Hokies rally to topple No. 1 Duke
By Jimmy Robertson
February 27, 2011
The win marked Tech’s fourth over a No. 1 team in school history – three since joining the ACC. Tech moved to 19-8 overall, 9-5 in the ACC, and the Hokies have now won 15 of their past 19 games. Duke, which saw its seven-game winning streak snapped, fell to 26-3, 12-2.
The day may go down as the greatest in Tech basketball history. On Saturday morning, ESPN’s College GameDay came to Blacksburg for the first time and broadcast from Cassell Coliseum in front of more than 3,100 students.
Then the basketball team polished off the day by rallying in the final seven minutes to beat the Blue Devils. Following the game, Tech fans stormed the floor, much as they did in the 2007 victory over then-No.1 North Carolina.
“It was a great day for Virginia Tech, not just Virginia Tech basketball,” said Tech coach Seth Greenberg, who recorded his fourth career victory over a No. 1 team – three while at Tech. “It was a two-hour infomercial on our university, and people saw the best of Virginia Tech. This evening, it was one of those magical moments. There’s no doubt about it.”
"It feels great,” Tech guard Malcolm Delaney said. “We’ve beaten No. 1 before, but beating No. 1 at home, with College GameDay here … this is probably the biggest game in our school history.”
“The feeling is unbelievable,” Tech guard Erick Green said. “I can’t explain it. I’ve got so much going through my mind now and so much excitement going through me … it’s just a dream come true. To pick off No. 1 Duke, I just can’t explain it right now.”
Things looked bleak for the Hokies, who scored just two baskets in an eight-minute span in the second half and found themselves trailing 53-47 after two free throws by Duke’s Kyle Singler with 7:44 remaining in the game.
But Tech dominated the game the rest of the way. An Allen 3-pointer with 6:30 to go started the Hokies’ game-ending run. Terrell Bell’s 3-pointer with 4:40 remaining tied the game at 55, and his two free throws with 4:19 left gave the Hokies a 57-55 lead. Allen added another basket with 2:39 to go to give Tech a 59-55 bulge.
Singler’s basket cut the Tech lead to two with 2:27 left, but Tech answered when Delaney connected on arguably the biggest basket of the game. Without a 3-pointer to this point, he buried a 3 from the right wing with 2:01 remaining to push Tech’s lead back to five, 62-57.
“I promised them I was going to get them one,” Delaney said. “I couldn’t hit a shot. I was still confident. I’ve had plenty of chances to ice games. The Purdue game, I could have won the game. I went to the line at Boston College and missed. Today, I couldn’t let it happen. I wanted to hit one shot and I was confident with that one.”
The Blue Devils then cut the lead to three, 62-59, on a steal and dunk by Mason Plumlee, and sliced it to two on a free throw by Plumlee with 23.2 seconds left. Duke then fouled Allen with 21.8 seconds remaining, and Allen made the second of two free throws to give Tech a 63-60 lead.
Duke called a timeout with 12.7 seconds left, but the Blue Devils couldn’t get a shot off against Tech’s defense. Seth Curry ended up turning the ball over, and Duke fouled Allen again with 1.6 ticks to go. Allen made one free throw to account for the final margin.
The game turned into a nightmare for Curry, whose parents are Tech graduates and whose father, Dell, is arguably the best player in Tech history. Seth Curry did not score and fouled out, playing just 15 minutes.
Allen paced five players in double figures, connecting on 7-of-18 from the floor, including both 3-point attempts. It marked his 15th double-double of the season and the 43rd of his career.
Bell and Green added 12 points each for Tech, while Delaney and Victor Davila finished with 11. Davila grabbed 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
Singler, who made just 6 of 19 from the floor, paced the Blue Devils with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Nolan Smith added 18 rebounds. Duke shot just 39.7 percent from the floor and got out-rebounded by the smaller Hokies 44-38
“Congratulations to their seniors,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “They’ve led their team to a really big win and they’ve led them to a really good season. I’ll say it again – they’re good. They’re really good. I’m not ashamed of what’s happened. We lost to a really good team.”
The Hokies now get ready for Senior Night on Tuesday night at Cassell Coliseum. Tech will take on BC, with the tip-off slated for 9 p.m.
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