The jumper by Dorenzo Hudson in the video above was had the most direct impact on Virginia Tech's win over UConn in the second round of the NIT. But 20 minutes before Hudson's shot, J.T. Thompson made a 3-pointer as the first half ended that changed the momentum of the game.
The Hokies were getting dominated by UConn in the first half and trailed by as many as 12 with seven minutes to go in the half. But Tech showed life in the final seven minutes of the half, culminating with Thompson's shot to cut the Husky lead to 35-30 at the break and turn Cassell Coliseum into a hornet's nest in the second half.
The Tech crowd was fierce during the last 20 minutes and ESPN's Mike Patrick called it the loudest he had ever heard for an NIT game. The momentum swing from Thompson's shot carried over and the Hokies cut the UConn lead to one in the first minute of the game and finally took the lead going into the Under 16 media timeout thanks to a jumper by Hudson.
Hudson scored 17 of his 27 points in the second, the last of which coming with 14 seconds left to give Virginia Tech a 64-63 lead. UConn's Gavin Edwards couldn't convert his lay-up attempt in the waning second and the Hokies held on.
Hudson and Thompson were the heroes and were the only two Hokies to score in double figures. They also combined for 13 of Tech's 35 rebounds.
I have to admit that was an extremely entertaining game to watch despite it just being an NIT game. Both teams played well, shooting over 40 percent, and the crowd was intense. It sounded like a lot more than 6,983 people were in the building. Tech will need an even more hostile crowd Wednesday when it plays Rhode Island for the right to go to Madison Square Garden.
The Rams have played well in the NIT after losing five of their last seven regular season games and falling to Temple in the semifinals of the A10 tournament. They held on to beat a very good Nevada team Monday night thanks to 34 points from Delroy James. The 6-8 junior forward is a force inside with a lot of range. He was 10-for-19 from the floor on Monday, including 5-for-8 from deep. The rest of his team was 17-for-52 and 4-for-18.
If the Hokies can contain James and have another secondary scorer like Thompson step up to help the guards, they could be New York-bound.