The Moment

The Hokies knocked off No. 2 Virginia 61-60 in overtime and earned a marquee win.

There was a moment.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker knew it.

"I believed that whole time we were going to win that game. I knew that if I had the shot, I knew I was going to come down and make it. Before I even took it, nothing but confidence because I believed."

Justin Bibbs knew it.

"I was like 'Oh my god, he shot it,' Then when it went in, I said 'Oh my god, it went in,' It would be him to shoot it. That's just the type of player he is."

It happened with about 20 seconds left in overtime.

Alexander-Walker took the biggest shot of his young career and helped Buzz Williams secure the biggest win of his Virginia Tech tenure, 61-60 over No. 2 Virginia.

Let's rewind for a second.

With 12:59 left in the first half, Williams called a timeout. Tech was down 13-5 and John Paul Jones Arena was rocking. The Cavaliers felt it. The fans felt it. The media members felt it. The "Cavalanche" was coming. A stretch of game where the UVA defense just shuts down its opponent, and gains an insurmountable lead.

But then, it didn't happen. Virginia Tech went on a 17-0 run. The burst from the Hokies was nothing but pure, unstoppable, shooting. Alexander-Walker hit back-to-back long balls. Bibbs added a three of his own. Chris Clarke chipped in a triple too. Even Devin Wilson had a three drop.

Virginia finally broke the Hokies' run sprint with its own three-pointer to curb a 22-5 spurt in which the Cavaliers did not make a shot from the field for 8:21.

At one point in the first half, the Cavaliers faced their largest deficit of the season (27-15). JPJ was stunned, fraught with fans who were searching for an answer Virginia wouldn't find until after halftime. A buzzer-beater three from Alexander-Walker provided the Hokies a seven-point cushion at intermission.

However, Virginia Tech's advantage was quickly erased early in the second half due to poor shooting and poor defense. UVA came out of the locker rooms firing on all cylinders. Three straight three-pointers knotted the game up at 35, and from that point forward, it was ugly basketball.

There was a stretch — 11:44 to the 6:42 mark — where only a combined four points were scored. It was brutal. And yet at the same time, it was beautiful. As expected, Virginia flexed its muscles on defense, and somehow the Hokies matched the effort.

"Offense wasn't the problem," said Justin Robinson after the game. "We did a little segment [in practice] on offense and not being able to hear, but besides that we've just been working on jumping to the ball and staying in gaps and just working on the defensive end. That's what's going to win us games."

The production and the tenacity the Hokies showed on defense wasn't just impressive. It was record-setting. It was Tech's best defensive performance of the season and held Virginia to just 34.4% from the field — which was also a season-low for the Cavaliers.

In a pre-game conversation with other writers, I staked claim to a bold take. The first team to 50 points would win. Yet neither team breached that threshold in regulation. After the lead see-sawed a couple times over the final 6:42, the Hokies had an opportunity to hit the half-hundred mark. With Tech up 49-47, Robinson stepped to the line with 20 seconds remaining for a one-and-one. Tech was a perfect 6 for 6 up to that point. And then the front end clanged off the rim. Ty Jerome hit a jumper and everybody was treated to free basketball, tied at 49.

I jinxed the Hokies with the death tweet not once, but twice in overtime.

That's the type of game it was. Tech's certainty of both victory and defeat whiplashed throughout the overtime period. With a five-point lead, the Cavaliers seemed like they had finally worn out the scrappy Hokies. But what would this game be without yet another twist? A layup by Kerry Blackshear Jr. followed by a 1 for 2 trip at the charity stripe by Isaiah Wilkins brings us back to the moment.

Alexander-Walker is barely 19 years old. He's young. He's raw. But he's talented, and when his moment came, he was ready.

"Nothing but John 11:40. 'Did I not tell that if you believe, you would see the glory of God,'" he said after the game.

And man, talk about glory. A pump-fake. Wilkins, a veteran Cavalier flew by. Alexander-Walker stepped up in front of a sprawled DeAndre Hunter. Three-pointer, drilled.

All of a sudden, UVA's lead was just one.

Stunned silence.

Last season, UVA missed a front-end of a one-and-one to allow Seth Allen to hit a game winner. On Saturday night, UVA missed a front-end of a one-and-one to allow Blackshear Jr. to hit a game winner.

And as Ty Jerome heaved a desperation 35-footer, there was just one thought going through Bibbs' head.

"I just had to hear the buzzer," Bibbs said. "Thing was, I couldn't hear it because it was so loud. So when he missed it, I looked around then I saw all the players that were on the bench, on the court, and was like 'ah thank God.'"

Oh, and Virginia Tech scored 50 first.

Comments

I just spent the last five minutes or so just watching that shot fall over and over again. Thing of beauty.

Victory, How Sweet It Is!

Well put Henry... my wife & I screamed in our living room to put NAW in during OT and when he finally got his chance he nailed it... great Team Win!
The stunned silence in JPJ must have been a schweet moment to experience.

Same with me. The second half was bricked 3 after bricked 3. NAW was consistently hitting his shots, and not just spot up 3's, when he was in and has been the past few games. I wish he was in more in the second half because I thought he would have been the spark we needed to shoot better from distance.

I thought NAW got exposed on defense early in the 2nd half and that is why Wilson played to close out most of the game. It wasn't until we got down in OT that I remember NAW checking back in and then he hit the big 3. FWIW, I am not a Devin Wilson fan at all but he played great defense and made some big-time shots down the stretch including back-to-back FTs, which is good for him since he's something like a 51% shooter.

I thought NAW went out after he forced a couple of shots instead of running the offense.

Doesn't matter if it's cake or pie as long as it's chocolate.

Why would you not be a Devin Wilson fan? He has been a gutsy player for the Hokies for years. I love the guy. 4th all time in career assists for the Hokies. Set an ACC freshman record for minutes played.....all freshman ACC his first year. Gutsy, gritty competitor who has been a loyal player.

VHokie

Agree, Devin Wilson is a great Hokie. He's put in a lot of hard work, especially sacrificing to help the football team. He should be known and respected as a player full of Hokie pride.

Came here to say just this very thing. Devin Wilson is a good man to have around. I didn't understand all the folks here talking about how we'd be better off if he skipped this year and left a roster spot for a newcomer, as if he didn't deserve to be on the team, or that we'd be much better off without him hogging a scholly. I hope those folks are properly chagrined at this point and maybe, just maybe, able to realize that Buzz knows more about basketball than they ever will.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Good post up until you don't know as much about basketball as Buzz so your opinions are pointless.

You can support someone without agreeing with every decision/opinion they have. Having a differing opinion does not mean they are bad fans, bad Hokies or even have different aspirations for the program. They certainly shouldn't be embarrassed for a differing (and proven wrong) opinion.

Didn't say their opinions were pointless. Never called them bad fans, bad Hokies or anything of the sort. I do, however believe their opinions were wrong. If they think their aspirations for the program are somehow more important than Buzz's, or mine for that matter, well, that is their right, of course. But also, of course, that is just my opinion. I'll stand by what I actually said, but not necessarily by what you seem to think I said.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

You stated that anyone who thought the team would be better off with a different option than Wilson should be "properly chagrined". Why do you want someone to be embarrassed, disappointed, admonished etc. by Wilson's success over the past couple of games. Lets just be happy he has answered the bell in the last 2 games.

Also, the "realize that Buzz knows more about basketball than they ever will" portion of the post is counter productive to the concept of message boards. It is glib.

I liked your original post detailing why you support Wilson.
1. I have never had an overwhelming opinion on Wilson returning either way. Some player's value does not show up on the stat sheet and I though Wilson could be this type of teammate.
2. I do think that I think Buzz "outcoached" Bennett this past week. That is hard to do in the ACC and Buzz and his players deserve a ton of credit.

I do enjoy dialogue (second guessing, cheering, pity, revelry, etc.) related to the VT basketball program. Please keep posting you opinions of the basketball program.

OK, thanks. You too.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Call me chagrined. Before the season I would have said we needed another big more than Wilson. In the OC, when he had offensive/defensive subs with NAW, I felt like he was an incomplete role player, but helped us. Now I view him as the Sam Rogers of BBall, and as a favorite. May not be the best player on the team, but may symbolize what it means to be a Hokie the most. Hard to see heart through the TV when you don't play much, but the more he plays the more you see it. I know Buzz knows more than me, but will put my opinion out there anyway. I was wrong on Wilson. Hopefully Hill will make me rethink my opinion that he needs to feel it on offense to play hard, and prove me wrong again.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Look, my "chagrined" call was just a bit of hyperbole, and opinions, right or wrong, are what keeps this site working. The "Buzz knows more" comment was just an acknowledgement of the fact that we're paying the guy several million dollars a year for several years to form and coach our team, and the roster is his to fill. We yell at him all the time while watching the game, my wife is particularly critical when she thinks he's pulled someone at the wrong time or not inserted her choice of the moment. We both were critical when we didn't use our two fouls to give at the end of regulation of the UVA game. But in game coaching stuff is pretty fair game for any engaged fan, while the actual building of the roster is something we here tend to leave to the guy making the mills. Again, just me and Mrs. that I'm speaking for. I doubt there are any folks on this site that know more about basketball than Buzz, so I guess I should've phrased that differently, and didn't say it to imply any stifling of opinion. I disagreed with the comments about Wilson implying his unworthiness back when they were made, but I never downvoted anyone because of it, and couldn't help the jab now that he's back in favor. I still remember his stout efforts his freshman year, and the fact that he stuck it out despite negligible playing time and a serious shredding of the roster when Buzz came in was a big plus for him in our eyes. I guess he might not be everyone's kind of guy, but if Buzz says he's OKG, then for us, he's OKG.
Agree with you about Hill, and always respect your opinion, pretty much agree with your posts every time.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Thanks for the post and for supporting the VT basketball program.

I think your reasons for supporting Wilson are perfectly reasonable and I too think he makes the team better.

Devin will graduate with two degrees....

Pain is Temporary
Chicks Dig Scars
Glory is Forever
Let's Go Hokies!!

Two-sport D1 college athlete with two degrees. Pretty damn impressive to put on the resume.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Wait, Devin Wilson played two sports?

Wow, first I heard of that. You know you would think they would mention that during a game sometime... Do I really need to /s?

Two-sport D1 college athlete with two degrees.

D1?

Two-sport P5 college athlete with two degrees. He's here to play school, sports, and apparently every other damn thing. I'm thrilled to have him associated with our University.

Are you confused about D1 (Division 1)? Now I'm confused that you're confused.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Just meant that he's played multiple sports in the ACC, which is more impressive than playing two sports in the Sun Belt.

Ahhh I gotcha. I read your post at midnight; it makes much more sense this morning.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

I don't think P-5 applies to hoops? Did he ever contribute in football? Not to knock a favorite OKG, because he is awesome, but not sure where you are going here. Massive character props, and if we make the tourney a reason why, thrilled to have him also. Just not sure taking a year off to not play P5 football matters to me nearly as much as the heart for VT hoops turned buzzketball.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

In my (admittedly addled) mind, I'm raising the "that's amazing" bar because he's done it in the ACC, not at Arkansas State or some other school that's D1 but not top tier D1.

Goose-fucking-bumps

This is one of the most exciting teams I've been apart of ever. Sure, not the greatest and could still end up disappointing, but they play with incredible heart, passion, and brotherhood.

(looks up "fandom")

/fan-dem/ n. 'This is one of the most exciting teams I've been apart of ever' - Koastal Kings

Love it

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

My contributions are real damn it!

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

Was at the game. Lost my shit when NAW made this shot. We were dead, and were alive.

Man, what happened to Hunter on that NAW three? Talk about everything coming together for us. He just kinda fell to the floor for no reason without a chance to contest the shot.

Probably slipped like JRob did at the end of regulation

Recruit Prosim

yeah and if you look at the way he falls, he's lucky he didn't destroy his knee

Chem PhD '16

It was magnificent, and that was a signature win for the program.

That is all.

Definitely something to build on during this next stretch of challenging games.

Buzz deserves all the credit working on the defense so hard the past week. It looks like he has the team ready if we get to the tournament! Thanks Buzz!!!!

if when we get to the tournament!

FTFY

The Dude Abides

Do you believe in miracles...YES!

"Take care of the little things and the big things will come."

Between last night, the ball stuck on the rim last year, and once getting all six of my course requests... I most definitely believe in Tech miracles

Here lies It's a Stroman Jersey I Swear, surpassed in life by no one because he intercepted it.

Skutt, you're really good at this.
Great fucking write-up.

You're the only ones that I can talk to about this, you guys.

Thanks for that, Skutt. I'll admit, because of the Celine Dion blip by Dozer, I partially anticipated the usage of Clarkson's "A Moment Like This".

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Beautiful write up, well done sir!

If it ain't orange, it better be maroon...and if it ain't maroon, it better be soon!

I was getting a head start on working through the five stages of grief during OT and then completely lost my shit over the last 20 seconds of OT.

Hahaha same

Especially with basketball, it just felt like I'd seen that movie too many times to think it was going to end any differently.

Marshall had a game at 7 yesterday, so halftime of that game lined up with the end of the Tech-UVA game. When it went to overtime, I kept watching despite the Marshall game happening right in front of me. It was a media timeout when KJ made that putback, and I let out a really loud "Hell yeah!" for everyone in our section to hear.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

How about that starting lineup, which ended up playing together for much of the game? I think Buzz has found something... not what any of us expected, but he seems to have found something.

Is it football season yet?

Agreed the lineup was unusual, and will be deplored more. However I doubt we see Ahmed only play 8 minutes down the stretch. His slow shot doesn't work against a defense like UVAs, but we'll need his shot to win some more games.

Anyone else notice Hill looked pretty sour when they were shaking hands? Hope he can overcome the butt hurt because we'll need him.

I was thinking over the last 2 games: Is Hill hurt?

Doesn't seem to be involved in the offense (I know J Rob is hot), but just isn't even getting shots up anymore.

The Dude Abides

Tell us how you really feel. /s

"Agreed the lineup was unusual, and will be deplored more."

___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

I liked the lineup. Devin Wilson is key on defense and hustles more on that side of the floor because he is not asked to do very much offensively. He is a huge reason we got off to a quick start. Hill has just not been good in ACC play. It happened last year where his 3pt % goes down about 15% once he enters league play. Because of that his energy can lack too and Buzz doesn't deal with that.

Also, I've said it for a couple years now, but I guarantee you Devin Wilson shoots 70% or better when the shot clock is under 5 seconds.

Would've been easy to toss in the towel during that last minute of regulation. I am so proud of the way these guys didn't give up when the going got tough early on and then very late in the game.

I was one who was admittedly very critical of Buzz and this team's defensive effort not-so-long ago and I'm so glad they've proved me wrong over the last few games. UVA is a matchup nightmare for any team and winning the way we did without putting up 80-100 points speaks volumes to the maturity they've shown recently.

Let's keep this thing going and *trip* up the Dookies on Wednesday.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

*trip* up the Dookies on Wednesday.

I see what you did there!

We've gone into overtime the past 2 times we've beaten UVA and won the game on shots in the last 10 seconds. Look how similar these highlights are

This is gonna keep happening and I can't wait to have heart failure in 5 years.

Outside its night time, but inside its LeDay

Great write up Skutt. Great win

I'm torn with celebrating it too much though. Loved the win but I also don't want loluva thinking beating them is such a monumental achievement for VT. fuck them. No matter how good they think they are we're going to beat them.

Good post. I felt the same way about storming the court when we beat UNC.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

It's just nice beating them when they admit they care.
The rest of the time they just pretend they are too good to be bothered with cheering for juvenile sports.

FOSTERS: Australian for defense

I think you meant to say:
It's just nice beating them. They always pretend like they are too good to bother with any sport they lose at. They are juvenile.
But maybe you know classier Hoos than I do, and one admitted she cared.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

The game announcers at the time "VT doesn't necesarilly need a 3 here"

NAW catches, ducks, lets it fly. Which for anyone who doesn't play basketball is one of the hardest things to do, pump, collect, and get anything that resembles your natural motion going again (And yeah, I get it , he is an elite basketball player). Just saying that not all 3s are created equal.

One question: Why did Buzz not call a timeout at the end of regulation? He had one and could have set something up with JRobb going to the basket with shooters around him. The last drive there felt really haphazard and forced and almost cost VT the game.

Great win.

The Dude Abides

UVA is known for their defense, why give them a chance to set it up? 5 had a good drive, and likely would have put the game away if he had not slipped. It only looked bad because of the result.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

What got me.... we had 2 fouls to give at the end of regulation. Should have fouled to prevent a shot. Drained some clock and effectively forced them to take a desperate shot. The way it played out, they got a wide open look and sent it to OT.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

^^^^^This. As it happened it seemed like it would've cost us the game. announcers even said something about it. I'm hoping it was due to crowd noise that Buzz couldn't get that to the team in time. Rarely can you make mental errors like that and beat a time like UVA.

Impossible for me to critique Buzz at all right now, but I would like someone to ask this question just so we can know the answer. Know a lot was going through people's minds after the game but would've thought at least Berman would ask about it (anyway to criticize Buzz/team he can).

This game was just as exciting to listen to on the radio as it must have been on TV. Especially considering I had to listen to the Hoos' broadcast on SiriusXM in my truck while out of town.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

Robinson had a game-high 20 points to lead the Hokies, who shot 57.1 percent in the first half, when they led by as many as 12 points, and 28.6 percent in the second half.

From Doughty's game article. 28.6% and still a free throw away from winning in regulation, just emphasizes the defensive effort even more (and how slow the game went).

___

-What we do is, if we need that extra push, you know what we do? -Put it up to fully dipped? -Fully dipped. Exactly. It's dork magic.

What a rollercoaster of emotions that win was. When Jerome hit that jumper from the left elbow to tie it up, I genuinely thought was it. Then the travelling violation from #5, under 5 seconds, again I was thinking the dagger was coming.

Then in OT, down 5 points with like 30 seconds left after Wilkins hit two free throws, i had pretty much lost hope.

Then NAW's 3 pulls us within one, quick foul sends Hall back to the line for a 1 and 1 and one the nations best free throw shooters manages to miss it. OK, Hokies down 1 with ~10 seconds, feels so improbable to have even gotten to this point, anyone watching the last 5 games knows you want Jrob driving to the lane. He misses the lay-in, no foul and KBJ with what seems like only the Hokies #8th offensive rebound all season, the quick putback and the foul. Jerome misses the NBA ranged 3 in desperation, good guys win, holy crap what a game.

Anybody else laugh that Jerome rushed the shot and missed? There was actually about 2 seconds on the clock when he heaved it from the distance.

I did

We played better defense than UVA in basketball. How often can any team say that?

My whole life I've heard stories from my parents, Dad particularly, about when they were in school at VT and the Hokies knocked off #1 Memphis State on a Tuesday night in '83, same day the polls came out (and still in the Metro Conference). Pandemonium at TOTS after the game, with Dell Curry and the whole team present haha.

Edit: Pops was with "Mater Man" that night also, although his memory would get 'foggy' around that part.

I was at that game and can tell you it was one never to be forgotten. We stood and applauded and cheered for a half hour after the game. Yeah, some folks left, but more stayed and just reveled in it. I've been to a bunch of games in Cassell over the years, and never saw anything like that before or since. My memory is notoriously fuzzy, but I think some of the players had time to shower and come back out on the court to acknowledge our praise. Didn't do TOTS after the game, but that celebration kept going for a good while. Didn't recall it was a Tuesday, though. We had traveled from Nelson Co. for the game and thought it may've been on a Sunday, but like I said above, my memory...

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

It was especially delicious as the UVA fans were expecting to goto #1 after beating VT, since the other top3 teams had already lost.

It set them up for massive heartbreak.

One year ago today...

I have no idea why my username is VT_Warthog.

Arkansas blew a 24-0 lead in the Belk Bowl.

For those who haven't always been big VT hoops fans I encourage you to go back and look at the VCU game from 2013. I remember watching it, if they gave us a point for every time we crossed half court I still don't think we would have won. They went on a 10 minute, 31-0 run at one point. That was the low point for me, I'm just enjoying every win because I remember going to games with no hope to even keep it within 10.

Rip his freaking head off!

13-14 was a rough year to say the least

Outside its night time, but inside its LeDay

I was a student for the Ricky Stokes era.

And Stokes was hired because Hussey had done so well. It is amazing how many bad years we have endured as VT basketball fans.

Being competitive in a great league is lots more fun than those years. Seeing the development of freshmen like NAW is much more fun than the players of that era too (but I used to root just as hard for Brian Chase and the rest of the Hokies).

I remember when Greenberg was the miracle worker. Not that he was aweful, but I do not consider he and Buzz to be in the same league. VT hoops is the best it's been since I've been Hokie, and I'm not even sure how many conferences ago that is.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

I think Greenberg had a little trouble having his coaching evolve over time. As you play against the same teams over and over again, their coach's figure out adjustments to slow you down. It takes a really good coach to remain in the top half of the ACC. I think Buzz made an adjustment these past couple games that may save the season.