Sunday, February 27, 2011


In spite of shooting free throws like Stevie Wonder (50%, missing nine) and making a handful of late-game blunders, Virginia Tech made two clutch defensive stops and just enough free throws to upset #1 Duke and punch their ticket back to the Big Dance.  After three consecutive years of being on the NCAA tournament bubble and winding up disappointed in the NIT, Virginia Tech needed a signature win and bolstered by a ravenous crowd and a visit from ESPN’s Gameday, they got it.

The Hokies used a late 15-4 run over a span of 4 1/2 minutes to turn a six-point deficit into a five-point lead Saturday night and they held off top-ranked Duke 64-60, getting the badly needed signature victory that could boost their NCAA credentials significantly.

 Terrell Bell scored 12 points, including five straight to give the Hokies lead for good with 4:19 to play, and the Blue Devils night-long shooting woes never relented.

“Our offense let us down tonight,” Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

The Blue Devils shot under 40 percent and were 4 for 20 from 3-point range.

Virginia Tech (19-8, 9-5 ACC), got big shots from several players, but none more important than Bell. His 3-pointer from the right corner tied it with 4:40 left, and when he was fouled moments later, he said he needed the stoppage to collect himself.

 The Hokies leading scorer Malcolm Delaney was invisible most of the night, but he made the key three-pointer late to put his team up by five.

 “We were up two. I had to hit that shot,” Delaney said.

The Blue Devils (26-3, 12-2) had chances in the closing minute to pull even when Virginia Tech struggled at the free throw line, but couldn’t capitalize. Duke had its seven-game winning streak snapped, and lost for the first time in the last five against the Hokies.

Singler led Duke with 22 points, but shot just 6 for 19, and Nolan Smith had 18.

Allen led the Hokies with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Erick Green also scored 12 and Delaney had 11 as the Hokies improved to 4-7 in their history against teams ranked No. 1.  

The game also was the first appearance at Cassell Coliseum for Seth Curry, whose father, Dell, is the second-leading scorer in Hokies history. Seth Curry was recruited by the Hokies, but wound up at Liberty and transferred to Duke after one season seeking a bigger challenge.

He was jeered in introductions, whistled for two quick fouls at the start of the game and again early in the second half, and played little. He came in for the final sequence, but threw the ball away when double teamed at the top of the key, capping a scoreless night.

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