Hokies overcome Carolina in overtime

Published 8:35 am Wednesday, February 14, 2007

By By JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer
CHAPEL HILL — Zabian Dowdell scored a career-high 33 points and Deron Washington blocked Ty Lawson’s shot in the final seconds of overtime, preserving Virginia Tech’s 81-80 upset of No. 4 North Carolina on Tuesday night.
Dowdell’s big game helped the Hokies (18-7, 8-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) to an improbable season sweep of the Tar Heels (22-4, 8-3).
Markus Sailes gave the Tar Heels one last chance when he missed two free throws with 7.1 seconds left. Lawson rushed down the court and took a quick shot which was tied up by Dowdell. Lawson got the rebound and shot again from the lane, but Washington swatted it away.
Wayne Ellington grabbed the ball and the buzzer sounded just before he released and hit a 3-pointer.
Virginia Tech won its second straight against the Tar Heels, after beating them 94-88 last month in a game the Hokies led by 23 before North Carolina’s furious rally came up short and its 18-game winning streak was halted.
This time, Dowdell bounced back from his worst game of the season — a five-point outing against Virginia — with the best of his career. His 33 points surpassed his career high of 30 set last month against Miami and bested the 30 points Ohio State’s Ron Lewis scored as the most points the Tar Heels have allowed one player to score.
Washington had 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Hokies, who made their first visit to Chapel Hill since 1975 and won here for the first time since 1966. It also was their second impressive overtime victory on Tobacco Road, joining last month’s 69-67 upset of Duke.
Tyler Hansbrough had 22 points to lead North Carolina, while Ellington had 14 and Lawson finished with 13.
North Carolina fell to 14-1 at the Dean Smith Center, where they had been dominant. The Tar Heels entered averaging nearly 92 points at home and winning by an average of 30 points with only one game decided by fewer than 10 points, a 98-89 win over Ohio State in November. But this time, neither team led by more than eight points.
Virginia Tech could have taken the lead late in regulation when Washington was fouled hard by Reyshawn Terry with 36.4 seconds remaining, briefly leaving the game. The Hokies brought Nigel Munson off the bench to shoot the free throws, and he missed his first shot but swished his second to tie it 73-73.
Lawson then missed a 3-pointer from the key with about 1 second left, the Hokies got the rebound and their full-court heave sailed into the crowd as time expired.