for this game

Virginia Tech completes sweep of North Carolina

Feb 14, 2007 - 6:38 AM CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Virginia Tech has North Carolina's number.

Zabian Dowdell scored 33 points as the 25th-ranked Hokies upset the fourth-ranked Tar Heels, 81-80, in overtime to complete an improbable season sweep in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup.

Virginia Tech (18-7, 8-3 ACC) posted one of the shockers of the season when it knocked off then-No. 1 North Carolina on January 13, leading by as many as 20 points before holding on for the win.

This effort may have been even more impressive as the Hokies erased a six-point deficit with just over four minutes left in regulation in handing the Tar Heels (22-4, 8-3) their first home defeat of the season.

"Probably the understatement of the day is I couldn't be more proud of our team," Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg said. "I know Zabian had 33, Deron (Washington) had 14 rebounds, but that was as good a team win as I've been associated with. How competitive we were, in this environment.

"That's a special group that we played against and we were just fortunate to get one more stop."

Sophomore center Tyler Hansbrough led North Carolina with 22 points but twice missed the first of two free throws in the final 1:52 of overtime.

After his first miss, Dowdell buried two foul shots with 1:27 left to give Virginia Tech an 81-79 lead.

Hansbrough was fouled in the lane with 13 seconds remaining, but could only split a pair, forcing the Tar Heels to foul Markus Sailes with 7.1 seconds left.

A 44 percent free-throw shooter, Sailes looked like it, badly missing both attempts and giving Carolina a final chance to win.

Freshman point guard Ty Lawson had the ball deflected away twice as he went up for a shot at the top of the key, and by the time the Tar Heels could gain control, time had expired.

"Ty was supposed to penetrate. ... But he is still a freshman and he didn't penetrate," Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "But still that is bad coaching. And at the end, since it was a one-point game all we needed was two."

"We were supposed to run a play, but they came and doubled so that messed everything up," Lawson said. "I couldn't find anybody open, so I tried to get a shot off, but they blocked it in the lane. They were clogging the lane. ... I think they knew what we were going to do."

The Tar Heels also struggled at the end of regulation. After Reyshawn Terry scored for a 71-65 lead with 4:21 to play, North Carolina managed just one field goal.

The Hokies fought back with a 7-0 run that Coleman Collins started with a three-point play and Dowdell capped with a jumper in the lane for a 72-71 lead with 2:35 to go.

Danny Green regained the lead for Carolina 10 seconds later and the only point for the remainder of regulation was a tying free throw by Hokies freshman Nigel Munson with 36 left.

"They played very well," Williams said of Virginia Tech. "Zabian Dowdell was really something; we had a difficult time guarding and keeping him off the free-throw line. I've been coaching for 19 years and however many games it is, that was the worst coaching job that I've ever done."

Dowdell scored 24 of his 33 points in the second half and finished 17-of-19 from the stripe for Virginia Tech, which won its second in a row.

"Dowdell offensively just put us on his back," Greenberg said. "And he got to the lane and he made plays. He always jokes and he always tells me he'll make plays. Well, he made great plays and it was a hard-fought game, they're so talented and we're really fortunate."