Syracuse's Tyler Roberson, left, and Virginia Tech's Satchel Pierce, right, vie for a rebound during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015, in Syracuse, N.Y. (AP Photo/Nick Lisi)
Nick Lisi
February 04, 2015

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) Jim Boeheim has been coaching Syracuse for nearly four decades and thought he'd seen just about everything - until his Orange's latest comeback victory.

Michael Gbinije hit a spinning floater in the lane with less than a second left to give Syracuse a 72-70 victory over Virginia Tech on Tuesday night.

Syracuse, teetering after three losses in four games, somehow rallied from 13 points down in the final 6:29 to eke out the win despite missing five critical free throws and close-in shots in the closing minutes.

''This comeback ranks up there with any that I've ever been a part of, given all the circumstances in the game, the way we were playing, the way they were playing,'' Boeheim said.

Gbinije, who hit two free throws with 18.9 seconds left to tie the game at 70-all, got a chance for the winner after the Hokies committed a backcourt violation with 7.1 seconds left.

Gbinije then inbounded the ball, took a return pass, and drove the left side of the lane before spinning around and swishing the winning shot.

Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse's leading scorer, was the Orange's first option, but the Hokies double-teamed him, forcing SU to look elsewhere.

''I wanted the ball in my hands,'' said Gbinije, who had seven assists and four steals. ''The guy guarding me out of bounds went straight to Rock (Christmas) and double-teamed him. It gave me the opportunity.

''I just had a clock in my head when we took it out. I just tried to figure out how can I get to the basket and still get it off in time.''

Syracuse (15-7, 6-3 ACC) trailed 63-50 when Justin Bibbs hit a floater in the lane with 6:29 left and rallied behind a pressing defense against the Hokies (9-13, 1-8), who were seeking their first conference road win of the season.

''I thought it (the defense) was fine,'' Virginia Tech coach Buzz Williams said. ''You've got to worry about (Trevor) Cooney, and you've got to worry about Christmas. Obviously, Gbinije is their third scorer.''

Gbinije, who also hit a layup with 37 seconds left, finished with 18 points. Cooney also had 18 but was just 2 of 12 from long range, and the 6-foot-9 Christmas, hounded all game by the smaller Hokies, had 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Orange.

Bibbs led the Hokies with 19 points. Freshman Jalen Hudson scored a season-high 18.

Virginia Tech finished with 16 turnovers as the Orange nabbed 12 steals.

''I thought with four minutes to go, we had to gamble full-court,'' Boeheim said. ''We converted enough to get within distance. To be able to get those turnovers without fouling, I thought our guys did an amazing job.''

Virginia Tech, which made just 2 of 6 3-pointers in the first half and trailed 34-30 at the break, got three straight - two by Malik Muller and one from Adam Smith - to start the second half on a 9-0 run.

The Hokies continued the barrage with three more 3s to take what seemed to be a commanding lead and still led 65-56 after Shane Henry beat the press with a layup with just under five minutes left.

Virginia Tech committed six turnovers in the last four minutes and attempted just two field goals down the stretch.

''At the end of the day they won and they should get credit for it. They made winning plays. We deserved to lose,'' said Williams, who bemoaned yet another difficult loss. ''It's the fourth one-possession game in the last four games and the ninth game that was a one-possession game. We're 2-7 (in those games).

''I'm not going to back away. It's my fault. I have to get those guys in better position. We're dead last (in the ACC),'' Williams said. ''That's where we were picked, and the people that picked us were the guys asking the questions. Obviously, they're smarter than I am.''

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TIP-INS:

Virginia Tech: The Hokies shot 9 of 18 from distance, 7 of 12 in the second half. ... Virginia Tech matched Syracuse with 40 rebounds and led for 24:33.

Syracuse: The Orange swept the season series, winning both games by two points. ... Syracuse was just 16 of 29 from the line. ... Syracuse has allowed eight or more 3-pointers in a game 10 times this season. ... Syracuse leads the all-time series with Virginia Tech 7-2 and has won the last four meetings between the schools.

UP NEXT

Virginia Tech hosts Florida State on Saturday.

Syracuse is at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

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