Virginia Tech 72, NC State 71
by Chris James,, 1/19/05

Blacksburg, VA - Virginia Tech used a furious 16-4 rally in the last seven minutes to win their second consecutive ACC basketball game, beating NC State 72-71 in dramatic fashion in Blacksburg on Wednesday night. Down 71-70 with 13 seconds remaining in the game, sophomore center Coleman Collins hit a jump shot to put the Hokies up 72-71. NC State All-American and reigning ACC Player of the Year Julius Hodge then had his game-winning shot attempt blocked by Jamon Gordon with 1.6 seconds left, and Tech freshman forward Deron Washington rebounded the ball and was fouled. Washington missed both free throw attempts, the second one intentionally, but NC State was unable to get off a final shot, and the Hokies held on for the win.

Jamon Gordon blocks Julius Hodge's attempt
at a game-winning shot 

Tech was led in scoring by two sophomores, with Zabian Dowdell and Collins scoring 20 points apiece. Collins also added 9 rebounds and went a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line. Senior guard Carlos Dixon added 18 points for the Hokies and shot 8-8 from the free throw line. As a team Tech went 19-24 from the free throw line, with Dixon and Collins accounting for 18 of the makes.

Like the previous game against Clemson, this was a game of two halves. The Hokies played poor transition defense and three-point defense in the first half, and it showed, as the Wolfpack were able to shoot 59.3% from the field in the first 20 minutes. The Hokies shot only 35.5% from the field in the first half. Tech led 20-14 at the 11:19 mark of the first half after a Collins dunk, but NC State was able to go on a 20-5 run to take a 34-25 lead with 2:48 remaining in the half. VT closed it to 38-32, but Gavin Grant hit a three-pointer as time expired to put State up 41-32 at the break.

Unfortunately for the Hokies, NC State scored their first points in the second half without any time coming off the clock. Tech head coach Seth Greenberg was whistled for a technical foul after time ran out in the first half, and NC State’s Ilian Evtimov connected on two free throw attempts at the beginning of the second half. Evtimov then stole the ball and fed Andrew Brackman for a layup that put State up 45-32 with 19:40 left, giving the Pack 7 points in just 20 seconds.

The Hokies showed good poise and slowly chipped away at the NC State lead throughout the second half with good free throw shooting and clutch shots by Zabian Dowdell. The Hokies were able to tie the game at 54 with 11:54 remaining when Marquie Cooke (3 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds in 16 minutes) hit a jumper, was fouled, and connected on his free throw attempt.

NC State then went on a 13-2 run in which Hodge scored 9 consecutive points, and the Wolfpack went up 67-56 with 7:30 remaining.

Coleman Collins scored 20 points, including
this first-half dunk

At that point, Coleman Collins took over, scoring 10 points down the stretch for the Hokies, 6 of which came from the free throw line. Wynton Witherspoon and Zabian Dowdell both blocked layups, and Evtimov missed two free throws during a 14-2 Tech run over six and a half minutes. Collins calmly nailed two free throws with 1:02 remaining to give the Hokies their first lead of the second half at 70-69, driving the Tech crowd into a frenzy.

Hodge responded with a driving bucket to put State up 71-70 with 34 seconds left, setting the stage for Coleman and Gordon's heroics. After a timeout, Collins took the ball on the left of the paint, drove to the middle, lost control, retrieved it, and hit a 10-footer over 6-10 Jordan Collins to give the Hokies the 72-71 lead with 12.9 to go.

After an NC State timeout with 8.6 seconds to go, they set up the 6-7 Hodge, who drove one-on-one into the lane against the 6-3 Gordon. Hodge squared up to shoot from 10 feet, and Gordon leaped and blocked it. The ball caromed into the hands of Deron Washington, who was fouled with 1.6 seconds left.

Washington missed his first free throw, then bricked the second one on purpose. State rebounded it and threw it down the court, and time expired. As VT fans celebrated and players and coaches spilled onto the court, State coach Herb Sendek rushed down the floor, where the referees conferred and ruled that Washington had failed to hit the rim with his second free throw. That's a violation, and it gave the Wolfpack another chance with an inbounds underneath the Tech basket. NC State threw the ball downcourt, where it was tipped away in the paint, and Dowdell clutched it as time ran out for the second and final time.

Tech managed to win this game despite getting no production from their bench for the second game in a row. The Hokie reserves managed just 3 points in the contest, all 3 coming from Marquie Cooke. Tech was also outrebounded 37-28. However the Hokies won the battle at the free throw line, as NC State only shot 15-26 from the charity stripe. The Hokies also forced 17 turnovers while committing only 10 themselves.

The win moves Tech to 9-6 overall and 2-2 in the ACC. NC State falls to 11-6 and 1-3 in ACC play. Up next for the Hokies is a tough road game at Georgia Tech on Saturday at 4 pm. The game will be televised by Raycom/Jefferson Pilot Sports.


                          fg    ft    rb             
                   min   m-a   m-a   o-t   a  pf   tp
I Evtimov           35   0-2   3-6   2-3   3   3    3
J Hodge             39  8-19  6-10  6-12   4   4   23
A Brackman          31   4-6   3-4  4-10   0   3   13
C Bennerman         20   2-4   0-0   0-0   1   4    4
E Atsur             36   2-7   0-0   0-3   2   1    6
G Grant             25  6-11   1-4   3-4   2   3   14
J Collins           12   2-2   2-2   1-2   0   3    6
C Simmons            2   1-2   0-0   1-1   0   2    2
TOTALS             200 25-53 15-26 17-35  12  23   71

Percentages: FG-.472, FT-.577.
3-Point Goals: 6-15, .400 (J Hodge 1-2, A Brackman 2-3, C 
Bennerman 0-2, E Atsur 2-6, G Grant 1-2).
Team Rebounds: 37.
Blocked Shots: 3 (A Brackman 2, I Evtimov).
Turnovers: 17 (J Hodge 6, C Bennerman 4, I Evtimov 2, G Grant 
2, A Brackman 2, E Atsur).
Steals: 6 (J Hodge 2, C Bennerman 2, I Evtimov, E Atsur).


                          fg    ft    rb             
                   min   m-a   m-a   o-t   a  pf   tp
C Dixon             27   4-8   8-8   1-4   3   4   18
C Collins           38  5-11 10-10   3-9   1   1   20
Z Dowdell           35  8-16   0-1   2-4   4   1   20
D Washington        13   1-4   0-2   0-1   0   4    2
J Gordon            37   4-9   0-0   2-3   2   2    9
W Witherspoon       12   0-3   0-0   1-2   0   2    0
R Krabbendam         2   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0    0
M Cooke             16   1-2   1-3   0-2   2   4    3
J King               1   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   0    0
C Tucker            19   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   3    0
TOTALS             200 23-54 19-24  9-25  12  21   72

Percentages: FG-.426, FT-.792.
3-Point Goals: 7-13, .538 (C Dixon 2-5, Z Dowdell 4-7, J Gordon 1-1).
Team Rebounds: 28.
Blocked Shots: 6 (J Gordon 2, C Collins, W Witherspoon, D Washington,
Z Dowdell). 
Turnovers: 10 (C Collins 3, J Gordon 2, J King 2, C Dixon, C Tucker,
Z Dowdell). 
Steals: 6 (C Dixon 2, J Gordon 2, Z Dowdell, W Witherspoon).

NO CAROLINA ST       41  30   -  71
VIRGINIA TECH        32  40   -  72

Technical fouls: Virginia Tech bench. A: 9,847. Officials: Dwayne
Gladden, Gary Maxwell, Steve Gordon

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