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Virginia Tech 71, Rutgers 70

3/3/2004

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- Virginia Tech is going to the Big East
postseason tournament for the first time in its fourth and final
conference season after beating Rutgers 71-70 at the buzzer
Wednesday night.

A Coleman Collins tip-in of a blocked Jamon Gordon shot will
send Virginia Tech (13-13, 6-9) to Madison Square Garden while
Rutgers (16-10, 7-8) may have lost any chance for an at-large NCAA
playoff bid.

Rutgers coach Gary Waters thought the basket may have come after
the game ended.

"I still have questions on that last shot," Waters said.

Rutgers had blown the Hokies out in their previous meeting this
season: The Scarlet Knights had a 30-0 run to win 85-52 on their
home court.

Wednesday night, the Hokies jumped to a 7-4 lead, but Rutgers
took off on a 15-4 tear and ended up with a 36-28 advantage at the
break.

Rutgers stretched its lead to 11 after intermission at 41-30 on
a Marquis Webb 3-pointer, then went up by 15 on a Ricky Shields
basket at with 14:06 left.

After Rutgers made it 56-41, Tech went on a 22-9 run to draw
within 65-64 with 3:31 to play. Smothering defense in the paint
helped fuel the comeback.

The Hokies went ahead 67-65 on Gordon's layup and foul shot.

Rutgers regained the lead at 70-69 on two foul shots by Herve
Lamizana with 23 seconds left. Lamizana then blocked a Collins
shot, but Juel Wiggan missed the front end of a 1-and-1 for
Rutgers.

Gordon's jumper was blocked by Lamizana, but the ball was
rebounded by an unguarded Collins, who put it back in with less
than a second to play.

Bryant Matthews had 22 points and 10 rebounds in his last
appearance at Cassell Coliseum. Gordon had 17 and Collins added 14
for the Hokies, who shot 55 percent in the second half.

Shields paced the Scarlet Knights with 17, Lamizana had 14 and
Adrian Hill added 11.