The Hokies suffered a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Syracuse Orange on Tuesday night. After allowing Syracuse to tie the game, 56-56, with less than 30 seconds left in regulation, Virginia Tech ultimately fell in the first OT period, 60-68.
VT started off strong and had a nine-point lead with less than a minute in the first half when events started to turn sour. In the last 36 seconds Syracuse Freshmen, Tyler Lydon, scored five points on two free throws and a three-point jumper with one second left on the clock. A Zach LeDay dunk, sandwiched between Lydon’s free throws and his jumper, softened the blow a bit, but Syracuse cut the Hokie lead and the score at the half stood 30-24, Hokies.
The Orange opened the second period of play with another three pointer before ten seconds of play had even passed. Buoyed by DaJuan Coleman’s two free throws, Syracuse was one point from tying the score after 54 seconds into the second half. Thankfully Justin Bibbs was able to staunch the hemorrhage when he hit for three points. Although the Hokies were outscored 26-32 in the second half they maintained their lead all the way until the end of regulation. With only 45 seconds remaining Lydon fouled Bibbs who only made one of his two free throws. This put the score at 56-53 until Syracuse’s Michael Gbinije nailed a three point shot to tie the game 56-56 with 26 seconds remaining. Neither team was able to capitalize on opportunities in the closing moments, and the game entered overtime.
OT did not go well for the Hokies. The ensuing five minutes was a collection of missed field goals and free throws. The Hokies were only able to muster up four points from two Kerry Blackshear Jr. layups while the Orange earned 12 points.
The Fighting Gobblers had a rather disappointing performance statistically. They only managed 23-58 (39.7%) for FGM-A, and an abysmal 7-24 (29.2%) for their made – attempted three pointers. After shooting 70% from the free throw line against Pittsburgh VPI was only able to make 7-13 (53.8%) of their free throws again Syracuse.
Justin Bibbs was the highest scoring Hokie with 16 points on the night. He also had three assists, one steal, and 11 rebounds. Zach LeDay collected 13 points during Tuesday night’s effort. He had eight rebounds and two steals. Seth Allen was the last Hokie to reach double digits in points with 11. Allen had four rebounds and a single steal.
The loss to Syracuse is the fifth straight drop the Hokies have suffered in the ACC after jumping out to a surprising 4-1 league record. Virginia Tech now sits at 12-11 overall with an ACC record of 4-6.
The Fighting Gobblers next host the 14-8 (7-3 ACC) Clemson Tigers on Friday, February 6.