Sanders gives BC 67-66 win over Virginia Tech
BOSTON (AP)—Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg saw it coming, and he wasn’t able to stop it.
“The last thing we talked about coming out of the timeout was, ‘The shot’s not going to beat you. It’s going to be the second shot,”’ Greenberg said after Rakim Sanders scored the go-ahead basket on a putback with 0.4 seconds left to give Boston College a 67-66 victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday night.
“You’ve got to rebound the ball,” he said. “That’s the last thing my guys heard when they left the huddle.”
Virginia Tech trailed most of the game before going ahead in the final minute and took a 66-65 lead on A.D. Vassallo’s free throws with 14.5 seconds to play. But Tyrese Rice brought the ball downcourt and drove to the basket for a floater that bounced off the back of the rim.
“The game was there, so I just went as hard as I could,” Sanders said. “I felt I had to let it go as soon as I got up there.”
Tech’s desperation inbounds pass was knocked harmlessly away as the buzzer sounded.
“Usually most games are won in that way, with second shots,” BC coach Al Skinner said. “It was a great hustle play. We put shooters and quickness on the floor. Either Tyrese was going to have a play to make, or we were going to have to get after it.”
Rice scored 16, including a floater in the lane to start a three-point play that gave BC a 65-64 lead with 38 seconds left. Corey Raji had seven points and nine rebounds to help Boston College (17-6, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) win its fourth in a row since a four-game losing streak.
Jeff Allen had 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Hokies (14-7, 4-3), whose previous conference losses had been to highly ranked Clemson and Duke. Tech had beaten BC four consecutive times, including a 79-71 victory in Blacksburg two weeks ago in which it outrebounded the Eagles 38-29.
“It was like they wanted it more than we did. That was a big emphasis of coach,” Rice said. “Rebounding is definitely a big factor in us winning and losing games.”
Virginia Tech beat then-No. 1 Wake Forest on Jan. 21, then won at Miami and on Thursday the Hokies went to the final minutes before losing 86-82 to No. 12 Clemson. Malcolm Delaney scored 29 against the Hurricanes and 37 against Clemson — an ACC-high for the season—but against BC it wasn’t certain early on that Tech would reach either total as a team.
The Hokies trailed 21-13 with under three minutes left in the first half before scoring the next six points to make it a two-point game. They were 7-for-26 from the field, and Allen had 14 of their 21 points and seven of their 17 rebounds.
Tech was 1-for-9 from 3-point range in the half, but BC was even worse: 1-for-11.
Delaney finished with 18 points and five assists. Vassallo, the team’s No. 2 scorer, had 21 points—and Tech’s last eight—even though he did not start for just the second time this year.
Greenberg would not say why.
“Coach’s decision. Coach’s decision,” he said. “The situation’s handled. When you’re the head coach, you decide who plays and starts. It’s good to be the king. But right now, it’s not.”