The Hokies put on a great run in the 2011 ACC Tournament, but fell short in Saturday’s semifinal against second-seeded Duke 77-63. Tech showed signs of fatigue playing its third game in three days and never really challenged the Blue Devils down the stretch.
With the loss, Tech now finds itself at 21-11 and awaits a potential NCAA Tournament berth on Sunday night.
The two teams battled back and forth in the game’s opening minutes before Duke opened up a 10-point advantage thanks to a 12-2 run to make it 26-16 with a little over seven minutes remaining. Duke then held the Hokies at arms length the rest of the half, which was capped off by a Seth Curry three-pointer on the Devils last possession to give Duke a 39-28 lead at the break.
Tech tried to make a run to start the second half, cutting the deficit to 41-35 on an Erick Green jumper with a tad over 17 minutes remaining. Duke immediately responded with a Kyle Singler bucket, and after a Malcolm Delaney turnover, Seth Curry was fouled and hit two free throws to push the lead back up to 10.
Duke played tremendous defense down the stretch, allowing the Hokies to get within single digits just once in the game’s final 16 minutes. Tech’s frustration boiled over late, as Jeff Allen was charged with a dead-ball technical foul and eventually fouled out, scoring just two points.
Tech shot poorly for the second straight day, making just 37 percent of its shots, including a pathetic 2-of-16 from beyond the arc. Delaney led the Hokies with 19 points, but made just 4-of-14 shots from the field. Green had 17 for Tech a day after knocking down the game-winner against Florida State. Victor Davila was the only other Hokie in double figures, adding 11.
Nolan Smith showed no problems a day after jamming a toe on his left foot, scoring 27 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Singler had 13 points for Duke, while Seth Curry actually scored against Tech for the first time this season, adding 10 points.
All signs point to the Hokies making the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2006-07 season, but who knows what can happen in the next 24 hours. The selection show will be aired at 6 p.m. on CBS. If Tech’s bubble somehow gets burst again, the Hokies will more than likely be a No. 1 seed in the NIT.
As for the ACC Tournament, Duke will now face No. 1 seed North Carolina tomorrow at 1 p.m. on ESPN. It will be the first time in 10 years that the two blue bloods will battle for the ACC Tournament crown.