In a game that many predicted was a dangerous game for Duke, Virginia Tech played a generous host. The Hokies blew a seven-point lead, shot 8-19 from the free throw line, and committed questionable fouls late in the contest.
But despite all of that, Seth Greenberg’s crew fought and scrapped their to a 64-60 win in Blacksburg against the #1 Blue Devils.
Virginia Tech, a respectable 9-5 in the Atlantic Coast Conference (and 19-8 overall), was in desperate need of a win over a top-notch opponent to bolster its case for the NCAA tournament. Virginia Tech was able to control the boards, outrebounding Mike Krzyzewski’s group 42-35. The home team got double-doubles from two frontliners, Jeff Allen (18 points, 14 rebounds) and Victor Davila (11 points, 10 rebounds). The Hokies were also able to turn Duke into a selfish team, with seniors Kyle Singler and Nolan Smith combining for 40 of their team’s 60 points. The Blue Devils only tallied a total of six assists.
Most impressively, the Hokies were able to stay alive in this one without its usual contribution from Malcolm Delaney. The conference’s second leading scorer finished the night with only 11 points on 4-14 shooting, but swished a huge triple late in the contest to keep Duke at bay with less than 2 minutes remaining. Five Hokies ended the game in double figures, but the most consistently effective Hokie was Allen. His versatility gave the Blue Devils problems all evening. Allen scored about every way imaginable – form the post up, short jumper, offensive putbacks and three-point shots.
After the game, Dick Vitale and Don Schulman were quick to proclaim that VT is a lock for the tournament. However, the Hokies still have matchups with Clemson and Boston College (two ACC teams who are also on the bubble), plus they should do more than just show up at the ACC tournament.
In other words, this win should be enough if they don’t self-destruct in the home stretch. A second loss to Virginia exactly a week ago lessened the margin for error for this club, and rightfully so. The Hokies lost the most important games in its improved non-conference schedule (UNLV, Kansas State, Purdue), therefore a good record in a weak conference can certainly be overlooked by the committee.
But a win over a #1 team is indeed a bit tougher to pass over.