For a brief moment on Wednesday night, it appeared the Virginia Tech Hokies would lose their second consecutive game to Clemson — in a span of four days — and head to the NIT.
However, sophomore guard Darius Maddox was having none of that, drilling a 3-pointer in overtime as time expired, lifting the Hokies to a 76-75 win over the Tigers in the ACC Tournament.
It appeared as if the Hokies would breeze to victory for much of the game. Tech scored 43 points in the first half and headed into overtime with an 11-point lead.
The Hokies cruised through the first 12-14 minutes of the second half until the mistakes began. Defensive breakdowns, poor shot selection and free-throw shooting, helped Clemson claw back into the game, finally taking a 62-61 lead with 1:15 remaining regulation.
Tech forward Justyn Mutts scored, giving the Hokies a 63-62 lead, yet Hunter Tyson answered, and the Tigers were back on top with 36 seconds remaining.
Virginia Tech guard Storm Murphy had an answer, making a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left, giving the Hokies a two-point lead. Clemson forward PJ Hall responded, tying the game with 8 seconds remaining.
The Hokies had plenty of time to drive to the basket and get a good look but instead settled for a Murphy 3-point attempt that was no good. The possession was emblematic of Tech’s second-half struggles.
Keve Aluma took over in overtime, scoring six consecutive points, but the Hokies could still not put Clemson away. The Tigers would make three of four free throws, and Mutts missed one of his two free throws in between. Hall would make one of his two free throws, and Clemson had a two-point lead with seven seconds left.
Plenty of time.
Maddox brought the ball down the court, took the Clemson defender one-on-one, and pulled up and nailed it with one second left in the game. Hokies win.
DARIUS MADDOX‼️‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/fVSnku8bdD— Virginia Tech Men's Basketball (@HokiesMBB) March 10, 2022
The Hokies shot 47% from the field, making 12 of 28 3-point attempts. Tech outrebounded Clemson, 36-29, and made 12 of 20 from the free-throw line. Unfortunately for the Hokies, many of those misses came late.
Next up for Tech is No. 2 seed, Notre Dame. The Hokies won the only regular-season meeting,
The Hokies are now 20-12 on the season and could use another win on Thursday to help their chances for an NCAA Tournament bid. As of now, the Hokies are still on the outside looking in.
Perhaps this Virginia Tech team is a team of destiny. We shall see.