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VMI 73, Virginia Tech 65

December 31, 1997

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) _ Darryl Faulkner scored 24 points and Jason Bell added 16 as Virginia Military Institute came from 15 points behind late in the game to upset Virginia Tech 73-65 on Wednesday.

VMI (5-4) had lost the last 14 games against Virginia Tech (5-4) and had not won in Blacksburg since 1953. But in the final 5:44, down 62-50, the Keydets allowed just two field goals and outscored the Hokies 23-3.

VMI hit four straight 3-pointers to get back in the game, the last one by Bell, who then hit a pair of free throws to put the Keydets ahead 65-64 with 2:22 to play.

Virginia Tech, led by freshmen Rolan Roberts and Jenis Grindstaff, fell apart under pressure in the closing minutes. Roberts had an airball, Grindstaff missed a 3-pointer and Myron Guillory hit the back of the rim on a shot that could have put the Hokies back ahead.

Aaron Demory slipped in a basket on a back-door play with 50 seconds left to put VMI ahead 67-64. Bell then demoralized Virginia Tech by stealing the ball from Guillory near midcourt and dribbling alone to the basket for an easy score.

Faulkner hit four straight free throws to seal the victory.

VMI, using a patient offense and a pressing defense, led nearly all of the first half and went up 39-25 on a wide-open jumper by Richard Bruce.

But the Hokies eked out a 36-35 lead at halftime after a driving layup by Brendon Dunlop and a dunk by Andre Ray.

Virginia Tech went on a 10-0 run to start the second half and went ahead by 15, 58-43, on a jumper by Roberts with 7:13 to play.

Roberts finished with 16 points while Grindstaff scored 12.

VMI is Virginia Tech’s most frequent opponent, and they played the first time in 1909. The Hokies lead the series 80-42 and last lost to VMI 57-56 at the Roanoke Civic Center in the 1971-72 season.

VMI lost to Virginia by 37 points last week, but managed to upset Penn State 71-68 earlier in December.

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