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Sunday May 20th, 2018 6:01AM

Blackshear's putback lift Hokies past No. 2 Virginia in OT

By The Associated Press
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) — Kerry Blackshear Jr. scored on a putback with 5.8 seconds left and Virginia Tech spoiled No. 2 Virginia's opportunity to climb to No. 1 with a 61-60 overtime victory Saturday night.

Blackshear rebounded a missed layup by Justin Robinson and banked it in as he was being fouled. He missed the free throw, but Ty Jerome's 28-foot attempt at the other end missed badly and the Hokies (18-7, 7-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) had a marquee victory.

Robinson led the Hokies with 20 points and seven assists, and Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 12 points.

Devon Hall had 16 points for Virginia (23-2, 12-1), but the 93.3 percent free throw shooter missed twice from the line in the final 31 seconds. De'Andre Hunter added 14 points and Kyle Guy 13 for the Cavaliers, who shot just 34.4 percent, making 21 of 61 shots.

The Cavaliers seemed a likely new No. 1 after No. 1 Villanova lost this week to St. John's.

Hall made his fifth 3-pointer with 1:01 left in overtime, giving the Cavaliers a 57-54 lead. Two free throws by Isaiah Wilkins made it 59-54, but Blackshear scored for the Hokies. After Hall made the front end of a one-and-one, he missed the second. Alexander-Walker hit his fourth 3-pointer to pull the Hokies to 60-59 and, after Hall missed the front end of another one-and-one, Blackshear made the putback.

BlackshearRobinson had a chance to put the Cavaliers in real trouble, but missed the front end of a one-and-one with 20.6 seconds left and the Hokies ahead 49-47. On the ensuing possession, Jerome hit a jumper from the right elbow with 9 seconds left, forcing overtime.

Virginia trailed almost throughout after the Hokies reeled of 17 straight points in the first half, finally pulling even at 35-all with Hall, Ty Jerome and Hall again nailed consecutive 3-pointers early in the second half. The game stayed close the rest of the way, but the Hokies opened a 49-45 lead on Devin Wilson's backdoor bucket off a pass from Kerry Blackshear Jr. with 1:17 left.

Ty Jerome ended a more than 4-minute scoreless streak for Virginia with a layup with 52 seconds remaining, setting up the finish.

The Hokies shot 57 percent overall (12-21) and 57 percent from 3-point range (8-14) in the first half, at one point reeling off 17 straight points to open a 22-13 lead. Virginia closed the margin to 30-26 on Kyle Guy's 3-pointer with 26 seconds left, but Nickeil Alexander-Walker hit a 3-point at the halftime buzzer. It was the third buzzer-beating 3 for the Hokies in the half, and gave them a 33-26 lead.

BIG PICTURE

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are a very dangerous team when they are making shots, and that's pretty often. They are third nationally in field goal percentage (.517) and have five players averaging in double figures, but with Robinson getting really assertive in recent weeks and surpassing his career high three times, some of their other scorers have all but disappeared. A more consistent production from Justin Bibbs and Ahmed Hill would take some pressure off Robinson.

Virginia: The Cavaliers faced a halftime deficit in their last game, but that was on the road at Florida State. It has been incredibly unusual for them to trail at home — witness their 16-game home winning streak dating to last season — and Virginia Tech made it difficult after halftime with stout defense of its own.

UP NEXT

The Hokies go on the road to play their first of two games against No. 9 Duke on Wednesday night.

The Cavaliers go on the road to face No. 25 Miami on Tuesday night.

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More AP college basketball: https://collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Follow Hank on Twitter at www.twitter.com/hankkurzjr

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