BLACKSBURG — The skid is not over yet.
The Virginia Tech men’s basketball team suffered its fifth straight loss Saturday, falling to Boston College 77-73 in overtime at Cassell Coliseum.
“The small things killed us,” said Hokies redshirt freshman Landers Nolley II, who had 29 points and 11 rebounds. “Missed free throws. A couple missed boxed-outs. A couple forced shots.
“This was definitely a winnable game. ... We’ve just got to tweak a little bit more.”
A team that was once 5-3 in the ACC and an NCAA Tournament “bracketology” regular on various websites has now dropped to 14-10 overall and 5-8 in the ACC.
“Very surprising,” Tech freshman Nahiem Alleyne said of the skid. “Obviously nobody wants to go on a losing streak. But we’ve just got to fight through it, just get in the gym.”
“I’m not surprised at all,” Nolley said. “NBA teams go on losing streaks. ... You’ve just got to bounce back and focus on the next game.”
This is Tech’s longest skid since the Hokies suffered a five-game slide four years ago.
“I think we’re fine. ... It’s not ideal, but it’s what you’re faced with,” Tech coach Mike Young said. “We’re going to deal with it by continuing to compete, continuing to get better.
“I can stick my face through this metal table, but a lot left to accomplish with this bunch.
“The sky isn’t falling. We’re going to be okay. ... My team competed like crazy. Boston College was just a little bit better.”
The Hokies, who were coming off three straight losses by double digits, saw improvement in their play and energy level Saturday.
“We actually came out the door with fire,” said Tyrece Radford, who had 10 points. “We came to compete today.”
BC (12-12, 6-7) beat Tech for the second time in this skid.
“I’m really proud of the courage our team showed,” BC coach Jim Christian said. “It was a gut-check game.”
Nolley’s 29-point outing was his most prolific game since he had 29 in a Jan. 11 win over North Carolina State. He was 12 of 22 from the field, including 3 of 7 from 3-point range.
He sank a 3-pointer to give Tech a 73-70 lead with 2:02 left in OT.
But BC scored the final seven points of the game.
Steffon Mitchell scored inside to give BC a 75-73 lead with 11.1 seconds to go in OT. It was BC’s lone basket of overtime.
Nolley missed a deep 3-pointer with about six seconds left in OT.
“It was a good shot,” Nolley said. “I had just hit the one on the left wing [with 2:02 to go]. … I should’ve hit it.”
“The kid had a great day and made a couple from distance. He didn’t get that one home,” Young said. “But I don’t fault my team for that.”
Tech had a timeout left before Nolley took the shot, but Young did not want to use it because it would have given BC a chance to change defenses.
“That situation has worked out really well for me throughout my career,” Young said of not calling a timeout.
That situation had worked out in Tech’s double-OT win over North Carolina on Jan. 22. Young did not call timeout before Radford’s winning shot in that game.
After Nolley’s miss, Mitchell made two free throws with two seconds left to seal the win.
The Eagles were 9 of 10 from the free-throw line in OT.
“We just couldn’t hit no shots [in OT] and they kept knocking down their free throws,” Alleyne said.
Mitchell tied his career high with 21 points. The junior forward also tied his career high with 15 rebounds.
“Got to do a better job than that on a player like Mitchell,” Young said.
Alleyne (16 points) scored inside to cut the BC lead to 66-64 with 40.2 seconds to go in regulation.
Alleyne drove to the basket and was fouled with 4.4 seconds left. He made both free throws to tie the game at 66 and force OT.
The freshman guard said he did not feel pressure at the free-throw line in that situation.
“I [had] done it before in high school,” Alleyne said. “It doesn’t affect me.”
Tech shot 53.3% from the field in the first half and led 38-33 at halftime.
Christian said BC adjusted its zone defense at halftime. Tech shot 36.7% in the second half and 33.3% in OT.
“We [weren’t] really expecting them to play zone,” Alleyne said. “We just needed to move the ball around. We kept sticking.”
BC, which lost guard Jared Hamilton to an injury in the first half, made 11 3-pointers to Tech’s eight.