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Virginia Tech Hokies’ Fall by One Bucket to End Their Best Season in 50 Years

We just didn’t have enough umph. The heart was there but the spectre of the 3rd 10 minute fade, and the inch or so more of tall just allowed Duke to prevail: 75-77

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Virginia Tech vs Duke
Just not enough... 2 point loss but Hokies were amazing this season
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

There are no two ways about it, the loss hurts. I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad if Duke has royally trounced us, but they didn’t. It was a rolling wrestling match in the paint and on the edge. A physical game where defense didn’t count for much, but rebounding and quality ball handling made a serious difference.

In the end the Hokies couldn’t overcome their tendency to fade and lose focus in the critical third 10 minutes of the game (right after the half) when the lid went on the basket, Duke ate up the 4 point halftime lead, and then pulled ahead.

The Hokies did rally up and press the Blue Devils hard...making the entire game drive into the critical final two minutes with high pressure shots and tactical jockeying for last shots.

Kerry Blackshear Jr. pulled off a double-double, again. Ahmed Hill was solid with a double digit scoring total. Everyone contributed, but in the end Duke just had more muscle in the paint, and Tech just couldn’t take that halftime lead to the end.

We are proud of our team. They had an amazing run. In fact, unless someone with a dangerous preoccupation with old statistics wants to correct me, and I might just still disagree with them, this has been Virginia Tech’s best basketball season in school history. (Or 50 years, whichever comes last.)

The only thing left to do is to figure out the last drama of 2018-2019 and that’s the status of Buzz Williams. I hope that he realizes that he’s not done, and that the program that he started isn’t finished.