BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg said that he didn’t insert senior Dorenzo Hudson into Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech with 3.5 seconds remaining in overtime because he thought the shooting guard would make a game-winning shot.
Hudson was simply “our best inbounder,” Greenberg explained after the senior gave the Hokies some karmic redemption in a dramatic 74-73 win over the Yellow Jackets at Cassell Coliseum.
After Georgia Tech point guard Mfon Udofia hit an improbable jumper over the outstretched arms of 6-foot-9 Hokies forward Cadarian Raines to give the Yellow Jackets a 73-71 lead with 5.3 seconds remaining, Greenberg called a timeout and set up his final play with Hudson throwing the ball in from the sideline.
The pass went to sophomore Jarell Eddie, who was promptly swarmed in the corner by two Georgia Tech defenders. “Unfortunately, we don’t trap,” Yellow Jackets Coach Brian Gregory said afterward. “The trapping led to the open shot.”
After a second of panic, Eddie found Hudson near the Hokies’ bench. The senior then hit nothing but net on a three-pointer just before the clock hit zero, a shot Greenberg would later describe as “a fadeaway three from my lap.”
The thrilling finish came less than 48 hours after Virginia Tech coughed up a nine-point lead in the final 90 seconds and suffered its most deflating loss of the season when Florida State’s Michael Snaer made a game-winning three-pointer against the Hokies on Thursday night.
“Not exactly the way we drew it up,” Greenberg joked when discussing the final play.
But the same could be said about the entire game. Though Georgia Tech was without suspended leading scorer Glen Rice Jr., the Yellow Jackets (9-17, 2-10 ACC) shot 58.3 percent from the field and made seven of their 13 three-point attempts. They entered the contest as the ACC’s worst three-point shooting team.
The Hokies, meanwhile, began the game by hitting nine of their first 15 shots and committed a season-low five turnovers. But Virginia Tech (15-12, 4-8) didn’t have a field goal over the final 4 minutes 59 seconds of regulation.
Georgia Tech also dominated on the interior, ending the first half with a 17-6 rebounding advantage and finishing the game with 38 points in the paint. Forward Kammeon Holsey led the charge with 18 points. Udiofia added 15 points, 12 of which came after halftime.
And yet the Hokies never wilted completely, even with the “devastation of the Florida State situation,” as Greenberg put it, so fresh in their minds. It started with career-high production from Raines (13 points) and freshman C.J. Barksdale (eight points), who both played extensive minutes because senior Victor Davila (groin) missed his second straight game.
Greenberg said Raines played despite receiving two bags of IV before the game.
Junior Erick Green, meanwhile, had a team-high 14 points but missed a contested jumper at the end of regulation after Georgia Tech closed with an 8-2 run.
Hudson wouldn’t make the same mistake, even though it appeared he was fouled and didn’t see the ball splash through the net. But as soon as his teammates stormed the court for a cathartic postgame dog pile, “I knew that it had gone in,” said Hudson, who had just two points and two shot attempts before his game-winner.
“You can’t help but be happy for him,” Greenberg said.