With 15 seconds left in the game, Ben Lammers had put on an elite clinic on rim protection, blocking eight of the Hokies’ 30 two-point shot attempts. Georgia Tech as a team had a whopping ten in the entire game. And the Hokies, who had struggled finding their shot throughout the game, found themselves down by one with the ball.
But Seth Allen, one of the Hokies’ key players this season, fearlessly attacked the rim for a contested layup which he converted, and turned out to be the game-winner. The Hokies were then able to cling to a 62-61 lead to get a much needed result at home to add to their resume for an NCAA Tournament berth. Those kind of shots can save a season.
“That’s kind of what you ask for when you’re a senior,” said Allen, describing how the game winning play unfolded. “I was getting double teamed off the screen by the big. Zach made a play, he passed me the ball back, and I just tried to make a play at the rim, get fouled or someone could get the offensive rebound.”
The redshirt senior had a decent – not great – season in 2015, his first year playing under Buzz Williams, but the talent was visibly there. Allen just did not impress in the stat sheet due to low efficiency numbers and a much too high turnover rate. In many cases, those faults ended up hurting the Hokies and his starting job was eventually taken over by Justin Robinson.
While the play of Chris Clarke has stolen headlines as of late, Allen has been a steady hand in the Hokies backcourt this season. The numbers show it. After posting another double digit scoring night with 17 points, Allen is shooting 55.6% from the field and 46.7% from three-point range. Those are absurd numbers for a guard. He may only be averaging 11.1 points, but the decrease in volume has led to an increase in efficiency. Allen’s on-ball defense has been superb as well.
He has also gotten his teammates involved moreso than last season. With 3.4 assists per game and 2.6 turnovers, Allen has excelled in a playmaking role, giving other guys opportunities to make plays. Involving all five players on offense has been one of the Hokies’ strengths on that side of the ball. Their assist percentage is one of the highest in the NCAA and Allen is a big reason for that.
Part of being a leader is dealing with adversity. Once a team encounters adversity, they turn to their leaders who represent the glue to keep the team focused. On the ropes at home against Georgia Tech, Allen hit the clutch shot but also kept the team grounded, knowing they have plenty of work left to do.
“We really stuck together, things weren’t going our way, foul calls, they were scoring off of bunnies, and bad rotations,” said Allen. “But we stuck together, fought, dove on the floor, went for the ball, and came out with it.”
“I just try to be that leader, you know, I’ve been in the league for a while, and I understand you’re going to see different defenses every night. You just have to try to be aggressive.”
With two tough games coming up on the Hokies’ road trip next week, Allen will seek to continue to lead Virginia Tech to it’s first NCAA tournament since 2007.