Hokies Pull Off Shocker, Beat No. 7 Duke
Friday, February 18th 2005, 6:51 am
By: News On 6
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) Virginia Tech moved a giant step closer to fitting into the Atlantic Coast Conference's basketball picture Thursday night, stunning No. 7 Duke 67-65 on Zabian Dowdell's 3-pointer with 14.6 seconds remaining.
Coach Seth Greenberg was at a rare loss for words. Carlos Dixon felt vindicated. Jamon Gordon even got scared during all the excitement.
The victory lifted the Hokies (13-10, 6-6) into a tie for fourth in the league with No. 22 Maryland and Miami, and allowed the first-year league members to show that they aren't just a football school.
``Now we belong,'' said Dowdell, only a sophomore. ``I mean, they have to take us serious now. Whether they like it or not, we're here.''
Having lost badly in games against the ACC's top tier teams, including a 100-65 loss at Duke 18 days earlier, the Hokies set out to show something against the Blue Devils (18-4, 8-4) _ and made history.
The victory, not secured until Daniel Ewing's shot missed with the clock racing down to zeros, was the Hokies' first against a top-10 team since they beat No. 2 Memphis in 1986, also at Cassell Coliseum.
And this one ended with hundreds of students rushing onto the floor, and the public address announcer asking for whoever it was that wound up with Gordon's jersey to please return it because he doesn't have another.
``I was almost scared for a moment'' when the students charged onto the court, Gordon said. ``But I was so happy that we won.''
The victory was one of the biggest in Hokies history, and came against the most unlikely opponent _ the one with the reputation for working hard.
The other ranked teams in action Thursday night avoided losses, with No. 12 Louisville having the closest call before beating Marquette 64-61. No. 10 Arizona routed Oregon 92-67; No. 12 Gonzaga handled San Diego 90-73; and No. 25 Villanova defeated Seton Hall 66-52.
Behind 14 points and 18 rebounds from Coleman Collins, Virginia Tech outrebounded Duke 49-32. The Hokies got J.J. Redick in foul trouble for the first time this season and they blocked 12 shots, making All-America candidates Redick and Shelden Williams work extra hard for shots.
``It's almost beyond words,'' Greenberg, the Hokies' second-year coach, said, ``and anyone who knows me, to be beyond words is pretty hard for me.
``Duke is Duke,'' Greenberg said, struggling to explain his feelings. ``Ten Final Fours. Everything good you can think about college basketball, Duke epitomizes. To me, they're the Yankees, and I'm a Yankee fan.''
The finish was frantic, with Redick hitting a 3-pointer with 22.9 seconds left to give the Blue Devils a 65-64 lead, and Dowdell coming back with a jumper from the right wing that caused the sellout crowd to erupt.
After timeouts by each team, Duke inbounded the ball with 4.9 seconds left and Redick fed Ewing right of the key for his errant 3-point try.
The Blue Devils, reknowned for being relentless, came up short.
``It's all about hustle and effort and attitude,'' Redick said. ``You've got to go make it happen, and Virginia Tech made it happen tonight.''
Dixon led the Hokies with 18 points and more than held his own against Redick, who scored 19 and but missed nine of 16 shots. The 6-foot-3 Gordon added 17 points and four blocks, and Dowdell scored 11.
Collins, just 18, also blocked five shots.
Redick brought the Blue Devils back to 60-all on a drive with 3:05 left. After Jeff King, a tight end who joined the basketball team after the football season ended, made a baby hook to get the Hokies back in front, Williams muscled one in inside to tie it again. That set up the thrilling finish.
Collins, 10-for-10 from the line in a game earlier this year, missed a pair with 1:11 left, but Redick missed a 17-footer at the other end.
Gordon then emerged from a crowd under the Hokies' basket to tip in a miss with just over 32 seconds left, bringing deafening roars, but Redick, a native of Roanoke about 40 minutes away, nailed his third 3-pointer.
``They beat us pretty bad down there, and I guess they didn't think we had enough gas in our tank to keep playing hard,'' Dixon said.
``We just showed them what we're all about.''
No. 12 Louisville 64, Marquette 61
At Milwaukee, Francisco Garcia's 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds remaining capped a 14-0 run for Louisville (22-4, 10-2 Conference USA).
Travis Diener's 3-pointer to tie at the buzzer bounced off the rim.
No. 10 Arizona 92, Oregon 67
At Tucson, Ariz., Salim Stoudamire shook off a slow start to score 22 points, and the Wildcats made 21 of 30 shots in the second half.
Channing Frye scored 19 points and blocked a career-high seven shots in the fifth consecutive victory for the Pac-10 leading Wildcats (22-4, 12-2).
Malik Hairston scored a career-high 21 points on 10-for-12 shooting for the Ducks (12-10, 4-9.
No. 13 Gonzaga 90, San Diego 73
At Spokane, Wash., Derek Raivio scored 29 points for Gonzaga (20-4, 10-2 WCC), which has won seven in a row and reached 20 wins for the eighth consecutive season. Gonzaga is 35-0 at home when ranked.
San Diego (13-11, 5-6 WCC) got 26 points and 13 rebounds from Brandon Gay.
No. 25 Villanova 66, Seton Hall 52
At East Rutherford, N.J., Curtis Sumpter scored 25 points, hitting the key baskets late in both halves to propel the Wildcats (16-6, 6-5 Big East).
Andre Sweet had 13 points for Seton Hall (11-11, 3-8).
Seton Hall played without swingman J.R. Morris, who was suspended to ``focus on his academic obligations,'' according to a written statement issued by the school.