Saturday , Mar , 17 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Washington’s bucket lifts Va. Tech over Illinois

Columbus, OH (Sports Network) – Deron Washington scored 14 points and hit the
go-ahead jumper with 45.5 seconds left, and fifth-seeded Virginia Tech held on
to beat Illinois, 54-52, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Coleman Collins scored 13 points, and Jamon Gordon added 10 points and seven
assists for the Hokies (22-11), who advanced and will play Southern
Illinois in the second round on Sunday.

Warren Carter scored 15 points for Illinois (23-12). Rich McBride scored 14
points, and Brian Randle grabbed 12 rebounds for the Fighting Illini, who led
by 13 points in the second half, and by 10 points with less than five minutes
left, but could not hold on for the win.

Virginia Tech closed with a 12-0 run to win the game. A.D. Vassallo made one-
of-two free throws with 23.3 seconds left to put the Hokies ahead 54-52.
Randle missed a three on the following possession, but was fouled by
Washington as they fought for rebound, and had a chance to tie the game with a
one-and-one opportunity with 4.9 showing on the clock.

Randle missed the front end, though, and the fight for the rebound ran all but
one-tenth of a second off the clock. Tech inbounded the ball, and the game
was over.

Illinois came out strong in the second half to seemingly take control of the
game. After two Gordon free throws cut the deficit to 33-29 with 16:09 left,
the Illini ran off a 14-5 run, with a Randle free throw putting Illinois ahead
47-34 with 8:18 left.

The teams played an evenly matched first half, but Illinois pulled away late.
Ahead 21-19, the Illini rolled off eight straight points, capped a four-point
play by Carter that put them up 29-19 with 1:21 left.

A Zabian Dowdell jumper cut the deficit to 29-21 at the half.

Game Notes

This is Virginia Tech’s first appearance in the NCAA Tournament in 11 seasons,
and the Hokies improved to 6-7 overall in the tourney…Illinois outrebounded
the Hokies 37-22…