It was no Super Tuesday for the Hokies as n.c. state used solid defensive play in the first half to build up enough of a lead to outlast another second half Hokie comeback to beat Virginia Tech 73-63. The Hokies earned that D+ Niemo gave them on offense in his mid-season report by only scoring 8 points in the first 14+ minutes of the game. Credit has to go to the n.c. state defense, but the Hokies couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn in those first 14+ minutes. 55 of the Hokies 63 points were scored in the last 26 minutes of the game.
The wolfpack were without Brandon Costner, who sat due to bruised ribs, but didn’t miss him. n.c. state never trailed the entire night, taking leads of 6-0, 16-4, and 27-8 during the ugliest 14 minutes of the season. The pack smothered the Hokies like Clinton over Obama in Arkansas as Tech rarely had a good look at the basket. Finally, the Hokies broke out of their offensive slump and outscored the pack 15-10 in the closing 5+ minutes of the half. Once again, Hank Thorns provided the spark coming off the bench scoring 4 points in the final 3 minutes, including a sweet fade away with the shot clock ticking down. Tech was down 37-23 at halftime.
After J.J. Hickson’s layup in the opening minute of the second half, Tech found themselves in a familiar position. The Hokies were down by the same score at the half against georgia tech last month (39-23). Just like that game against the jackets (and several others this season), the Hokies did not give up (will Mitt Romney?). Tech turned things around, like Mike Huckabee did in the GOP race tonight, looking like a completely different unit in the second half. J.T. Thompson, who continues to see his minutes rise like support for Obama, scored 10 points and hauled in 5 boards off the bench. Tech was led by A.D. Vassallo with 16/5. Jeff Allen scored 15, but only had 3 boards. Deron chipped in 12 on 5 of 8 shooting. The Hokies cut the lead to 6 with over 8 minutes to go on a 3 bomb from A.D., but Tech couldn’t get any closer until 1:14 left. n.c. state weathered the Hokie storm and held the lead (like McCain did tonight, at least as of 10:30 eastern), closing out Tech 73-63.
One troubling stat from tonight was free throw attempts. The pack had 30 free throw attempts (making 24) while the Hokies only had 10 (7 of 10). The Hokies had no free throw attempts in the first half. How can that be? Sounds like a dose of home cooking to me. When the Hokies finally found their offensive groove and were attacking the rim more in the second half, the whistle was barely blown. However, on the other end, the zebras had a very quick whistle. Both Deron and J.T. Thompson fouled out and Allen had 4 fouls. No one had more than 3 fouls for the wolfpack. That’s just not right. Were my eyes deceiving me … were we actually playing in Cameron Indoor tonight?
One thing is for sure. If we play n.c. state in the ACC Tournament, I will not write the recap. I have written all 4 n.c. state recaps for TechHoops.com. So, if you don’t want to blame the game on the refs or the pathetic opening 12 minutes, blame it on me. I am a jinx.
Next up is miami, in the Cassell on Saturday. No TV, so every seat better be filled. Take it away Niemo.
- Why did VT lose? FTs: nc state – 24/30, VT – 7/10
- Also, nc state was 7/15 on threes compared to 2/10 for VT, but we’ve come to expect that. Since the maryland game, Tech has shot under 27% on threes in 6 of 7 games. Tech’s opponent has shot over 36% in 6 of those 7 games. The opponents’ have 58 makes to just 28 for VT over that stretch. That has to improve. In fact, Delaney was 0/4 on threes tonight and now has missed 8 straight threes and is just 1 for his last 12 behind the arc. Couple that with 13 straight missed threes by Deron… not good.
- The Hokies attacked the nc state zone the first time they went zone with dribble penetration and Deron got an easy bucket. This is a good sign. nc state went back to man immediately.
- I’m not going to be overly negative about this game. But what upsets me is the lack of effort, and execution, out of the gate. VT had eight points with 14.5 minutes gone. 8! They could literally do nothing right on offense. It looked a lot like me trying to drink water at the dentist yesterday after getting a novacaine injection – real sloppy and all over the place with little success. In fact, watching the first 15 minutes was more painful than the fillings I got. Tech did not hit the offensive glass hard and the result was one and done, or simply a turnover on a poor post feed. On defense, the Hokies were often over-playing and getting burned back door.
- A big problem was Tech was not attacking the rim early. The officiating was horrible, but also, Tech wasn’t forcing them to make calls by going at the rim. state was basically giving VT layups inside and the Hokies still missed them.
- state had attempted 11 free throws before Tech shot their first. I’m sorry, but that’s not realistic. That’s bad officiating. Two very questionable foul calls on threes against VT really hurt.
- Jeff Allen was awesome tonight. Heeeeee’s baaaaack! 15 points on 6/11 shooting and 6 steals. SIX!!! But Jeff – PLEASE pass the ball to a guard as soon as you steal it! He had two or three turnovers trying to dribble up the court, thereby wasting the steal.
- Thorns and Delaney combined for just 8 points. They had averaged 22 per combined during the 3 game winning streak.
- Deron, who had a double-double in the last 2 games, had just 1 rebound tonight. The good news is he was 5/8 from the field, mainly because he didn’t attempt a three (he’s missed 13 straight threes).
- The Hokie defense let themselves down tonight – nc state shot 54% overall and 47% on threes. Too many backcuts burned VT for layups and open looks on threes.
- Once Tech started attacking the rim in the half court, they were scoring with ease. They need to do this from the start of the game on Saturday. Attack with penetration. Post feeds were awful in the first half, leading to many turnovers.
Several Streaks/Trends Ended Tonight:
- VT was 5-0 in the ACC when turning the ball over less than 20 times. The Hokies “only” had 15 turnovers against the pack.
- The Hokies had won the rebounding margin in every ACC game. They lost by three tonight.
- Tech had attempted more free throws than their opponent in every ACC game but one. state had 30 attempts tonight to just 10 for VT for an additional 17 points. Again, Tech needed to attack the rim more, but the officiating was poor.
One Streak Continued – nc state has won 6 straight over VT. Over the last 2 seasons, VT is 16-7 in ACC play against teams not named “nc state”, but 0-4 against the pack. In fact, VT has at least 2 wins against every other ACC team since joining the league, but is 1-6 vs ncsu. Hard to understand.
OK, this one’s over. It is just one game. The game Saturday is HUGE! 2 PM at the Cassell against miami. A win there, in a game VT will be favored in, means Tech will still be over .500 no matter what happens in chapel hill in 11 days.
Around the World (Wide Web)
Hokies Canâ€™t Overcome Referee-aided Wolfpack | VTHokieFans.com
Pack Handles Hokies | Raleigh News & Observer
Tech drops sixth straight to NCSU | Collegiate Times
Tech falls on the road to N.C. State | HokieSports.com
Tech can’t catch ‘Pack | Roanoke Times
N.C. State’s hex on Hokies remains in force | Roanoke Times
Bad start sinks Tech | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Hokies chewed up by Pack | Newport News Daily Press
Tech struggles at State | Lynchburg News and Advance
Slow Start Dooms Hokies in Raleigh | TechSideline.com