late-minute drama, overtime -- and even an ejection.
The Cavaliers first collapsed in the game's final minutes before executing final-second theatrics to force an extra five minutes. The Hokies outplayed the Cavaliers in overtime, which will be remembered as the difference in a 76-71 victory that could prove to be a devastating loss for Virginia.
"It was just a really good basketball game," Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg said. "That's the only way to describe it."
The Hokies (16-3, 3-2 ACC) recovered from a 10-point deficit in the final three minutes and appeared in good position while holding a three-point lead and forced the Cavaliers (12-6, 3-2) to scramble in the game's waning seconds. Virginia's Sammy Zeglinski hurled a long three-pointer that fell through the basket with 1.3 seconds to send the game into overtime.
"It was a heck of a shot," Virginia Coach Tony Bennett said. "I was hoping, being at home, that the momentum would come."
It never came.
Virginia Tech star Malcolm Delaney (27 points) out-dueled Virginia's leader Sylven Landesberg (18 points) early in overtime to quiet the crowd. Delaney scored three quick points, while Landesberg missed the front end of pivotal one-and-one. That put the Cavaliers in a hole from which they could not recover.
"Once we got over the shock, we have really tried to brainwash our guys that we enjoy overtime," Greenberg said. "You get five more minutes to play in this environment, this atmosphere. We found so many ways to come back into the game twice that, just stay with it."
The Hokies' win appears even more impressive considering a good chunk of the second half and the entire overtime came without forward Jeff Allen. With 13 minutes 48 seconds remaining and the Cavaliers nursing a one-point lead, Allen's elbow found the eye of Virginia guard Jeff Jones.
After the officials joined together to review the play, they called the two coaches together. Greenberg emerged from the huddle and pointed to the Hokies' trainer, who escorted Allen off the court with nearly the entirety of the 13,499 in attendance mockingly waving good-bye toward Allen.
"He throws an elbow, so we ruled it a flagrant personal, which means it's severe or extreme contact with an opponent during a live-ball," official Karl Hess told a media representative. The officials added that Allen will be eligible to play the next game because it was not ruled a fight.
"I didn't see the play," Greenberg said. "I spoke to Jeff, and he said that he secured the ball, he chinned the ball and turned and he didn't see Jeff Jones. And that's all I know. I'll look at it."