Yes, we did fall just short, once again, but wow! What a game! If you had told any basketball fan that Virginia Tech would be tied 77-77 with Duke and have a shot to win it, they would laugh in your face. But there we were: one bounce away from taking down one of the best teams in the country.
Sure, it has not been a great season for Virginia Tech. But I think any team would agree that coming out of Cassell Coliseum with a victory is no easy task. This team just feeds off of the incredible energy and excitement, and puts an awesome product on the court in this building.
First was the Virginia game. Arguably outplayed one of the best teams in the country, and without the heroics of potential All-American Justin Anderson, would have given them a shocking loss. In that game, the Hokies fed off the electric atmosphere to put up a stellar defensive effort, holding the Cavaliers to a dismal 34.7% shooting night from the field.
Then there were two electric wins against both Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech. There is something about that Cassell crowd that brings clutch play. Against Pittsburgh, with the Hokies trailing by 10 points with just over three minutes remaining, Adam Smith just put the team on his back. Down by three with fewer than 10 seconds remaining, Smith soared over the Pittsburgh defenders to hit the game tying three-pointer and send the game into overtime.
Then in overtime, Smith hit the game winning three-pointer to cap off an improbable win for the Hokies.
Against Georgia Tech, the hero was Malik Mueller. Trailing 63-61 with 16.1 seconds remaining, the redshirt clutched a corner three to give the Hokies the lead, and eventually the win by a score of 65-63.
Then last night, national powerhouse Duke made their way into Cassell. Freshman Jalen Hudson came to play! Hudson dissected the defense of an elite Duke team and exploded for a career-high 23 points. The Hokies shot a ridiculous 54.5% from three-point range hitting 12 of 22 threes.
Duke was able to withstand the valiant effort by the Hokies and hold on for a 91-86
The atmosphere was absolutely electric! There is no doubt that if this game was played at Cameroon Indoor Stadium, it is a different result. The fourth ranked Blue Devils were simply intimidated by the Cassell crowd and completely thrown off their game.
What a fight from VT. The @CassellGuardVT had the place rockin'!
— Dew Crew (@HopeDewCrew) February 26, 2015
Without a man-sized effort by top NBA prospect Jahlil Okafor, there is no way the Blue Devils escape Cassell with a victory.
The Hokies have two home games remaining. I certainly would not want to be either Boston College or Miami because the Hokies are going to absolutely bring it in front of the Cassell crowd.
On senior night, Miami will march into Cassell as bubble team for the NCAA tournament. The Hokies are going to ruin those chances and knock them into the NIT!