BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) Former Virginia Tech and NBA great Dell Curry was in the building Tuesday, and known for his superb marksmanship as a player, he probably left with an appreciation of Seth Allen’s exploits.
Allen shrugged off a subpar evening according to his standards by hitting a 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds left to play to carry Virginia Tech to a 71-70 victory over Clemson on Tuesday night.
Zach LeDay scored 19 points to lead the Hokies (19-8, 8-7 ACC), who also beat the Tigers by a point on Jan. 22. Virginia Tech won for the third time in four games and moved to 14-1 at home this season.
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In addition, the Hokies continued their penchant for winning close games, moving to 7-3 this season in games decided by five points or less.
”The line is obviously very thin, maybe almost invisible,” Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. ”The value of every possession on both ends is so monumental. ”Incredibly grateful and thankful – because it could easily be the other way.”
It has been the other way for the Tigers (14-13, 4-11), who suffered the latest in series of excruciating defeats and dropped their fifth game in their past six outings. Clemson is 3-10 in games decided by six points or less.
”It was certainly a disappointing loss for our team,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. ”I thought my guys competed extremely hard and played very well . just couldn’t get the last stop.”
Clemson’s Marcquise Reed hit a baseline jumper with 21.6 seconds left to give the Tigers a 70-68 lead. Out of a timeout, Allen missed a layup with 10 seconds left, and LeDay got the rebound, but the ball was knocked out of his hands and went out of bounds off Clemson.
Virginia Tech then worked the ball to Allen, who buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Allen finished with eight points.
”I was supposed to pass it in, but Buzz was like, `No, you go on the block,’ Allen said. ”We just played. We’ve played so many one-possession games. We don’t get rattled at the end.”
Reed led the Tigers with 18 points.
Clemson: The Tigers have been known for their defense under Brownell, but have struggled in ACC play this season. Clemson fell to 1-7 in ACC games in which it has allowed the opponent to shoot 49 percent. The Tigers have a shot at postseason play, but their chances are dwindling.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies are in great position to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a decade. They don’t have a bad loss and play two of their final three regular-season games against teams behind them in the ACC standings.
For the third consecutive game, Virginia Tech reached double figures in 3-pointers. The Hokies canned 12 of 22 against Clemson and were coming off a school-record performance against Louisville when they hit 17.
”Spacing, driving the ball. we play together really well,” Allen said. ”When Zach gets the ball in the post, they have to respect him because he’s a really good one-on-one post player. They have to help on him, and he’s a really good passer. So he passes it out and we start swinging it around the horn (to get it to the open man).
Virginia Tech has hit 39 of 71 3-pointers (54.9 percent) in the past three games.
Clemson: The Tigers close the regular season with three consecutive home games, starting Saturday when they take on No. 19 Florida State.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies played their final road game of the season Saturday when they travel to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to face Boston College.