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Radford shot lifts Hokies in 2nd OT, 79-77, over UNC

Tyrece Radford made a short jumper with 0.4 seconds left in the 2nd overtime Wednesday night and Virginia Tech sent North Carolina to its 5th consecutive loss.
Credit: AP
Virginia Tech guard Tyrece Radford (23) drives past North Carolina defender Armando Bacon (5) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Blacksburg, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020.(AP Photo/Lee Luther Jr.)

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Tyrece Radford hadn't made a shot all game, but when the ball came to him with the clock racing toward 0.00, he knew it was time to do something.

The redshirt freshman made a short jumper with 0.4 seconds left in the second overtime Wednesday night and Virginia Tech sent North Carolina to its fifth consecutive loss, 79-77. "I just was staying on my toes, staying ready in case anything happened," Radford said of the final play, which started with a pass from Landers Nolley. "Luckily, the ball came my way, and I was able to take it off Landers' shoulder and go finish with contact. It was a big moment, and you live for more moments like that."

It happened so fast, Radford figured there was only one thing to do. He drove into the lane and made his only field goal of the game from in front of the basket for the Hokies (14-5, 5-3 Atlantic Coast Conference).

"I knew it was time to go," he said. "The time was running down, and we needed a bucket. It was already double overtime, so I just went to the goal. I was focused on finishing through the contact I knew I was going to receive from it. It (the shot) was big."

Unlike an overtime loss against Syracuse on Saturday, when Nolley settled for a long 3-pointer that missed in a 71-69 setback, this time, he "made exactly the right play," first-year Hokies coach Mike Young said. "He learned from his mistake." Nolley scored 22 points and Jalen Cone 18 for the Hokies.

Garrison Brooks scored 28 points and Justin Pierce had 15 for the short-handed Tar Heels (8-10, 1-6), who lost their sixth consecutive conference game for the first time in program history. They also kept coach Roy Williams tied with former UNC coach Dean Smith at 879 victories, tied for fourth among Division 1 head coaches. "Yes. I think we're getting better," Williams said, "but I also think we made so many just silly plays and didn't do what we needed to do to make a winning play."

The Tar Heels, without top scorer Cole Anthony (19.1 ppg) since early December, also played without No. 3 scorer Brandon Robinson (12.1), who the school said continues to suffer from persistent neck pain after a car accident on Jan. 11. Also, freshman guard Anthony Harris (right knee) has played in only five games, and junior forward Sterling Manley (left knee) hasn't played in any. "If you asked me in August who our top seven players were going to be, I'd say we're missing four of the seven," Williams said.

The loss was the Tar Heels' 10th in 13 games since a 5-0 start. North Carolina had a chance to win it in regulation, but Brooks' turnaround jumper from just inside the free throw line hit the back rim and missed. They also came up empty at the end of the first overtime with the score at 67-all.