In a vacuum, the final play wasn’t anything to write home about. But the journey to get there sure was.
The Hokies needed a whopping six(!) overtimes to complete the task, but they were in fact able to record a win over the visiting UNC Tar Heels Saturday evening in Blacksburg.
There was an amazing one-handed catch to help keep their hopes alive, a missed field goal to shatter them in the fourth overtime period, and everything in between.
The fact that it ended on such a simple two-point conversion almost seems anticlimactic.
The marathon game itself was anything but anticlimactic, however. The two programs traded great plays and failed opportunities all afternoon long, but ultimately it was Virginia Tech who managed to come away with a big win.
It was an instant classic, and something students and fans alike in attendance won’t soon forget.
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George Mason got a mix of good news and bad news on Wednesday. Their senior Justin Kier was granted a fifth year of eligibility after missing the majority of the season due to injury. However, on the same day, Kier announced that he is entering the transfer portal.
"I'm blessed to have been given this season back so I can play another year of college basketball. After a lot of prayer and discussion with my family, I've decided to enter the transfer portal," Kier said in his post.
Kier also said that he has not ruled out the option of returning to the Patriots next year.
The 6-foot-4 guard will immediately eligible to play for whichever team he plays on for the 2020-21 season. Had it not been for an injury-filled senior year, he would have been a four-year starter for George Mason.
Two injuries to his right foot limited Kier to only playing nine games. A big loss for Mason that struggled to find consistency without him on the floor. Just the year prior he was named the Atlantic 10's Most Improved Player and made the Second Team.
Kier's fifth season was never for certain. A waiver to earn a medical redshirt for the year was a long shot given that he had returned from the initial injury and played nearly a third of the season.
With his ball-handling, attacking nature, and all-around defensive skill set, there will be teams interested in Kier. Through his collegiate career, Kier has played both as a point guard and as a two-guard. Since he has left the option open to return for Mason, he would likely want to go somewhere that would allow him to start and contend for a postseason tournament.
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Harvard grad transfer Bryce Aiken has narrowed his final collegiate destination to four teams: Maryland, Seton Hall, Michigan and Iowa State, according to multiple reports. On Thursday, the point guard is set to be making his decision.
While already being active on the transfer market this offseason, adding a point guard at the caliber of Aiken would be a huge boost for the Terrapins.
Aiken is immediately eligible for his final season of NCAA action. This past year he suffered a foot injury in mid-December that ended his senior season. As a member of an Ivy League school, he cannot compete as a graduate student, leaving the opportunity to play elsewhere.
What's most enticing about Aiken is his playmaking ability. He's regarded as "the most coveted grad transfer in years" by 247sports. In his junior season with Harvard, he was a unanimous All-Ivy League selection. His 22.2 points per game made him one of the most prolific scorers in college basketball and one of the more efficient guards with a 43.4-39.8-85.5 shooting split.
Those numbers alone had him Naismith Trophy Watch List and Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year Award Watch List at the beginning of last year. A feat that matched four-year starter Anthony Cowan Jr.
For Maryland, they need a point guard. Cowan wrapped up his eligibility this season. The depth behind him at the point was just Eric Ayala, who played best for the Terps at the wing and Serrel Smith Jr. who played more than 10 minutes once after January. While two freshman PGs are set to come in with this recruiting class, neither would be the answer to guide a team that lost their top two scoring options from last year. The team needs someone to fill into Cowan's spot and likely deliver more if they want to compete at the same level.
Aiken, though, has the potential to fill-in to Cowan's role. Perhaps he could be even better in terms of scoring the ball. The Crimson grad shot better than Cowan did the last two seasons and is more of a knock-down shooter.
The 6-0 guard decides his fate on Thursday. With him, Maryland can pick up right where they left off from a year ago and be a preseason top-25 team. Without Aiken, the Terps likely are in a rebuild.
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