Virginia Tech overcame a 12-point deficit in the second half and outlasted Villanova University 81-73 in overtime on Saturday in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Classic.
Keve Aluma had a team-high 22 points for the Hokies (2-0), who put 17 points on the board in OT and held No. 3 Villanova to nine. Teammate Nahiem Alleyne poured in 22 points, while Tyrece Radford chipped in with eight points and 13 rebounds, and Justyn Mutts netted 12 points.
The Wildcats slipped to 2-1.
Collin Gillespie led Villanova with 25 points, including 18 in the opening half. Caleb Daniels had 17 points and Jeremiah Robinson-Earl added 14.
Virginia Tech rallies back
Villanova held a 52-40 advantage with 8:45 remaining in the game.
Virginia Tech did not panic. Instead, Hokies coach Mike Young’s team stayed poise.
A 14-4 Hokies spurt trimmed the deficit to 56-54 with about 4 minutes left in the second half.
“I thought we guarded so very well throughout and we did it again over a five-minute period in the overtime and found a way to win,” Young told reporters after the game in Uncasville, Connecticut. “A huge win for us.”
In an intense duel, Villanova guard Justin Moore sank a pair of free throws with 1.3 seconds left in second half to tie it 64-all and force overtime.
Mutts steps up for Hokies
In overtime, Mutts sank a 3-pointer to make it 67-64 early in the bonus period. He then canned two fouls shots to put Virginia Tech ahead 69-64 with 3:35 to play in OT.
The victors maintained the lead the rest of the way.
Villanova had opened its season with a 74-67 win over Boston College last Wednesday.