A shorthanded Virginia Tech team found a way to survive in overtime after coughing up an 18-point lead against St. Bonaventure Thursday night in Rochester.
Tech dressed eight players after announcing earlier in the night it would be without the services of Cadarian Raines and Dorenzo Hudson for the rest of the season. With a short bench, Tech came out on fire and took an 18-point lead with under six minutes to go in the first half and a 13-point lead at the break.
The Bonnies roared back with a 10-0 run early in the second half that cut the Hokies lead to five. A long three by Ogo Adegboye with 20 seconds to go sent the game to overtime tied at 65. Without the services of Jeff Allen, who fouled out with 1:27 left, the Hokies still outscored the Bonnies 11-3 in OT.
Allen, Terrell Bell and Victor Davila were in foul trouble through a good part of the second half, forcing Tech to play a lot of 1-3-1 zone. While Tech was able to pressure St. Bonaventure's guards into some key turnovers late in the game, it also led to a lot of St. Bonaventure offensive rebounds.
The Bonnies pulled down 13 offensive rebounds in the game, including three on one key possession late in the second half that led to a Michael Davenport layup to cut Tech's lead to two with 2:19 to play.
Davenport keyed St. Bona's second-half comeback. All 14 of his points came after halftime, as did nine of his 11 rebounds. Andrew Nicholson led the Bonnies with 21 points, but he was bothered by cramps late in the game and throughout overtime, making their best player basically a non-factor down the stretch.
Malcolm Delaney led Tech with 19 points thanks to a 7-for-8 night from the line. He shot only 5-for-15 from the field, but other players stepped up big. Allen fouled out for the fifth time this year, but was 8-for-13 and finished with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Erick Green was arguably the player of the game for the Hokies. He started in place of Hudson and had 15 points and five steals. Green will need to continue to come up big for the Hokies to succeed this year.
Tech is going to be involved in a lot of games like this throughout the season. I think you're going to see the Hokies play up to their competition when they play the cream of the relatively down ACC crop, but you'll also see them involved in close games against the bottom-feeders, too.
How well the Hokies respond to that pressure, from Seth Greenberg on down to the end of the bench, and the forwards' ability to stay out of foul trouble will determine what kind of season they have.
Nothing's going to come easy. However, I think this game showed us this team is coming together in the face of adversity to keep it from a full-on collapse. In the micro, Tech almost choked away an 18-point lead against friggin' St. Bonaventure. But in the macro I think things aren't as bad as we think they are. They certainly aren't GOOD, but I actually don't think we're on the brink of disaster here.