Win­ning with ‘spirit’: Hok­ies con­tinue to play well mi­nus Clarke


The Washington Post Sunday - - COLLEGE BASKETBALL - BY KEN POWTAK

bos­ton — Two weeks ago, Vir­ginia Tech’s sea­son took a big hit when it lost one of its bet­ter play­ers — for­ward Chris Clarke — to a sea­son-end­ing knee in­jury.

Coach Buzz Wil­liams is im­pressed with how the Hok­ies have re­sponded.

Justin Bibbs scored 13 points, get­ting seven with a four-point play and a three-poin­ter 27 sec­onds later to cap a game-break­ing run that car­ried Vir­ginia Tech to a 91-75 win over Bos­ton Col­lege on Saturday.

“I think they’re play­ing with great, great spirit,” Wil­liams said af­ter the Hok­ies won for the third time in four games without Clarke. “I think their chem­istry and the way they’re work­ing is at an all-time high.”

Zach LeDay led the Hok­ies (20-8, 9-7 ACC) with 18 points. Ty Out­law had 16, and Seth Allen added 15.

The Hok­ies shot 75 per­cent in the sec­ond half, hit­ting 7 of 8 three-point at­tempts.

“Ev­ery­body was shoot­ing, and we were mov­ing the ball around,” LeDay said of the big sec­ond half. “When we’re shoot­ing like that, no­body can stop us.”

Jerome Robin­son scored 25 and Ky Bowman added 16 for the Ea­gles (9-20, 2-14), who have lost 12 straight.

The Hok­ies broke a 50-all tie when Justin Robin­son hit the first of two free throws that trig­gered the key 21-6 run.

Fol­low­ing a driv­ing bas­ket by Allen, BC’s Mo Jef­fers was whis­tled for a tech­ni­cal when he slammed the ball to the floor af­ter be­ing called for a block­ing foul. Allen then hit two free throws, and LeDay had a three­p­oint play for a 56-50 lead.

The Hok­ies capped the run when Out­law had a three-poin­ter from the left cor­ner, Bibbs a four-point play af­ter he nailed a three and was fouled by A.J. Turner, and Bibbs fol­lowed with an­other three from the top of the key.

“That’s the dif­fer­ence in the game. They’re play­ing to win, and we’re not,” BC Coach Jim Chris­tian said. “We’re not shoot­ing the ball with the con­fi­dence to win it, and we’re not get­ting the stops. Sim­ple as that.”

There was a mo­ment in the first half when nearly all 10 of the play­ers on the court hit the floor dur­ing a long scram­ble for a loose ball; the ball rolled from in­side the three-point line be­fore it was tied up at mid­court for a jump ball.

A vic­tory over BC was im­por­tant for the Hok­ies’ NCAA tour­na­ment hopes. With two home games left be­fore the con­fer­ence tour­na­ment, they have things lined up well.

The Ea­gles, mean­while, closed out their home sched­ule with an­other loss. With Ath­letic Di­rec­tor Brad Bates step­ping down in June, Chris­tian’s fu­ture will be in the hands of a new AD af­ter an­other rough sea­son.

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