It was a tough loss to end the season for the Hokies, who fell to Wichita State 79-76 in overtime in the second round of the NIT.
The game drew 4,382 fans at Cassell Coliseum, including 1,067 students who were admitted free. Tech boosters paid for 150 student tickets, with the athletic department paying for the rest.
It was amazing that Tech (22-12) even managed to force overtime.
The Hokies played the final 4:36 of regulation and all of overtime without Jeff Allen (who fouled out) and center Victor Davila (who re-injured his shoulder).
“I’m just really proud,” coach Seth Greenberg said. “If anyone didn’t think these kids came to play and came to win …. it was easily answered. We wish we had two defensive plays back, the 3 by Durley (that tied the score at 69) and then not stopping the ball (on the game winning layup). But that doesn’t define what these guys did today.
“We had our chances. We needed to get two stops and we didn’t. … We had a hard time guarding at the end. Our matchups were a little bit tough. But overall I can’t be anything but proud of these guys.
“The kids showed remarkable stick-to-iteveness and gave great effort. …. These kids are competitive. That’s who they are.”
Allen (10 points, moving into 11th place on the VT career scoring list) fouled out with 6:12 left in regulation when he was called for a defensive foul while he was nowhere near the ball.
Davila, who has been playing with an injured right shoulder since getting hurt in the first round of the ACC Tournament, left with 4:36 left in regulation. Davila said he received two shots before Saturday’s game and played in “a lot of pain.” He left after feeling his shoulder pop.
“Davila’s courage today was remarkable,” Greenberg said. “He couldn’t lift his arm above his shoulder for the last three days, and yet he wanted to play….. Green hasn’t practiced in two days (because of an ankle injury). This game shows you who some of these guys are. … (Davila) caught it on that one dunk and hyperextended it again. He’ll have his MRI on Wednesday. I would expect it’s probably a torn labrum or a rotator cuff. … The guy showed unbelievable courage, just amazing courage. … I was hesitant to even play him at all in the second half (because of) … the pain he was in. … I didn’t think he was going to play (at all today).”
Davila said he was in a lot of pain.
“I tried to suck it up and play, but I was in a lot of pain the whole week,” he said.
He felt his shoulder pop after missing a shot with less than seven minutes to go, and left the game with 4:36 left.
“That’s when I hurt it worse,” he said.
Davila was replaced by walk-on guard Paul Debnam, who joined a lineup of Delaney (30 points), guard Erick Green (17 points), small forward Terrell Bell and reserve swingman Manny Atkins.
“It was like an intramural lineup out there for awhile,” Greenberg said.
“Paul … kind of changed the game with his defense and keeping the ball alive,” Delaney said. “We just played our hearts out, and that causes games to go in to overtime and stuff. … It was just our ethic.
“It’s bad to go out with a loss like this, but we played our hardest, so I can’t be mad at how we did.”
Delaney was guarding 6-8, 236-pound center J.T. Durley away from the ball when Durley was called for a foul for knocking Delaney to the floor. Green then made a layup to cap a 7-0 run, giving Tech a 64-63 lead with 2:35 left in regulation.
“Durley was posting up and a sniper got Delaney, so he fell to the ground,” Shockers coach Gregg Marshall joked. “We have to be careful posting up with those smaller guys because they’re crafty like that.”
Atkins sank a 3-pointer to give Tech a 69-66 lead with 1:09 left.
But Durley, left open by Atkins, drained a 3-pointer to tie the score at 69 with 47 seconds left.
Bell missed a 3-pointer with 22 seconds to go.
Shockers guard Joe Ragland drove to the basket but missed an off-balance shot with one second to go in regulation.
Durley fouled out with 4:26 left in OT. He was replaced by 7-foot, 256-pound reserve center Garrett Stutz, who had three baskets and a free throw in overtime. Stutz was guarded by the 6-7, 200-pound Atkins.
“It was tough, being a 6-7 guard, guarding a 7-foot guy in the post,” Atkins said. “He had all his mechanics down. It was tough to stop. … I was trying everything I could to fight around him, try to use my quickness around him. … I was trying to get around him, but he used his size on me, and once he got me behind him, he got into the post, it was tough, there was nothing I could do.”
“Coach put a pretty big emphasis on it, that they didn’t really have an inside presence at that time,” Stutz said.
“Stutz, when Durley fouls out, really becomes a huge factor for us — and when I mean huge, look at him, he’s a big fellow,” Marshall said.
“That was the key to the game, them bringing [Stutz] in at that time,” Delaney said. “Manny played his hardest in the low post, but a 7-foot guy that can score around the basket is a tough matchup for any wing guy. We tried to double but he was too far in the paint for us to get there, so we couldn’t reall help Manny.”
“We wanted to try to get around in front of him,” Greenberg said. “That’s a pretty big guy to get around in front. At the end we were going to scrape it and try to double it as hard as we could. He did a good job keeping the ball high.”
After Delaney missed a 3-pointer, Stutz scored to give the Shockers (26-8) a 76-74 lead with 1:05 left in OT.
Green missed a jumper, but he stole a pass by Stutz and fed the ball to Bell, who drove to the basket and made a layup with 9.2 seconds left to tie the score at 76.
Ragland drove to the basket and scored to give the Shockers a 78-76 lead with 2.6 seconds left.
“Once Bell got the layup, he was kind of close to the baseline, and I knew if I could use my speed to get by him and get to the middle, then a lot of stuff would be open,” Ragland said. “When I got by him, I picked my head up and Stutz was kind of wide open. He was calling for the ball, so I was trying to get it to him. Then Green … cut me off pretty well, so I just avoided him and I thought there was not that much time left, and I shot a floater.”
“Terrell got a little bit behind and I stepped in front and he did a nice little move behind the back and hit a floater,” Green said. “I should’ve stayed in front of the ball.”
He made a behind the basket move to get past Green.
“That is exactly my go-to move,” Ragland said. “Once I seen him come to my left, it was an instinct, and I got by.”
Greenberg called timeout with 2.6 seconds left.
“I tried to get him on the run so he had some room. I figured with two and a half seconds …. I could get him on the other side of halfcourt,” Greenberg said.
Debnam inbounded to Delaney, who caught the pass in front of the Wichita bench and dribbled once. Wichita’s Toure Murry ran in front of him, Delaney stepped out of bounds and the official right next to them blew his whistle with 1.3 seconds left.
Had Murry run into Delaney for a stunning foul in the waning seconds, just like Butler’s Shelvin Mack had run into Pittsburgh’s Gilbert Brown in the NCAA tournament Saturday?
No. The official pointed to where Delaney stepped out of bounds. Greenberg slammed the scorers’ table.
Murry “stuck his leg out and I went out bounds,” Delaney said. “It could’ve been contact, [or] it couldn’t have been. The refs did a good job. I thought I had a clear lane until he stuck his leg out.”
“He was definitely out of bounds. Murry did a great job,” said Marshall. “It was … eerily similar to the [Butler-Pitt] play. There was no contact, but Delaney put his foot on the line. He also traveled, I think. But we finally got a break … with the whistle.”
The Shockers won despite going just 7-of-12 from the free-throw line, compared to Tech’s 26-of-34.
“We couldn’t seem to keep them off the foul line,” Marshall said.
Still, Allen wasn’t happy with the refs.
“I seriously don’t think the last two fouls that were called on me were fouls,” Allen said. ”On one end we were getting beat to death and on the other end it was a touch-foul call. It was kind of inconsistent. But we just had to play through it, and I think the team and I did a great job of doing that. But… if I was able to stay in the game and finish, we probably would’ve had a better outcome.”
Tech shot just 42 percent from the field and was outrebounded 36-30. Wichita shot 49.2 percent from the field.
Marshall, a Cave Spring grad, won in his return to Southwest Virginia.
“It means a lot,” he said.