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Hokies and BC Have a History of Tight Finishes
by Chris Coleman, TechSideline.com, TSLMail #416, January 22, 2010

Virginia Tech and Boston College have played some nailbiters in basketball since ACC expansion.  The Hokies have been on the good end and the bad end, but mostly the bad end.

BC won the first three meetings of this series since ACC expansion.  The first two games were played during the 2005-06, which was BC's first year in the league.  Both games went down to the wire.

The first game was in Cassell Coliseum on February 4, 2006.  Virginia Tech had already dropped a number of close ACC games, including the loss at Duke on a halfcourt shot.  The Eagles came to Blacksburg ranked #15 in the country behind stars Jared Dudley and Craig Smith.

Dudley scored 26 points against the Hokies, and he made two free throws with just over five seconds left to give his team a 74-73 lead.  Jamon Gordon got the ball up the court and kicked it out to Zabian Dowdell on the wing, whose three-point attempt was just off.  BC held on for the win, and Virginia Tech suffered another heartbreaking, last second loss.

The second meeting between BC and Tech that year was not much different than the first, with the Eagles picking up at 59-57 win in Chestnut Hill in the regular season finale for both teams.  This time BC was ranked #12 nationally.  Sean Marshall missed two free throws with 2.3 seconds remaining, which gave the Hokies a chance for the win.  The ending was pretty much the same as the game in Blacksburg.

Tech got the ball up the court and Zabian Dowdell managed to get a decent look from three-point range.  However, for the second time that season, it was no good.

The next tight game between Tech and BC came during the 2007-08 season, on January 26 in Chestnut Hill.  This time the close game finally went in favor of the Hokies.  Tech was playing without Jeff Allen, who bumped an official in a loss at Georgia Tech.  He was suspended for the game at BC, and the Hokies went to battle with J.T. Thompson in the starting lineup instead of Allen.

Despite missing their best inside player, the Hokies dominated in the paint.  Thompson stepped in admirably, finishing with 14 points and 12 rebounds.  Tech outrebounded BC 51-42.  The game went into overtime, and that's when freshman point guard Hank Thorns took over.  

Thorns scored nine of his 11 points in overtime, made all four of his free throws, and drained a big three-pointer that put Virginia Tech up for good.  The Hokies won the game 81-73.  It was a huge win, with Thorns outdueling BC star guard Tyrese Rice down the stretch.  Rice scored 27 points, but he did not score in the last 11 minutes of the game.

Last season's Tech-BC game in Chestnut Hill came down to the final play.  Again, the Hokies didn't have all their weapons for the entire game.  A.D. Vassallo was suspended for most of the first half, and though he returned in the second half to score 21 points, his absence for the first 12 minutes probably cost Tech the game.

The Hokies led 66-65 following two A.D. Vassallo free throws, and this time the Eagles got the last shot.  The Hokies couldn't get it done in this situation three years earlier, but BC did.  Tyrese Rice got off a three-pointer, which missed, but Tech forgot to block out wing guard Rakim Sanders.  Sanders came slicing down the lane and tipped in the miss with 0.4 seconds remaining, giving his team a 67-66 victory.

Tech fans are hoping that tomorrow's game isn't quite as dramatic as these four previous games.  The Eagles have been blown out by every ACC team they've faced, with the exception of two narrow wins over last place Miami.  However, coming off their big win in Coral Cables, expect BC to come to Blacksburg and give Tech a batte.

 

 

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