The Jackets fell to Virginia in a heartbreaking buzzer-beater on Monday night 76-74. The game was their make up game from Feb. 21 when the game was cancelled because of a leak in the roof. This is the Jackets’ sixth loss in the past seven games and moves their overall record to 12-16 and 5-9 in conference.
With under one minute to play in the game, Virginia senior guard Sean Singletary made two free throws to bring UVA within one point of the lead. When the Jackets got the ball with 58 seconds left, Singletary picked off a pass by sophomore forward Zach Peacock and attempted a lay-up which was tipped in by sophomore guard Calvin Baker.
“I jumped into the air to make the pass, but [Singletary] was already standing there and I thought I could squeeze one by [to] Mo Miller,” Peacock said.
Tech got the ball back with 29 seconds to play. Senior forward Jeremis Smith made a lay-up to give Tech the one-point advantage, but UVA was able to take the ball coast-to-coast. This led to a three-pointer to give UVA a two-point lead over the Jackets. The Jackets got the ball back with four seconds to play, but were unable to get a basket after freshman point guard Maurice Miller missed a quick and long three-pointer.
“I thought when the ball was in the basket [after Smith’s shot], I called the timeout. I figured the best offense they would have is to get the ball into Singletary’s hands in a one point game and try to get him to go coast-to-coast, so we tried to stop that, but [the timeout] was not acknowledged,” said Head Coach Paul Hewitt.
Zach Peacock led the Jackets with 23 points, surpassing his previous career high of 18 which came against UVA last month up in Charlottesville, Va. Peacock also led the Jackets with seven rebounds. Senior guard Anthony Morrow followed Peacock with 13 points. They were the only two Tech players to reach double-digits.
The Jackets hit a rocky path early in the second half. UVA junior forwardLauryna Mikalauskas got the and-one after Morrow was called for foul during a lay-up. After the shot, Morrow was called for a technical. After UVA made all three free throws, they got the ball back and made another lay-up. The entire play accounted for seven points.
“[The official] said I pushed him, but I thought he pushed me. It was a heat of the moment thing,” Morrow said.
Tech was also called for two lane violations during the game, both of which UVA was able to capitalize on.
“Two lane violations and a technical foul, that’s four points. You can not give away four point in games this close…If we can eliminate those mistakes we could walk out of here with a three or four point win…but in a ACC game you just can’t do those things. It’s just that simple, you just can’t do it,” Hewitt said.
“We beat this team before. As a team we should have went ahead and put them away early, but we traded baskets with them. When you do that the game almost never goes your way,” Peacock said.
On Saturday, Tech ended a woeful home-losing streak that lasted more than a month, topping Wake Forest in overtime at home, 87-79.
The Jackets have struggled all year when playing at Alexander Memorial Coliseum and had only one conference win at home this season. They beat Virginia Tech 81-70 on January 19.
Anthony Morrow led the Jackets with 22 points and was three-for-six from behind the arc. Mo Miller added 18 points in 37 minutes of play. The other point guard in rotation, Matt Causey, sat out after suffering a concussion in the game against Duke.
The first half was characterized by many of the mistakes made, with the two combining for 14 turnovers. The two teams combined to go to the free throw line 35 times alone in the first half. Still, the Jackets led the game by seven points heading into the locker room.
“Right from the beginning we couldn’t get into any kind of flow. Neither team could get in any kind of flow. There were a couple of long injury delays,” Hewitt said.
Tech played even worse in the second half and saw a significant drop in production. They shot just over 30 percent from the field as opposed to the nearly 60 percent they shot during the first half. They were only able to make five-of-nine shots from the charity stripe as opposed to the 16-for-21 they shot in the first half.
Once again, at the end of the game, the Jackets were preparing for a shot that would have given them the lead, but the ball was turned over and the game was set to go to overtime.
Despite’s Tech’s miscues at the end of the game, they were able to pick up and score three-of-five field goals. They locked down Wake Forest, forcing them into four three-point shots that the whole team missed. In the final five minutes of the game, they only managed to score seven points.
In overtime, the Jackets were able to go to the free throw line 14 times. This was the difference maker in the game, as Tech made eight more free throws than the Demon Deacons in the extra period. Furthermore, three of the Demon Deacons players fouled out right before or during overtime.
Tech played Clemson yesterday and travel to Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass. to play their final regular season game on Saturday. They then travel to the ACC tournament in Charlotte.