If you’re an AP Top 25 voter, good luck putting together your next poll ballot. After No. 1 Villanova and No. 3 Purdue lost — in the Boilermakers’s case, twice — this week, Virginia Tech upset No. 2 Virginia in overtime in Charlottesville on Saturday night. Kerry Blackshear Jr. had the winning basket, coming on a putback attempt with eight seconds remaining in the extra period.
Here’s how the Hokies pulled off the 61-60 upset.
Hot out of the gates
Virginia Tech stormed out to a seven-point lead heading into halftime up 33-26, capped off by a 3-pointer by Nickeil Alexander-Walker that beat the buzzer. Scoring 33 points in a half against Virginia might as well be like scoring 50 in a half against an average opponent, due to the Cavaliers’ nation-best adjusted defensive efficiency and their slowest pace of play in the country.
Only six other teams – VCU, West Virginia, Boston College, Syracuse, Duke and Louisville – have scored at least 33 points in any half against Virginia this season. Clemson only scored 36 points against Virginia in January. In the entire game.
The Hokies were 12-for-21 from the field in the first half, including a four-plus-minute stretch where they made six consecutive shots. Five of them were 3s.
— ACC Digital Network (@theACCDN) February 11, 2018
Limiting Virginia’s guards
Virginia’s starting guards Ty Jerome, Kyle Guy and Devon Hall were just 14-for-47 combined from the field in the game and 9-for-34 from 3. Guy was 1-for-10 in the second half. Jerome missed deep 3s at the end of both regulation and overtime.
Virginia Tech held Virginia to shooting numbers – 34.4 percent from the field, 28.9 percent from 3 – that are more typical of the Cavaliers’ opponents than their own. It was the Hokies’ best defensive field goal percentage allowed against an ACC opponent and Virginia’s worst shooting night of the season.
Even Hall, who scored a team-high 16 points and made five of his 10 3-point attempts, missed his final two free throw attempts in overtime despite entering the game as a 93 percent shooter from the foul line this season. After taking a four-point lead at 60-56 with 30 seconds remaining, Virginia didn’t score again.
After Virginia took a two-score lead, Justin Robinson found Alexander-Walker, who hit the 3-pointer before halftime, for another 3 that cut the deficit to 60-59. The Hokies then fouled Hall, who missed the front end of a one-and-one.
Blackshear Jr. then grabbed Robinson’s missed layup and scored on the second-chance opportunity, which proved to be the game-winner.
Unranked Virginia Tech knocks off the No. 2 team in the country in OT! pic.twitter.com/tX84B2QjF6
— ESPN (@espn) February 11, 2018