Sunday, February 12, 2006

Hoos Handle Hokies in OT 81-77

It wasn't easy, but sweeping your rival is always a sweet feeling.

Virginia led by as many as 15 against the Hokies of Virginia Tech last night while the snow fell outside of U-Hall. The Hokies started to catch fire and made it close. In the end there were 13 ties and 16 lead changes in what turned out to be another classic. Despite a wonderful first half and a poor second half, Virginia was able to get things together in the OT, avenging the ghosts of the FSU OT game.

"I told the team at the end of regulation, that if we could rewind a little bit, we found ourselves in this position against Florida State and we didn't do the things necessary in the final five minutes," Virginia coach Dave Leitao said. "We weren't perfect in executing sometimes as well as we wanted to, the defense was good, okay at times, but the last five minutes I thought we did what was necessary in rebounding the ball."

This is true. On paper, Virginia and Virginia Tech both had 36 rebounds. The Hokies had 3 more offensive rebounds. Yet, it was the Cavaliers who grabbed the big boards when it mattered most. They were needed to because the Hokies would take a 75-72 lead in OT with less than 3 minutes to go.

"They made a big three-pointer to make the score 75-72. At that time we were getting a little bit antsy," Leitao said. "The possession afterwards we did a really good job of being calm."

It was Mr. Cool himself, Sean Singletary who made two free throws to give Virginia a one point lead at 76-75. Then with a under a minute to go Reynolds found Mikalauskas underneath the bucket and the freshman made a big layup. Then a miss on the other end, and two Adrian Joseph field goals locked up a big win for the Cavaliers, and another nail-biting finish for the Hokies.

"There is such a fine line between winning and losing," Hokie coach Seth Greenburg said. "We're in position to win a game."

It's hard to beat Virginia when Reynolds had a game like he did last night. The junior had 19 points, which is solid in its own right, but add 12 assists and you have an all-star performance. Sean Singletary had another spectacular outing with 23 points and 6 rebounds. Jason Cain also continued his stellar play with 10 points, 8 rebounds, just short of another double-double. Adrian Joseph rounds out the list with 15 points, continuing his tremendous progress as a shooter.

The Hokies were led by Jamon Gordon who had 24 points in defeat. A.D. Vassallo continues to be a huge addition to the repetoire as the freshman added in 19 points along with 10 by Zabian Dowdell. The loss puts VT at 3-8 in the conference. It also means that UVA now has a 10-4 edge in the inaugural Commonwealth Challenge, as the Cavaliers secured another point.

The win takes Virginia to 12-9, 6-5 ACC. Next up for the Cavaliers is a home contest against Longwood. This out of conference game should be a great chance for Virginia to improve on its record and keep momentum going into FSU next weekend. It will be important the the Cavaliers stay focused, even if they have the edge on paper, Virginia cannot take anyone lightly. Take care of business and Virginia will be ready for one tough stretch run that could mean the difference between the NIT, the NCAA or nothing at all.


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