Villanova 85, Virginia Tech 83 (OT)
by Will Stewart,, 1/6/01 box score

Blacksburg, VA -- In their home Big East opener, desperately needing a strong performance in front of the home fans, the Hokies got everything they wanted but the win, falling 85-83 to Villanova in overtime.

Regulation ended in a 74-74 tie. The Hokies were behind 74-69 with 1:35 to go, but a tip-in by Carlton Carter with 59 seconds to go made it 74-71, and after a shot clock violation by Villanova, Tech's Brian Chase hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds to go to force the overtime.

In the extra frame, the Hokies took a 79-76 lead with 3:31 to go on two free throws by Chase, but Tech fizzled down the stretch. Villanova outscored the Hokies 9-1 to take an 85-80 lead with 11 seconds to go, and a three-pointer by Tech's Carlos Dixon with 0.2 seconds to go provided the final margin of 85-83.

The Hokies were led by Chase with 19 points, Bryant Matthews with 16, and Carlos Dixon with 15. Villanova was led by star center Michael Bradley with 24 points, and Ricky Wright contributed 21 off the bench.

Tech led the entire first half and did not fall behind until Villanova took the lead 55-54 with 10:23 to go on a free throw by Wright. The Wildcats stretched the lead to 5 points on two different occasions, 68-63 and 74-69.

Just three days after losing by 25 points to St. John's (in a game in which they were never in it and trailed 31-7), the Hokies got a much stronger effort in front of a home crowd of 5,648. The narrow loss to a Villanova team that was 9-2 coming in left the Hokie faithful buzzing with positive energy about the potential of the team to make some noise in the Big East this year.

Tech had a solid game plan and executed well. Turnovers have plagued the Hokies this year, but in this game, they did not turn the ball over until 4:45 remained in the first half, and for the game, they only had 14 turnovers, 6 below their season average. Unfortunately, Villanova only had 15 turnovers, and the Wildcats outscored Tech 21-15 in points off of turnovers.

Carlos Dixon and Bryant Matthews carried Tech to an 18-14 lead in the first half. Dixon had 11 of Tech's first 18 points, including 3 three-pointers, and Matthews had 5 points during that stretch, including a three-pointer. Dixon, hounded by foul trouble in the first half, would not score again until overtime.

The game was a study in contrasts, and as ESPN color analyst Len Elmore said repeatedly, a war of attrition. On offense, the Hokies opened up the Wildcats with some early three-pointers, and then worked the ball down inside for close baskets, layups, and dunks.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats dumped the ball down inside to the 6-10 Bradley, 6-10 Brooke Sales (12 points), and the 6-7 Wright. Villanova drew fouls on Tech's inside trio of Carlton Carter (4 fouls), Mibindo Dongo (fouled out) and Jon Smith (fouled out) and took 37 free throws (making 27) to Tech's 26. The Hokies only made 16 of their 26 free throws, and that was the difference in the game.

During the first half, the Hokies beat the Wildcats in the paint repeatedly for easy buckets, and Villanova countered by making 16-17 free throws. Tech led 41-36 at half time, and without the free throw attempts, Villanova may have been blown out of the building.

In the second half, the Wildcats came out and got physical, and the fouls started to pile up on the Hokies. Carter picked up his fourth foul with 13:18 to go, Smith fouled out with 10:23 to go, and Dongo fouled out with 7:43 to go. But despite having to go with a smaller lineup (which included 6-7 Bryant Matthews guarding the 6-10 Sales), the Hokies hung in the game and used their quickness and three-point shooting to nearly pull off the win.

The Hokies were outrebounded 37-26 and gave up 18 offensive boards, leading to 23 second-chance points for Villanova. Led by Chase, the Hokie bench outscored Villanova's bench 40-22.

The Hokies hope to build off the strong showing and to win a few Big East games at home and perhaps steal one or two on the road. Coach Ricky Stokes expressed disappointment at the loss but was pleased with the heart and intensity showed by his young team.

Virginia Tech is now 6-7, 0-2 in the Big East. Tech's next game is at home Wednesday night against the University of Miami. The game will be televised on ESPN+ (click here for details), and tipoff is at 7:00.


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