BLACKSBURG, Va. - For three grueling seconds, Dan Dakich and his Bowling Green State University basketball team watched John Floyd's desperation, running, left-handed hook shot bang around on the rim.
With the help of Virginia Tech's A.D Vassallo, the ball went into the basket moments before the buzzer sounded and neither Dakich nor any of his Falcons felt like sticking around to celebrate.
As the Hokies and their partisan crowd groaned in misery, Bowling Green made a mad dash for the locker room to celebrate its unexpected 72-71 victory over Virginia Tech at the NABC Classic.
"I was getting off that court as quick as I could," Dakich said. "They weren't going to get us to go back on. They could have changed the score, but we were done."
Just two days after a performance that Dakich said was worthy of an intramural squad, the Falcons claimed their first victory over an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent since beating Virginia 76-72 on Dec. 21, 1967. The winning points came when Vassallo, a Virginia Tech freshman whom the Falcons held scoreless, tried to clear Floyd's shot away from the basket, but instead tipped it in just before the clock ran out.
"I not sure I'm the one who hit the shot," said Floyd, the sophomore out of St. John's Jesuit. "But they told me afterwards that I was going to get the credit."
Along the way, the Falcons (1-1) overcame about every hardship one could imagine.
Already without starter Steven Wright due to injury, forward Mawel Soler fouled out with more than 13 minutes to play. He was joined on the bench by freshman forwards Erik Marschall and Darryl Clements when they received their fifth fouls later in the half.
For the second straight game, Dakich was slapped with a technical foul - although he did avoid being ejected. He had been tossed in the Falcons' 56-50 loss to Western Carolina on Thursday.
Still, the Falcons persevered. Junior-college transfer Martin Samarco appeared to be much more comfortable yesterday compared to his BGSU debut on Thursday, scoring a team-high 21 points. Then there was Floyd, who scored 17 points and delivered seven assists.
The Falcons led by as many as 11, but as the lead faded every possession became crucial.
"We just could not put this team away," Floyd said. "It was such a big challenge. We'd hit a big shot, then they come down and hit one.
"Sometimes when you get a team down like we did, they struggle. But that wasn't the case."
Trailing 68-61 with four minutes to play, Virginia Tech (1-1) finally managed to make a run. A 10-2 surge provided the Hokies their first lead of the second half. They went up 71-70 on a jumper by Zabian Dowdell with 13 seconds to play.
But Bowling Green was going to get one last chance.
Out of timeouts, Dakich said he told Floyd to penetrate and then kick the ball back out to Samarco and let him try to win it with a mid-range jumper.
"What we ended up doing wasn't really what I had in mind," Dakich said.
Floyd ended up getting tied up with a double team and chose instead to try to make something happen on his own.
"If you know John Floyd, he kind of expects those things to work out," Dakich said of his guard's last-second improvisation. "Had he not made the shot, we would have had a problem - John and me - because we had talked about kicking it.
"But since he made the shot, it's the smartest, most wonderful play in the history of basketball."
The Falcons wrap up their Classic appearance today against Radford at 1 p.m.
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