Sophomore Danté Jackson right after he let loose his half-court shot that gave the Musketeers a 63-62 overtime victory against Virginia Tech.
Nov. 21, 2008
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Sophomore Danté Jackson’s half-court shot as time expired banked off the backboard and in to give the Xavier University men’s basketball team a 63-62 overtime victory over Virginia Tech. The Musketeers will face the winner of a matchup between Memphis and Seton Hall in the finals of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Sunday.
Jackson was 0-for-8 from the field before he let the last-second shot loose just seconds after a tip-in by the Hokies seemed to have dashed XU’s hopes of playing in the championship. But the sophomore’s first field goal of the night provided the winning margin for the Musketeers, who move to 4-0 on the season.
Junior Derrick Brown scored 16 points to lead Xavier, which handed the Atlantic Coast Conference its first loss of the season. Before Friday afternoon’s contest, the ACC was 29-0 on the season.
Jeff Allen led three Hokies in double figures, scoring a game-high 22 points. Malcolm Delaney went 3-of-6 from three-point range on his way to 15 points, playing a game-high 42 minutes.
Scoring nine of his 13 points in the second half and overtime, senior C.J. Anderson helped lead the Musketeers back from a pair of 10-point deficits in the final 15 minutes of regulation. Virginia Tech (3-1) went ahead 46-36 with 10:09 to play, matching its largest lead of the game. XU scored the next seven points, including a run of five straight from Anderson, to pull within three at the 8:15 mark.
The Hokies built their lead back to seven on a three-pointer by Delaney with 5:13 to play in the second half, but that proved to be the last time Virginia Tech would score in regulation as the Musketeers mounted their comeback.
Brown started the rally with a three-pointer with just over four minutes remaining, and Anderson cut the deficit to two points with a pair of free throws with 3:33 on the clock. With two and a half minutes remaining in the half, freshman Kenny Frease pulled down an offensive rebound and drew a foul with XU trailing by two. He hit both shots from the charity stripe to tie the game with what proved to be the final points of regulation.
Once again locked in a back-and-forth battle, Xavier traded baskets with Virginia Tech early in the first half. Trailing 7-4, the Musketeers scored seven straight points to take an 11-7 lead on a reverse layup by Brown with 9:51 to play in the half.
The Hokies responded with a 14-4 run, building an eight-point advantage, 23-15, when Dorenzo Hudson converted a layup off a nice feed from Jeff Allen with just over four minutes to play before halftime. That was as big as the margin would get before the Musketeers closed out the half with an 8-2 run to pull within two at the break. Frease recorded four of those points for XU, scoring on consecutive possessions with decisive moves in the post.
The Musketeers will play the winner of tonight’s other semifinal, which will pit Memphis against Seton Hall, on Sunday.