Clarke scores 16, Virginia Tech beats Ole Miss 83-80 in OT
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Chris Clarke scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds off the bench on Saturday as Virginia Tech rallied from a 16-point deficit in the second half to defeat Mississippi 83-80 in overtime.
Virginia Tech (7-1) placed five players in double figures, led by Kerry Blackshear Jr. with 17 points. Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Justin Robinson had 13 points apiece, while Justin Bibbs added 11. The Hokies have won five consecutive games.
“The most satisfying thing is we play a lot of young players and there were five or six times when we could have faded away,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “We didn’t. The free throws were really important, too.”
P.J. Horne hit the go-ahead basket, 79-77, with 2:37 left in overtime and the Hokies sealed it with a pair of free throws from Robinson and Alexander-Walker. Virginia Tech was 26 of 37 (71 percent) from the free throw line, including a 13-of-15 effort that spanned the second half and most of overtime.
“They made more free throws than we attempted. They really took it to us to get to the free throw line,” Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said. “At the end of the day, you’ve got to make plays at the finish and we just didn’t do that.”
Terence Davis and Breein Tyree scored 17 points apiece for the Rebels (4-3), who led 47-31 with 18:01 remaining and 39-29 at halftime. Markel Crawford and Deandre Burnett added 13 and 11 points, respectively, as Ole Miss dropped its third game in the last four starts.
Virginia Tech finished 25 of 57 (44 percent) from the floor, including 7 of 22 (32 percent) from 3-point range. Ole Miss was 29 of 73 (40 percent) and 9 of 31 (29 percent) from 3-point range. The Rebels were 13 of 24 (54 percent) from the free throw line.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies completed a week with consecutive wins over Power Five conference teams outside the ACC for the first time since the 2012-13 season, defeated Iowa and Ole Miss. In the second half, Virginia Tech had a crucial 16-3 surge highlighted by 3-point shots from Clarke and Bibbs to set up the tight finish. Robinson was 7 of 8 from the free throw line and added eight assists.
“We approached these last two games as an opportunity to grow up,” Williams said. “We grew up a lot today, but really we had no choice. This is a very important road win.”
Ole Miss: Davis continues to be the showcase player for the Rebels, adding seven rebounds, five assists and a pair of blocked shots, but missed badly on a pair of 3-point shots in overtime. The guard-rich Rebels lacked production around the basket apart from Bruce Stevens with seven points and six rebounds in 17 minutes.
INSIDE THE STATISTICS
Virginia Tech finished with 14 turnovers, but turned ball over only four times in the final 16 minutes. Ole Miss finished 9 of 31 from 3-point range, but hit only 3 of 23 after the opening 10 minutes. The Rebels did not hit a 3-point shot in the final 15 minutes of regulation or overtime.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies host Radford on Wednesday.
Ole Miss: The Rebels visit Middle Tennessee State on Saturday.