RICHMOND, Va. -- Travis Watson hit both ends of a one-and-one with 2:07 left in overtime Monday night and Donald Hand added two from the line with 12.9 seconds to play, giving Virginia a 71-66 victory over Virginia Tech.
The Cavaliers (13-5), who forced the overtime by holding Virginia Tech scoreless for the last 3:05 of regulation, were 7-for-8 from the line in the extra period, equalling the Hokies' made free-throws total for the game.
But none were bigger than Watson's. The freshman had missed all three of his previous attempts, including two that could have proved crucial in regulation.
"I told him, `I know you can make them,"' Pete Gillen said he told Watson during a Virginia Tech timeout before the shots. "I had confidence. Travis has got a big heart. He plays with a lot of courage. ... I believed in him."
Virginia Tech (9-9) has now lost 70 of its 114 meetings against its in-state rival, a series that has run for the last 66 years in a row, and 21 of 26.
Hand scored 15 of his 21 points after halftime, including eight straight during a 16-2 run early in the second half and seven in the extra period.
The latter spurt became crucial because of an old nemesis that returned for Virginia -- the inability to put a team away when the opportunity is there.
"It happened to us again," said Gillen, whose team blew a 10-point lead in an overtime loss to Duke, most of a huge lead against Clemson before hanging on and another big lead before beating North Carolina six days ago in Charlottesville.
"I don't know if we got tired. I probably should have substituted more," Gillen said. "We stopped running. We stopped playing. Our defense let down. Maybe we let down subconsciously and they came back and had a chance to win."
That was also largely due to Brendan Dunlop, who had scored 14 of the Hokies previous 21 points when he hacked Watson under the basket with 2:07 to play and fouled out. Without their catalyst, the Hokies struggled in the extra period.
"He played great," Gillen said of Dunlop, who finished with 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting, many of his baskets of the driving, acrobatic variety. "We couldn't guard him. What we had on him he was exploiting," Gillen said.
Dennis Mims drew the Hokies to within 67-66 with a turnaround from the baseline with 1:48 left, but after Watson missed the front end of a one-and-one, neither team scored until Hand made two from the line with 12.9 seconds left.
"I thought they put themselves in position to win, did the things necessary, didn't turn the ball over, got the ball inside," Hokies first-year head coach Ricky Stokes said of his team. "Give Virginia a lot of credit. They also came back and took the lead. They made some tough shots. It was a good game."
Roger Mason added 13 points, Adam Hall 12 and Chris Williams 11 for Virginia, which finished 16-for-23 from the free throw line to Virginia Tech's 7-for-9.
Dennis Mims added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Hokies.
Virginia had a chance to win it in regulation after Hand intercepted a behind-the-back pass from Dunlop near the Hokies' basket, but after dribbling off most of the clock, Hand tried to take Andre Ray one-on-one and was fouled with two seconds left. The Cavaliers weren't in the bonus, however, and when hey inbounded it to Hand about 30 feet from the hoop, his last-second heave was well short.
Virginia appeared to have taken command with a 16-2 second-half run that ended with 11´ minutes to play and Virginia in front 53-41. But the Hokies scored 19 of the next 22 points and took a 60-56 lead with 3:05 remaining.
The Hokies didn't score again in regulation, and Roger Mason's running 12-footer with 2:29 left and Williams' 6-footer at 1:13 forced overtime.