Stillwater, Okla. A rare nonconference rematch between Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State didn't end up all that different than the first meeting.
Dorenzo Hudson scored 18 points, including four clinching free throws in the final minute, and the Hokies again controlled the boards to beat the increasingly shorthanded Cowboys 67-61 on Saturday.
Dorian Finney-Smith grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Virginia Tech to a 47-24 advantage on the glass, with 18 offensive rebounds leading to 24 second-chance points. The Hokies had an 11-rebound advantage in their 59-57 win against Oklahoma State the day after Thanksgiving at the NIT Season Tip-Off.
"That was a big emphasis coming into the game. We know in New York we kind of beat them up on the glass a little bit, so we knew we could get after the glass," Hudson said.
"I feel like we did a real good job of just getting after them on the glass and trying to get second-chance opportunities."
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said he had tried to hammer into his players that they had to compete on the glass to come out ahead this time, but to no avail.
"I thought we would learn from our last game against those guys and they were just allowed to play very physical," Ford said.
Victor Davila hit two free throws with 1:30 remaining to put the Hokies (11-3) back ahead after Oklahoma State had rallied with 10 straight points to tie it at 61. LeBryan Nash missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer at the other end for the Cowboys (7-6), and Keiton Page missed three more 3-pointers down the stretch.
Hudson then finished off Virginia Tech's sixth straight win by going 4-for-4 at the foul line in the final 22 seconds.
"That win defined hopefully who we are right now and who we potentially could become in terms of being a group of guys that really trust each other and are happy for each other," Hokies coach Seth Greenberg said.
"I'm really proud of it and now we've got to get ready for league play and hopefully just continue to get better."
It was the first time in 22 seasons that Oklahoma State played a nonconference opponent twice in the regular season, and the first time in 19 seasons the Hokies did it.
Page scored 21 points and Brian Williams added a career-high 14 to lead Oklahoma State, which lost starters Jean-Paul Olukemi and Markel Brown to injuries during the game. They were already two men down after Fred Gulley and Reger Dowell — the only two experienced point guards — left the program in the past two weeks.
"I'm proud of our team. I am," Ford said. "We're shorthanded now. A lot of people want to be negative and wallow in negativity because that's the easy thing to do. It's typical. ... People look for the negative.
"Nobody wants to win more than we do and nobody wants to win more than those guys. That's as upset as I've seen them."
The Cowboys still found a way to get back in it late, trying to overcome a double-digit deficit and win for the third time this season.
Cezar Guerrero hit a 3-pointer and earned two free throws with a drive to the basket to spark the 10-0 burst that allowed Oklahoma State to tie it at 61 on Brian Williams' 3-pointer from the left side with 1:58 remaining.
The rally got a near-capacity crowd of 12,500 — drawn by free admission — pumped up. Williams then fouled Davila inside, and the senior hit both his foul shots to put the Hokies ahead to stay.
"Our guys responded with great poise. They didn't panic," Greenberg said. "You had guys stay aggressive, make plays, trust each other. No one chased shots and we got stops. That's the big thing."
Virginia Tech, the first Atlantic Coast Conference team ever to play at Gallagher-Iba Arena, will open conference play next Saturday at Wake Forest.
"We're looking all right. I think we've still got a lot to work on and it's going to be a whole different world in the ACC," said Hokies leading scorer Erick Green, who scored 16.
"It's something that we're going to work on and get ready for. We have a lot of young guys but we're going to have to get them ready and just come to play in the ACC."
Oklahoma State opens Big 12 play Wednesday night against Texas Tech.
Ford said he didn't know for sure how long Brown or Olukemi would be out. Brown limped to the locker room with 7:34 left in the first half. Ford said Brown was hit on the backside and reaggravated an injury suffered two games earlier.
Olukemi tried to return after injuring his right knee early in the second half, but lasted only 47 seconds before he limped off again with the Cowboys ahead 44-37 with 12:59 remaining.
"It's his knee, so that's never good," Ford said. "They did all the tests on him, they said, and he was jumping around and seemed fine (before he returned). We hope it's maybe just a sprain."
Virginia Tech pounced after Olukemi left, using a 19-3 run to surge ahead. Hudson hit two free throws and a 3-pointer and the Hokies held Oklahoma State to only one basket over a span of nearly 7 minutes. Robert Brown's driving layup made it 56-47 with 6:18 to play.
Green's three free throws with 5 minutes to play bumped the lead to 61-51 before the Cowboys charged back.
"The thing about us is I think that we've got to learn how to keep the lead instead of falling back down and letting a team come back," Green said. "That was a learning lesson."