A.D. Vassallo (jr.) became the 39th player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark in a career as he led the Hokies to a 92-84 win over the georgia tech yellow jackets. A.D. scored a season- and team-high 27 points and is now in 37th place on Tech’s all-time scoring list with 1,026 points, passing Shawn Good (1,008). The Hokies’ 92 points was a season-high, surpassing the 89 points Tech scored in a win over florida state, as well as the most points the Hokies have ever scored in an ACC game.
A win is a win, and I’ll take a win any time, but in terms of watchability, this game was just plain… unwatchable. The refs were calling everything, as evidenced by the Hokies’ season-high 49 free throw attempts (VT made 36/49 – 73.5 percent). The jackets went to the line 34 times (they made 28/34). The teams combined for 83 free throw attempts… that is absurd. Granted, many of those came in the final two minutes, but three players fouled out (2 for gt, 1 for VT), four players had four fouls (3 for gt, 1 for VT), and a total of 60 … six – oh … personal fouls were called in this game. I don’t even know what to say except travishamockery, people. You know what I’m talkin’ about.
On to the game…
As is VT’s modus operandi, they started off very slow, going nearly six minutes before scoring from the field. Jeff Allen played only three minutes in the first half because of two quick and silly fouls, but we’ve come to expect that of Allen. Disappointing, but not surprising. This game reminded me of the previous game against maryland in that both the terps and jackets jumped out to quick leads as the Hokies struggled, but neither the twerps or the bees could put Tech away.
Instead, just as the jackets started going cold, the Hokies began heating up and came roaring back from a 12-2 deficit to take a 42-34 lead with one minute to play in the first half. A.D. led the charge with 13 points, but it was Deron Washington’s wicked dunk with 1:25 to play that put the exclamation point on the rally and brought the Hokie faithful, decked out in red and black “Hokies for Huskies” shirts, to their feet with a roar of approval.
The Hokies gave up some cheap buckets at the end of the first half, but still led by four at the break, 42-38. The 42 points marked just the fifth time this season the Hokies scored more than 40 in the first half. In fact, it was the first time in the last five games that the Hokies were able to score more than 29 points in the first half.
The second half was all Virginia Tech, as the Hokies stretched their lead to 12 on two occasions. georgia tech managed to cut the lead down to two with 12:09 left on anthony morrow’s three-pointer, but, A.D. continued to play tough and the wreck had no answer for him. It wasn’t like they didn’t try — A.D.’s 27 points were probably the toughest 27 he’s ever scored. He was hounded and roughed up all afternoon, as was Allen.
Hank Thorns, Malcolm Delaney, and J.T. Thompson all played outstanding games, especially J.T., since he was still nursing a bum ankle. He wasn’t expected to play much, but when Allen got into foul trouble early in the first half, Seth Greenberg had no choice but to bring J.T. in off the bench. Thorns only scored three points in 17 minutes, but his 3-pointer with 10:26 left in the game was huge, giving VT a 9-point lead. Immediately after Thorns hit the off-balance trey with the shot clock at :02, the jackets went on a mini 5-0 run, but had Thorns not drained that three, gt would have cut the lead down to just 1 point. Instead, the Hokies built their lead back up to 12 and never looked back. One of the main reasons for the Hokies’ success was their dominance on the boards — Good Tech out rebounded bad tech 42-27. Oh, and one more thing… VT’s defense held mighty mouse (matt causey) to just 2 points… on free throws.
With the win, the Hokies secured a winning season — the fourth in Greenberg’s five seasons in Blacksburg — and more than likely locked up a postseason berth in either the National Invitational Tournament or the College Basketball Invitational. The Hokies still have an outside shot at a 20-win season, but would need to win their remaining three regular-season games, and tack on a win in the opening round of the ACC tournament.
Let’s fleetingly discuss Tech’s postseason chances. Believe it or not, the Hokies still have an outside shot of making the Big Dance. If, and it’s a big “if”, the Hokies can finish at least 2-1 in their last three regular-season games, they’ll have a 9-7 ACC record, which will probably mean they’re no worse than fifth in the ACC. It would also mean that Tech would be knocking on the door to a 20-win season. If (there’s that word again) the Hokies finish in the top-five of the ACC and manage 20 wins, I think they would have a good shot at the NCAA Tournament.
More on A.D. Vassallo: OK, so we know that A.D. is only a junior with one season of eligibility left. How far up the all-time career scoring list can he climb before he’s done? Well, let’s assume that he averages his usual 16 points a game for at least five more games this season (three regular season games, at least one ACC tournament game and at least one post-season game); that’s 80 more points and he finishes this season with 1,106 points, passing five more Hokies on the list. If he has a good run to close the season, he may even pass Brian Chase (1,115).
What about next season? If A.D. averages 16 per in his senior season, for a minimum of 32 games (same as this year), then he’ll finish with 1,618 points, which will place him in 13th place on Tech’s all-time scoring list. And I’m hoping that more experienced guard play next season will free A.D. up a lot more. If that’s the case and he has a stellar senior season, he has an outside shot of breaching the top 10. Again, assuming he finishes this season with 1,106 points, he would need to average better than 17 points a game next season (32 games) to pass Bryant Matthews for 10th on the list. It’s possible!
Here’s the Top 10 in case you were wondering:
1.) Bimbo Coles – 2,484
2.) Dell Curry – 2,389
3.) Dale Solomon – 2,136
4.) Perry Young – 1,899
5.) Allan Bristow – 1,804
6.) Zabian Dowdell – 1,785
7.) Bob Ayersman – 1,782
8.) Ace Custis – 1,706
9.) Wally Lancaster – 1,696
10.) Bryant Matthews – 1,656
OK, where my boy Niemo at?
Around the World (Wide Web)
Hokies beat Yellow Jackets as they vie for ACC tourney bye | Lynchburg News-Advance
Tough early slate begins to pay dividends | Roanoke Times
Vassallo, strong FT shooting lift Hokies past Georgia Tech | HokieSports.com
Hokies pick up win against GT | Collegiate Times