RALEIGH, N.C. — The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team suffered another loss Saturday, but the game did produce the Hokies’ most memorable play of the season.
Jarell Eddie forced overtime when he scored on a putback after Erick Green intentionally missed a free throw. But the Hokies’ magic ended in OT, and they fell 90-86 at North Carolina State.
“It was just a great play Coach [James Johnson] designed for us,” Green said. “It worked out perfect.”
Green scored 29 points for the Hokies (11-14, 2-10 ACC), who lost their eighth straight game.
“We just can’t somehow … get over that hump,” Green said.
“It’s just really heartbreaking,” Eddie said.
The Wolfpack (18-7, 7-5) led 78-75 late in regulation. State coach Mark Gottfried did not want the Hokies, who finished with 11 3-pointers, to force OT with a 3-pointer. So before Green could launch a shot, Lorenzo Brown fouled him with 5.2 seconds left in regulation.
Green made the first free throw but intentionally missed the second, with the ball hitting the right side of the rim and backboard.
“I missed it perfect on the right side like [Johnson] told me to and got a good bounce on the rim and Jarell saved the day,” Green said. “I wanted to hit off the right side.”
When Green was at the free-throw line, Eddie was to his right — behind the 3-point arc.
Teammate Cadarian Raines moved from the right side of the lane to the left side, with two defenders following him. That gave Eddie a clear path to the right side of the basket.
A soaring Eddie grabbed the ball when it bounced off the backboard and scored on the putback to tie the score at 78 with 4 seconds left.
The Hokies had practiced that play one time early in the season, said Eddie.
“We knew it was going to work when we came out of the timeout because it worked in practice,” Eddie said. “So when he was able to miss it perfectly, I was just in position to score.”
“We were stunned,” Gottfried said. “We felt like we had the game in hand. … They could shoot 20 straight foul shots, I’m not sure you can get the ball to bounce to the right side every single time. It just bounced perfectly.”
Eddie scored 17 points. He was 7 of 13 from the field after going just 2 of 21 the previous three games combined.
“I’ve been working on it this week, to get my extra shots up,” Eddie said.
Eddie did not play the final 17 minutes of last weekend’s loss to Georgia Tech after slamming his water bottle to the floor, causing water and ice to spill on the court.
Saturday marked the second straight game in which walk-on Will Johnston started instead of Eddie. Eddie played 22 minutes Saturday, six fewer than Johnston.
“It’s big for me to get my confidence back, being able to make big plays for the team when we need them the most,” Eddie said. “All that other stuff’s behind me and now hopefully I can keep this going.”
Eddie sank a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 77-75 with 8.1 seconds left in regulation. Brown then made just one of two free throws for State.
Tech also had a chance to force a second overtime period.
But with State up 87-84, Green dribbled the ball off his foot and turned it over with 17 seconds left in OT. Brown scooped up the ball and sank two free throws.
“I was dribbling; I looked down for a quick second just to see … his feet,” said Green, who had eight assists and three turnovers. “But the ball bounced off my foot and he got it. It was my fault.”
It was Tech’s second OT loss of this skid. For the fourth time in this skid, the Hokies led at halftime.
Trailing 60-53 with 7:49 left, the Wolfpack went on a 14-0 run to grab a 67-60 lead with 3:46 to go in regulation.
Nine players scored for the Hokies, who rang up their most points since November.
Tech freshman Marshall Wood had career highs in points (14), 3-pointers (four) and rebounds (16).
Scott Wood had 22 points and six 3-pointers for State.
State was 31 of 43 from the free-throw line; Tech was 5 of 7.
“We just didn’t have enough guys getting to the basket,” Johnson said.