Saturday’s Top 25: Virginia Tech stuns No. 2 Virginia
Charlottesville, Va. – Kerry Blackshear Jr. turned a forgettable night into a most memorable one, and he and his Virginia Tech teammates likely kept No. 2 Virginia from ascending to No. 1 for the first time since 1983 with a 61-60 overtime victory on Saturday night.
Blackshear scored on a putback with 5.8 seconds left, just his third basket of the game, to give the Hokies the upset, ending the Cavaliers’ 16-game home winning streak and likelihood of replacing Villanova atop the Top 25 when it is released on Monday.
“It wasn’t really a motivation,” Blackshear said. “It was more that we know they’re a good team and we have to be us this time”
The Hokies failed to do that in losing 78-52 to Virginia at Cassell Coliseum on Jan. 3, but exacted their revenge by closing off the middle to the Cavaliers and forcing them to try to win from outside. Virginia did hit 11 3-pointers, but needed 38 attempts (28.9 percent) to do it.
Hokies coach Buzz Williams said he, and Blackshear, will likely always remember the dramatic finish. The player wasn’t so sure.
“I will remember that I missed every shot before that more than (the finish),” he said after missing all six of his 3-point attempts and not scoring until just 3:53 remained in regulation. “I enjoyed the energy my teammates gave me the whole game. That was big for me.”
Blackshear rebounded a missed layup by Justin Robinson and banked it in as he was being fouled. He missed the free throw, but Ty Jerome’s 28-foot attempt at the other end missed badly and the Hokies (18-7, 7-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) had a marquee victory.
Revenge was sweet, freshman Nickeil Alexander-Walker said.
“We were hungry for a win, especially after what they did coming to Blacksburg,” he said.
Robinson led the Hokies with 20 points and seven assists, and Alexander-Walker had 12 points, including a 3-pointer – his fourth of the game and the 11th for Virginia Tech in 289 attempts – to pull the Hokies within 60-59 with 20.7 seconds left.
Devon Hall had 16 points for Virginia (23-2, 12-1), but the 93.3 percent free throw shooter missed twice from the line in the final 31 seconds. De’Andre Hunter added 14 points and Kyle Guy 13 for the Cavaliers, who shot just 34.4 percent, making 21 of 61 shots.
“We almost stole that game,” coach Tony Bennett said, “but that’s what it would have been, stealing that game. They outplayed us.”
The Cavaliers seemed a likely new No. 1 after No. 1 Villanova lost this week to St. John’s , but picked a bad night to having shooting woes. Scoring leader Kyle Guy finished 3 for 14 from beyond the arc, and Jerome was 1 for 10. He did, however, scored twice in the final minute of regulation, on a drive and then a jumper from the right elbow, to rescue the Cavaliers from a 49-45 deficit and force the overtime.
The Hokies shot 57 percent overall (12-21) and 57 percent from 3-point range (8-14) in the first half, at one point reeling off 17 straight points to open a 22-13 lead. Virginia closed the margin to 30-26 on Guy’s 3-pointer with 26 seconds left, but Alexander-Walker hit a 3-point at the halftime buzzer. It was the third shot clock- or buzzer-beating 3 for the Hokies in the half, and gave them a 33-26 lead.
Virginia Tech spent practices leading up to the game working almost entirely on closing off the middle and half-court defense, coach Buzz Williams said, and the strategy worked. The Hokies outscored Virginia in the paint 20-14 and Virginia was off target from downtown.
“If they were going to jam the lane, that much, you do have to knock down some of those shots,” Bennett said.
More Top 25
(At) No. 1 Villanova 86, Butler 75: Donte DiVincenzo scored a career-high 30 points, Jalen Brunson had 27 and No. 1 Villanova bounced back from its second loss of the season.
Omari Spellman added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Wildcats (23-2, 10-2 Big East), who avoided losing consecutive games for the first time since March 2013. The injury-depleted Wildcats were coming off a surprising home loss to last-place St. John’s three days earlier.
Kelan Martin scored 30 and Kamara Baldwin had 25 for Butler (17-9, 7-6), which handed Villanova its first loss of the season on Dec. 30. The Bulldogs had won three straight vs. Villanova, and looked they might continue the streak when they led by as many as 13 in the first half behind Martin’s hot hand.
No. 5 Xavier 72, (at) Creighton 71: Quentin Goodin made two free throws with three-tenths of a second left, allowing Xavier to hold off Creighton.
Goodin got fouled by Ronnie Harrell Jr. after Harrell had made three straight free throws to give the Bluejays a one-point lead with 4.6 seconds left. Goodin took an inbound pass from Naji Marshall and drove the length of the court to the basket, with Harrell making contact in the lane and sending him to the line.
Toby Harrell’s baseball pass sailed out of bounds on the other end, and the Big East-leading Musketeers (23-2, 11-2) to win.
Marcus Foster had 20 of his 29 points in the second half for the Bluejays (18-7, 8-5).
No. 7 Texas Tech 66, (at) Kansas State 47: Keenan Evans scored 19 points and Texas Tech took sole possession of the Big 12 lead.
Texas Tech (21-4, 9-3) relied on strong second-half defense. After a 27-27 deadlock in the first half, the Red Raiders turned up the pressure.
In the second half, Kansas State (17-8, 6-6) had more turnovers (11) than made baskets (5) and ended up shooting just 29 percent on the night.
Dean Wade led the Wildcats with 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting.
No. 8 Auburn 78, (at) Georgia 61: Jared Harper scored 24 points and Auburn, playing without top scorer Bryce Brown, showed impressive depth by beating Georgia.
Auburn leaned heavily on Harper early in the game. He scored 12 consecutive points for the Tigers, including back-to-back 3s for a 17-9 lead. Auburn (22-3, 10-2 Southeastern Conference) never relinquished the advantage.
Harper also had a game-high seven assists.
Brown, the fifth-leading scorer in the SEC with an average of 16.6 points per game, was held out with a right shoulder injury suffered in the first half of the Tigers’ loss to Texas A&M on Wednesday night.
Yante Maten led Georgia (13-11, 4-8) with 20 points.
(At) Baylor 80, No. 10 Kansas 64: Manu Lecomte scored eight straight points for Baylor after Big 12 co-leader Kansas had pulled within a basket, and the senior guard finished with 18 overall in the Bears’ upset victory.
The Jayhawks (19-6, 8-4 Big 12) trailed 30-20 at halftime after having more turnovers (nine) than made field goals (seven) before the break. They were down by as many as 13 points after that but got within 58-56 with 7:14 left after consecutive jumpers by Lagerald Vick.
Lecomte then made a jumper for Baylor (15-10, 5-7) with 6:50 left and Kansas couldn’t comeback.
Devonte Graham had 14 of his 23 points after halftime for Kansas, while Malik Newman finished with 20.
(At) Alabama 78, No. 15 Tennessee 50: Donta Hall had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Collin Sexton scored 16 points to lead Alabama to a victory over Tennessee.
The Crimson Tide (16-10, 7-5 Southeastern Conference) thoroughly dominated the Volunteers (18-6, 8-4) around the basket and cashed in on a number of fast-break chances
Hall made 8 of 10 field goals and blocked three shots. Tennessee had no answer to Sexton’s quick darts to the basket, and the freshman also had four assists.
Tennessee had only one scorer in double digits. Grant Williams scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half.
(At) Iowa State 88, No. 17 Oklahoma 80: Iowa State freshman Lindell Wigginton upstaged Trae Young by scoring 26 points and the Cyclones upset Oklahoma, handing the Sooners their sixth consecutive road loss.
Fellow rookie Cam Lard had 19 points with 17 rebounds for the Cyclones (13-11, 4-8 Big 12).
Iowa State built and then blew a 17-point lead, but Donovan Jackson’s 3 with 1:55 left put it ahead 80-77. Wigginton then beat the shot clock with a long 3, and Jackson hit a pair of free throws to clinch the win.
Young had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Sooners (16-8, 6-6).
Oklahoma State 88, (at) No. 19 West Virginia 85: Kendall Smith and Cameron McGriff each scored 20 points and Oklahoma State beat another ranked team on the road, topping West Virginia.
The Cowboys (15-10, 5-7 Big 12), who won at then-No. 7 Kansas last weekend, trailed by eight points with 13 ½ minutes left.
Jevon Carter had a career-high 33 points for West Virginia (18-7, 7-5), which has lost six of nine.
No. 21 North Carolina 97, (at) N.C. State 89: Luke Maye scored 27 of his career-high 33 points after halftime to help North Carolina beat rival North Carolina State.
Maye also had 17 rebounds and spent most of the second half as a one-man show for the Tar Heels (19-7, 8-5 Atlantic Coast Conference).
But he got plenty of help as the Tar Heels closed out the Wolfpack (16-9, 6-6).
Torin Dorn scored 21 points to lead the Wolfpack.
(At) No. 22 Wichita State 95, UConn 74: Landry Shamet scored 16 points in just 23 minutes as Wichita State cruised to a win over UConn.
The Shockers (19-5, 9-3 American Athletic Conference) had 17 assists and just two turnovers while building a 55-33 halftime lead and were never threatened after that.
Conner Frankamp scored 14 points for Wichita State, Shaquille Morris had 12 and Darral Willis added 10 as the Shockers shot 52.4 percent from the floor.
Jalen Adams and Christian Vital each had 22 points for UConn (12-13, 5-7 American).
(At) No. 23 Nevada 83, San Diego State 58: Jordan Caroline scored 26 points and Lindsay Drew just missed a triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in Nevada’s victory over San Diego State.
Kendall Stephens added 21 points for Nevada (21-5, 10-2 Mountain West). The Wolf Pack rebounded after falling to UNLV on Wednesday night for their first home game of the season.
Matt Mitchell led San Diego State (13-10, 5-7) with 12 points.
(At) Texas A&M 85, No. 24 Kentucky 74: Freshman point guard T.J. Starks scored 17 points and Texas A&M toppled Kentucky in a sold-out and raucous Reed Arena.
John Calipari has lost three consecutive games for the first time since taking over the Kentucky program before the 2009-2010 season.
Kentucky (17-8, 6-6 Southeastern Conference) led 30-26 at halftime, but the Aggies (17-8, 6-6) made 11 of their first 16 shots in the second half – including all four of their 3-point attempts – to take a 14-point lead.
D.J. Hogg added 16 points for the Aggies. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Kentucky with 19 points.
(At) Boston College 72, No. 25 Miami 70: Ky Bowman stole a rebound under the basket, drew a foul and hit two free throws with 2.9 seconds left as Boston College scored the last nine points of the game to rally for a victory over Miami.
The Hurricanes led 70-63 with 6:17 left– their biggest lead of the game – before missing their last nine shots and turning the ball over five times. Jerome Robinson had six of his 29 points down the stretch, and Bowman had the other three.
The victory snapped a 12-game losing streak against Miami for BC (15-10, 5-7 Atlantic Coast Conference).
DJ Vasiljevic scored 17 for Miami (18-6, 7-5),