BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Dorenzo Hudson scored 17 of his game-high 27 points in the second half to lift Virginia Tech past Connecticut 65-63 in a second-round NIT game Monday night.
The Hokies (25-8), who tied a school record for victories in a season, advanced to the quarterfinals of the NIT, where they will play Rhode Island at home Wednesday night. Tech is 17-1 at home this season, with the lone loss coming in double overtime to Maryland.
"The resiliency and toughness and competitive spirit of this team never ceases to amaze me," Hokies coach Seth Greenberg said. "They're just an amazing group. Keeping their composure, their ability to make plays down the stretch, their ability to get stops. They're just a tough, competitive group that finds a way to win.
"I was really proud of the way we executed down the stretch. ... Down the stretch, we couldn't have executed any better."
Following a timeout with 22 seconds left and the Hokies trailing 63-62, Hudson hit a 17-foot jumper with 14.1 seconds to go to give Virginia Tech a one-point lead.
UConn (18-16) then called a timeout to set up a final play, and Kemba Walker took a short jumper that was blocked by Tech's Jeff Allen. Walker got the loose ball and threw it to an open Gavin Edwards, who missed a layup and the Hokies' Terrell Bell got the rebound.
Walker fouled Bell with less than a second to go and Bell made the second of two free throws, giving Tech a 65-63 lead. Walker's long shot was off the mark as time expired.
"I thought we outworked them," UConn coach Jim Calhoun said. "But they made the plays to win the game. I don't mean that to say anything detrimental to Virginia Tech. It's just that we haven't always outworked people.
"For me personally, this was the most bitter loss we've had all year because I was so proud of their effort. I thought we were going to score at the end. When Kemba took that turnaround and then we had that shot inside (Edwards' layup) to win the game but those things happen."
Hudson made 12 of 20 from the floor and grabbed six rebounds. JT Thompson added 10 for the Hokies.
Malcolm Delaney, the Hokies' leading scorer at more than 20 per game coming in, managed just six points while shooting 2 for 14 from the floor. He did hand out nine assists.
Walker led UConn with 18 points and hit 7 of 15 from the floor. He also grabbed six rebounds and had four assists. Jerome Dyson finished with 15 points and Edwards had 10.