BLACKSBURG, Va. — In their last game, the Virginia Tech Hokies let a late lead slip away in an overtime loss at Syracuse.
Against Clemson, though, the Hokies finished.
Zach LeDay scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Virginia Tech to a 60-57 victory over Clemson on Saturday.
LeDay made five free throws in the final 30 seconds to help the Hokies (13-11, 5-6 ACC) snap a five-game losing streak. Jalen Hudson scored nine of his 13 points in the second half and Justin Bibbs added 12 for Virginia Tech.
“I told them, ‘We’re teetering on the threshold of: Do you want to go this way or this way?”’ Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. “I said, ‘This will be a character-revealed game of this team. To an extent, because we’re still in the infancy of what we’re doing, this will be character-revealed game of our program and our culture.’
“I thought that it was. It was another one-possession game. It was just another game that we were up and then it becomes a tie game and you have to play it out.”
The Hokies led 48-36 following two free throws by LeDay with 7:33 remaining. But Clemson went on a 16-3 run to get back in the game. The Tigers took a 52-51 lead with 2:43 to go on a Jordan Roper 3-pointer.
Kerry Blackshear Jr. and LeDay scored on back-to-back possessions for the Hokies, giving them the lead for good.
Clemson (14-9, 7-4), cut Virginia Tech’s lead to one on two occasions in the final 30 seconds, but LeDay made two free throws each time to push the lead back to three.
“I worked on that every day,” LeDay said of his free-throw shooting. “I shoot in Cassell (Coliseum) every day. I leave making 10 free throws in a row. I didn’t make my last one, but I’m glad I made nine (9 of 10 against the Tigers). I’m glad those free throws made a big difference in the game at the end.”
Clemson’s Avry Holmes made the second of two free throws with 16.7 seconds to go to cut the Hokies’ lead to 59-57. LeDay then made the first of two free throws with 12.4 seconds left to give the Hokies a 60-57 lead. Clemson wasn’t able to get a shot off in the final seconds.
“We had a double-screen action that we were trying to run,” Clemson coach Brad Brownell said. “They did a lot of good things, switching some things. We probably dribbled on top of the play too much and got out of sync.
“We just weren’t able to get it done today. We weren’t able to beat a Virginia Tech team that was playing at a better level.”
The Tigers, who have dropped two of their past three games, were led by Landry Nnoko’s 17 points. Roper added 16.
Twelve of the 18 games between these two schools since Virginia Tech entered the ACC for the 2004-05 season have been decided by five points or fewer.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies are 6-4 this season in games decided by four points or less, or in overtime. … The Hokies snapped a two-game losing streak to the Tigers. . LeDay did not start for the first time since the Grambling State game on Dec. 19. He had started 22 of the Hokies’ 23 games coming into the Clemson game. … LeDay’s double-double was his eighth of the season. … Devin Wilson made his second straight start and sixth of the season after not starting nine straight games.
Clemson: Nnoko blocked a career-high eight shots. His previous best was six. … The Tigers blocked 10 shots and came into the game leading the ACC in blocked shots per game (5.5). … The Tigers fell to 10-2 this season when Donte Grantham scores in double figures. … Jaron Blossomgame saw his streak of scoring at least 20 points end at five straight games.
Virginia Tech plays at Virginia on Tuesday.
Clemson plays at home on Monday against Notre Dame.