The careers of Malcolm Delaney, Jeff Allen, Terrell Bell and Paul Debnam came to an abrupt end Sunday morning as attrition led to a Virginia Tech overtime loss to Wichita State in the second round of the NIT.
Delaney led the Hokies with 30 points, but was held scoreless in overtime as Wichita State used its height advantage to put them away in overtime. The Shockers' 7-0 center, Garrett Stutz, scored seven of his 11 points in overtime while Jeff Allen and Victor Davila watched from the bench.
Allen had fouled out with 6:12 to play in regulation and Davila's bum shoulder finally forced him out less than two minutes later. The Hokies went the rest of the way without a true post player and with Debnam, a walk on, in for Davila.
The Hokies were down by six when Davila left with 4:36 to play and all seemed lost for Tech. However, it responded with a 7-0 that gave it the lead with 2:37 to play. After the teams traded leads again, the Shockers' J.T. Durley made a three to tie the game with 47 seconds left. Joe Ragland had a chance to win the game for the Shockers at the buzzer, but couldn't get the shot to fall. Ragland would fare better when given a second chance in overtime.
Durley fouled out early in OT and momentum seemed to be swinging the Hokies' way. However, the Shockers brought in Stutz and that's when the big man took over. Whether it was Manny Atkins or Bell on him, it didn't matter. Stutz dominated the paint on offense and kept Tech from trying to go inside on defense. His last points gave the Shockers a 76-74 lead with a minute to go.
Erick Green missed a jump shot on the Hokies' next possession and Wichita State had a chance to put the game away. Instead, Stutz made an ill-advised pass and Bell made a layup in transition to tie the game. But poor transition defense did the Hokies in. Ragland raced down the floor and this time laid the ball in with two seconds to go give the Shockers the lead again.
Only something similar to Saturday's Pittsburgh-Butler game could save the Hokies and that's what almost happened. A Wichita State defender cut in front of Delaney near the sideline as he raced down the floor, but the official ruled Delaney had stepped out of bounds before contact was made. The turnover ended the Hokies' season and Delaney's career.
The game was back-and-forth the whole way, featuring 13 ties and 13 lead changes. Delaney was Tech's primary offense most of the way and was 8-for-11 from the field before missing his final three shots. After his final made field goal, Delaney was 8-for-11 while the rest of the team was 7-for-22 from the field.
With such little depth, the Hokies played zone for nearly the entire game, which allowed the Shockers to shoot 50 percent from behind the arc and collect 12 offensive rebounds. Tech also shot well from behind the arc, but did most of its work at the free throw line. The Hokies were 26-for-34 at the line while the Shockers were 7-for-12.
The loss means that Tech's three main seniors (Delaney, Allen and Bell) didn't play in an NCAA Tournament game nor did they make it to New York for the NIT semifinals. It's a tough end to three careers that had some excellent moments, but were no less incomplete.