BLACKSBURG, VA., FEB. 16 -- A patchwork Virginia Tech team overcame foul trouble and a stifling press to squeeze out its second straight win today, 85-81 in overtime over Cincinnati.
Virginia Tech (10-13, 4-7 in the Metro Conference) had four players foul out -- two centers and two point guards -- but freshmen Don Corker and Corey Jackson filled in ably at guard, and 6-foot-7 forward Thomas Elliott played center. Corker, who has played point sparingly, was successful in bringing the ball upcourt against a trapping defense by the Bearcats (15-8, 7-4).
"I told Donald Corker the game was in his hands," Hokies Coach Frankie Allen said. "He made some plays that were not so smart, but for the most part he did okay. It's tough to come in and perform against a great defensive team like Cincinnati, especially if you're not experienced at the point position."
It looked as if Virginia Tech would come apart after starting point guard Jay Purcell fouled out and backup point guard Rod Wheeler joined him on the bench after picking up his fifth foul with 5:04 left. Two three-pointers by Cincinnati cut what had been an eight-point lead to 68-66.
The Hokies increased it to 72-69 with 42 seconds left when Elliott, who had been pushed to the floor, attempted to kick Keith Starks. The referee called an intentional foul giving the Bearcats two free throws and the ball. Starks made both shots and Levertis Robinson, who finished with a game-high 24, followed his own miss to give Cincinnati a one-point lead with 19 seconds left.
Virginia Tech came down and forward Antony Moses was fouled. He made the first shot but missed the second and the game went into overtime at 72.
Virginia Tech's makeshift lineup scored 10 of its 13 points on layups or dunks while holding the bigger Bearcats to a single inside basket. It was the Hokies 1,000th victory in 83 years of play.
Elliott led the Hokies with 18 points on eight-of-10 shooting. The Hokies' 56.6 percent shooting was their best in a Metro Conference game since 1986. Cincinnati hit only 35.8 percent.