Northwestern outlasts Virginia Tech in OT 81-79
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) Minutes after registering a road win over an ACC opponent, Northwestern's players could be heard yelling and clapping inside the locker room, and then they cranked up the music in a rather boisterous postgame celebration.
Wildcats coach Chris Collins didn't mind.
''If you don't enjoy wins like this, then why are you doing it?'' Collins asked. ''To be able to walk into a locker room where guys are jumping around and dancing and feeling good about themselves makes me feel good as a coach.''
Bryant McIntosh scored 19 points to lead the Wildcats to an 81-79 overtime victory over Virginia Tech on Tuesday in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
McIntosh hit 8 of 15 for the Wildcats (6-1), who shot 47.8 percent (32 of 67) from the floor. He also grabbed five rebounds and handed out four assists.
McIntosh's layup with 27 seconds left in overtime gave the Wildcats an 81-79 lead and turned out to be the game winner.
''The left side kind of cleared out for me,'' McIntosh said. ''I was able to get my shoulder by (the defender's) hip and just went strong to the basket, and I was able to finish it.
''It's a big win for us. It's been a while since we won in the Challenge. It's a big win for our program.''
Virginia Tech (4-3) then called a timeout after McIntosh's basket. Seth Allen dribbled the ball around, but lost control. Devin Wilson corralled it and pitched it to Chris Clarke, who missed a baseline jumper at the buzzer that would have tied the game.
''You have to be able to go somewhere on the bounce on that play or it doesn't work,'' Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. ''It stalled out pretty quick. We probably dribbled 11 times and threw up a prayer.''
Northwestern led by as many as 11 in the first half and 45-36 at halftime. The Hokies never led in the second half, but tied the game twice, with the final time coming on two Seth Allen free throws with 55.3 seconds left that evened the game at 73.
Both teams had chances to win in regulation. McIntosh missed a layup with 47 seconds to go, and the Clarke missed a layup inside for Virginia Tech with 26 seconds left. On the final possession of regulation, the Wildcats ran the clock down and Tre Demps took a short jumper in the lane that didn't fall with 2 seconds remaining. Allen's halfcourt heave nearly went in at the buzzer, but didn't and the game went into overtime.
''Virginia Tech really ramped up the energy in the second half and got us on our heels a little bit,'' Collins said. ''We just made enough plays to win. They scored the first two baskets in overtime and went down four. Then Sanjay Lumpkin hit a 3 to cut it to 1, which I thought was a huge bucket for us.
''I'm really proud of our group. Any time you get a win on the road against an ACC team, it's huge, and it's really a big win for us as we try to make steps with our program.''
Demps added 17 points for the Wildcats, and Lumpkin scored 12.
Allen led Virginia Tech with 25 points. Justin Bibbs added 17 while Clarke had 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Virginia Tech is now 3-7 in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge while Northwestern is 7-10.
Northwestern: The game marked a return to Blacksburg for center Joey Van Zegeren, who spent parts of four seasons playing for the Hokies before graduating and transferring to Northwestern. … The Wildcats hit six 3-pointers in the first half and have hit at least five 3-pointers in the first half of six straight games. . Demps and McIntosh have scored in double figures in every game this season. . Nathan Taphorn scored in double figures for the first time this season.
Virginia Tech: The athletics department introduced new football coach Justin Fuente to the crowd at halftime. Fuente, who came from Memphis, will take over for retiring coach Frank Beamer. . The Hokies have trailed at halftime in three straight games. . Virginia Tech hit a season-high seven 3-pointers. . Clarke recorded his third double-double of the season and became the first Tech freshman with back-to-back double-doubles since Jeff Allen since the 2007-08 season. . Zach LeDay led the Hokies in scoring at 19 points per game coming into this one, but finished with just two points.
Northwestern plays at home against SIU Edwardsville on Saturday.
Virginia Tech takes on Arkansas Pine Bluff at home on Saturday.