Lykes Late Free Throw Secures the Canes 4th Straight Win

Lykes Late Free Throw Secures the Canes 4th Straight Win

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- With 3 seconds left, Chris Lykes sinks the front end of a 1-and-1 as the Canes (21-8, 11-7 ACC) hold off the Hokies (21-10, 10-8 ACC) 69-68. Dejan Vasiljevic leads the way for the Canes with 16, on 4-6 shooting from deep.

After a dramatic buzzer beater win in North Carolina, Ja'Quan Newton and the Canes returned home to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies on Senior night in the regular season finale of the 2017-2018 campaign. Though the Canes won earlier in the season at VT, this game was far from a lock, as the Hokies were coming off their second top 5 victory of the season, a 64-63 win over the Duke Blue Devils.

The Hokies jumped out to an early lead and kept it for nearly all of the first half, building up a 39-32 lead heading into the break. The Canes started the 2nd half on a 22-8 run, and were able to build up a 9 point lead with just over 8 minutes to go. But then, like has happened so often this season, the Canes went ice cold. The Canes went scoreless for over 4 minutes and found themselves up only 2 with 4:14 left in the game. Chris Clarke scored 4 straight, to cap a 13-2 run for the Hokies and with 1:13 left the Canes found themselves down 68-66. But the defense clamped down, Lonnie Walker made another huge shot, which has become expected of him, and after a Virginia Tech turnover the Canes had the ball again with just over 12 seconds left. Chris Lykes drove to the basket, drew a foul from Justin Robinson and went to the line for the 1-and-1. Lykes hit the first one, and though he missed the second, it was all the Canes needed as a final half court heave for the Hokies hit the top of the backboard.

This has been the story for the Canes of late. Huge stretches of scoreless basketball, sloppy turnovers late, but also incredibly clutch basketball once their backs are against the wall. This was the Canes 3rd straight game where they needed a last second bucket to give themselves the win, and while it might not always look pretty, they keep finding a way to get it done. During this 4 game winning streak they have won by a combined 5 points, and though every game has been stressful, the Canes are now in a much better position heading into the ACC and NCAA tournament.

Lykes has been phenomenal in the Canes 3-game winning streak, averaging 16 points, and going 15-18 from the free throw stripe, most of which have come in clutch situations. Lonnie Walker added another 12 including the game tying field goal with 55 seconds left. In his final home game of his career, Newton wasn't able to get much going, scoring just 2 points and turning the ball over 5 times.

Justin Robinson led the way for Hokies with 18 points in the loss.

So what exactly does this win mean for the Canes? Frankly, it's huge. The Canes still have a chance at a double bye in the ACC tournament and should be able to avoid the dreaded 8/9 contest in the NCAA's. To earn the double bye they would need the following to happen:

No. 3 seed with a win AND Clemson loss, UNC loss, NC State win

No. 4 seed with a win AND Clemson loss, UNC loss, NC State loss; OR with a win AND Clemson win, UNC loss

By earning a double bye the Canes could avoid having to play one of the ACC bottom dwellers, meaning they could completely avoid a trap game that could possibly knock them down a line.

So now that the Canes secured the victory, it's time to go out there and do the unthinkable: Root for Duke.

Comments (9)

4th straight win*

Otherwise, great write up. Appreciate the work.
AWFUL sleepwalk 1st half, then they come out like foreign devils in the 2nd. Then they tried to pull a @BC (no FGs for the last 10 minutes) but luckily, a few players said "None of that!"

Great win!

Doesnt make up for the GT, 'Cuse and @BC atrocities, but its close.