In order to come back from a 15-point margin with less than five minutes remaining in Saturday's loss to Virginia Tech, Virginia scored on eight consecutive possessions. What crippled the Cavaliers, though, were conversions by Virginia Tech guards Malcolm Delaney and A.D. Vassallo late in the shot clock in the game's final two minutes.
Delaney's basket turned a five-point lead into seven points with one minute and 47 seconds remaining in the game. Vassallo's turned a two-point lead into a four-point advantage with 19 seconds remaining. On both possessions, Virginia Coach Dave Leitao elected to stick to tough defense and hope to make the stop instead of putting an inexperienced free-throw shooter on the line.
"One thing they did do very well was keep the ball primarily in those guys' hands," Leitao said. "I thought about [fouling] for a moment, but i thought as we were coming back, and being a little more aggressive on offense, if we could just get that stop...and obviously, we didn't get it."
It was a decision that merited a question in hindsight but seemed practical during the game. Credit needed to go to Delaney and Vassallo, who hit crucial shots under intense pressure. Vassallo's jumper was the dagger. He sank the 10-footer with five seconds remaining on the shot clock. Mamadi Diane played tough defense on Vassallo, but the Hokies senior simply came through in the clutch.
"When you got two minutes, three minutes, I look at it in terms of number of possessions that you potentially have available to you," Leitao said. "If you're down enough that there's a narrow, smaller amount, then maybe you have to gamble. They had good rhythm from the floor, from the line, and that's why I made the decision."
January 12, 2009; 7:22 AM ET
Go to full archive for News Feed »
Please email us to report offensive comments.
The comments to this entry are closed.