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Rapid Reaction: VA Tech 59, OK State 57

11/25/2011

NEW YORK -- A quick take on Virginia Tech's 59-57 win over Oklahoma State on Friday afternoon at Madison Square Garden.

What it means: Virginia Tech takes third place in the NIT Season Tip-Off, after giving No. 5 Syracuse a tough game in the semifinals on Wednesday night. The Hokies are now 4-1 on the season.

Oklahoma State leaves New York City with a pair of losses over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The Cowboys are now 3-2.

The skinny: It was a sloppy first half, with both teams shooting less than 38 percent from the field. Oklahoma State jumped out to an 8-0 lead, but Virginia Tech was not down for very long. A 14-0 run by the Hokies turned a 9-7 deficit into a 21-12 advantage. Virginia Tech led by as many as 11, and 32-23 at halftime.

Virginia Tech kept Oklahoma State at bay for most of the second half, but the Cowboys finally cut the deficit to two, 53-51, on a Jean-Paul Olukemi bucket with 3:35 remaining. But they were never able to get over the hump. A couple of potential game-tying shots were off the mark, Markel Brown made a key turnover on another potential game-tying possession, and Virginia Tech pulled this one out.

Center stage: Erick Green had a team-high 18 points for Virginia Tech, shooting 6-for-12 from the field. Freshman Dorian Finney-Smith had 10 points and 14 rebounds, including eight off the offensive glass.

Brown had 19 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma State, but made that critical turnover late. Olukemi chipped in 13 points. Freshman Le'Bryan Nash, ranked the No. 10 high school senior in the country by ESPN last year, went scoreless in just 11 minutes after scoring a team-high 16 against Stanford two days ago.

How 'bout that: Virginia Tech shot just 18-for-57 (31.6 percent) in this game, yet managed to win. How? Well, let's start with a 45-37 advantage on the boards, including 21-14 on the offensive end. The Hokies also shot 30 free throws, making 19 (the Cowboys were 14-for-21), and held the Cowboys to 20-for-49 shooting from the field (40.8 percent).

What's next: Virginia Tech gets back to work quickly, hosting St. Bonaventure on Sunday at 6 p.m. Oklahoma State will host Tulsa on Wednesday at 8 p.m.