The Hokies lost at home for just the second time this season, 71-74, to the visiting miami hurricanes, who snapped a three-game losing streak and handed the Hokies their second straight loss. Tech lost this game for three reasons: 1) the canes, who led by just two at the half, 26-28, shot 58 percent from the field and a 75 percent from three in the second half; 2) the Hokies got mauled on both ends of the boards getting out rebounded 35-20. It was Tech’s worst rebounding performance of the season. 3) the officiating was God awful, but more on that later.
Statistically speaking, Tech played a pretty good game (with the exception of getting crushed on the boards – four offensive rebounds? seriously?). They shot 55 percent from the field and 44 percent from three. A.D. Vassallo scored a team- and season-high 24 points on 9/15 FG shooting and 4/7 from three. He was absolutely on fire and is the reason the Hokies were still in this game late.
Tech jumped out to a quick 10-2 lead, but as we have seen so often this season, they quickly gave it up. Oh, and Niemo, you were right – you jinxed them with your “the team leading at the first media timeout is 8-0.” Tech led 10-6 at the 15:11 mark when the first media timeout was called. Nice going stat king. [Niemo: Hey, that's why I had to get it in while I could, it was a statistical oddity.]
After Tech gave up it’s early 8-point lead, it was a back-and-forth affair for the rest of the first half, which featured four ties and two lead changes after the canes caught the Hokies and took a 16-17 lead. Jeff Allen led the Hokies in the first half with 12 points (he finished with 16, seven rebounds and led the team in steals with three).
The second half was like fsu all over again. The canes were hitting everything, or so it seemed, and it is tough to beat teams that shoot that well.
Despite the canes’ hot shooting and some terrible calls by the officials, the Hokies fought their way back into the game and had a shot to tie it at the end, but Deron’s three at the buzzer was off-balance and missed. Tech was down 10 points with 4:15 left, but they hung around and made a run of it for the second straight game.
If there’s one thing you can say about this team, it is that they never ever quit, no matter what. Unlike many Hokie teams in the past (cough, rickey stokes, cough) that would let up if they were losing late, Seth’s teams don’t care what the score is; they will play to win until the final whistle blows. A loss is a loss and each one hurts, but you have to learn from them and take away whatever positives you can. Coaches hate it, but they are called moral victories. Tech’s “never quit” mentality will benefit the Hokies in the future because when the experience and maturity catches up to the their talent, heart and toughness, this team will be damn good.
Now, about the officiating…
I hate to blame officiating for a loss, head referee ted valentine deserves a lot of blame for this one. The officials were terrible in the nc state game, but the Hokies lost that one because their offense didn’t show up for the first 14 minutes. This game, however, the Hokies did just about everything right (again noting the rebounding woes). But every time they seemed to build some momentum, valentine would call a foul, or a travel, or something that would take the ball away from the Hokies or send the canes to the line.
At one point, Tech Head Coach Seth Greenberg actually looked like he raised his arm as if he was going to backhand valentine, but thankfully the assistant coaches stepped in and restrained him. I am absolutely shocked that Seth wasn’t ejected from the game at some point.
Late in the second half, with the Hokies fighting desperately to get back into the game trailing by as many as 10 points, Deron Washington was driving to the right of the lane and was fouled hard. The official standing on the baseline called the foul, which happened right in front of him, but, valentine came rushing in from half court to call a travel on Deron, giving Miami the ball.
Then, with Tech putting on the full court pressure to try and force a turnover, miami got trapped in the back court and one official went to call a 10-second violation, but valentine came in and said, no, miami had called a timeout before the 10-second violation. The shot clock on the backboards read :25, which clearly showed that the canes did not get the ball across mid court in time (since the shot clock begins at :35). Not only did valentine give miami the time out, he put one second back on the shot clock. Ridiculous.
The last major transgression was a fast break by the canes in which Vassallo just whiffed at james dews as he cruised in for the layup and valentine called AD for a foul. AD looked sincerely incredulous. He flat out did not touch dews. The Cassell went nuts and so did Greenberg.
The fans were so disgusted by valentine’s officiating that they gave him a standing boo-vation that lasted a good three minutes during a timeout. He stood defiantly at the free throw line as if daring anyone to step to him. This was a classic case of an official inserting himself into the game and thus the outcome. Of course, with no game tape other than the ACC Select broadcast, there’s not much chance of word getting out. This is travesty, a sham, and a mockery. A traveshamockery!
Niemo’s Notes, Presented by Niemo:
- Ok, I’m not that smart #1: As Cope pointed out above, the team ahead at the first TV timeout was 8-0 in Tech’s ACC games until yesterday. That’s now 8-1.
- Ok, I’m not that smart #2: I’ve been begging for the Hokies to get out and run more, using their athleticism to get into transition. The Hokies did this for most of the first half, really pushing the ball, and the result was another pathetic offensive first half with just 26 points and 9 turnovers.
- Who the heck is this team the Hokies have put out there the last two games and what happened to the team from the first eight ACC games #1? In VT’s first eight ACC games, Tech won the rebounding margin in every game by an average of +6. In the last two games, the Hokies were -5 in rebounds against nc state and -15 against the canes! Ouch. It was one and done on the offensive end for the Hokies on the offensive end this week, while the canes were able to grab 13 offensive rebounds yesterday.
- Who the heck is this team the Hokies have put out there the last two games and what happened to the team from the first eight ACC games #2? After eight ACC contests, Tech had shot 58 more free throws than their ACC opponents, an average of +7 attempts per game. This week, the Hokies were -33 on free throw attempts and only shot 3 free throws in the first half in both games combined! Not good. In other words, Tech’s bread and butter of getting to the line and dominating the boards, both went out the window. The result: an 0-2 week.
- Don’t Double Down on Allen: In 14 out of conference games, Jeff Allen has six double-doubles (points/rebounds). In 8 ACC games, he has zippie. And he’s averaging two fewer boards per game in ACC play (8.3 vs 6.3).
- NCAA Tournament Chances: These were swirling inside the toilet bowl and were flushed away around 4:10 PM yesterday. Time to focus on the NIT. Tech needs two more wins to qualify for that.
- Can the Hokies pull another ACC shocker? In VT’s first ACC season, the Hokies lost 3 straight to fall to 5-6 with duke looming. As you all know, VT pulled off a shocking 67-65 win over #7 duke to save the season. Last year, the Hokies had lost two straight to fall to 6-3 before beating uva at home and #4 unc on the road. Coming up, Tech faces a top 10 unc team on the road next Saturday on CBS and a soon to be ranked maryland team on the road the following week. Not an easy two game stretch, but shockers have become the norm for the Hokies. [giggle]
Around the World (Wide Web)
Canes game | Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Hokies lose to Miami, drop to 5-5 in ACC | Collegiate Times
VT-Miami Photo Gallery | Collegiate Times
Bubble buster? | Roanoke Times
A sudden shift in expectations | Roanoke Times
Miami Muscles Way To Win Over Hokies | Washington Post
Miami Edges Tech 74-71 | TechSideline.com
Tech suffers second consecutive setback | Lynchburg News Advance
Virginia Tech loses at home to Miami, 74-71 | Richmond Times-Dispatch