There was no bubble bursting letdown tonight as A.D. Vassallo tied his season high of 27 points to lead the top seeded Hokies to a 94-62 victory over the 8th seeded morgan state bears in the opening round of the NIT. Coach Greenberg earned his 300th career victory, and the Hokies are now 9-0 all-time in NIT play at Cassell.
The game was tight for the first 10 minutes. morgan state led 16-14 at the 11:57 mark thanks to sharp shooting and out-rebounding Tech 8-3. But then the Hokies started to break away by going on a 26-9 run to close the half. The bears just couldn’t find a defensive scheme to cool down A.D. morgan state switched from zone to man-to-man back to zone, but nothing worked as A.D. scored 19 of the Hokies’ 40 first half points. Vassallo, my player of the game, shot 11 of 14 from the floor including 3 of 5 from behind the arc. He easily would have topped his career high of 29 if he had played his normal minutes, but Coach Greenberg pulled him early given Tech’s large lead.
The second half was a shooting clinic. There were enough great plays to fill an entire Hokie highlight DVD. Tech made their first 15 shots of the second half. The first miss came at the 5:08 mark when a Terrell Bell three pointer caught iron. Tech finished the second half shooting 19 of 23 from the floor (83%). That’s nasty, just nasty. Overall, the Hokies shot 65% from the field, 82% from the line, and 57% from three point land. They quickly made up that early rebounding deficit and finished the game with 14 more boards than the bears.
You don’t expect to see the third team play in March, but it happened tonight. Marcus Travis, Paul Debnam, Terrance Vinson, and Tom Amalfe all got some quality PT tonight. Debnam and Amalfe each scored 2 points. Debnam now has 8 career points and Amalfe has 4. What a great opportunity for these guys, especially on their home court.
The Hokies move on to the second round against the #5th seeded uab blazers, who upset fourth seed vcu 81-78 in Richmond tonight. The game will be at Cassell, and probably on Monday. uab is coached by former indiana head man, Mike Davis. I’ll leave the rest of the uab preview to the King.
Niemo’s Notes (presented by Niemo):
- My “player” of the game? The fans. We were just 200 short of a sellout. Compared to other NIT crowds, that is amazing. Thank you. Seth thanks you. The team thanks you. Amazing support. You gotta love our fans.
- 20+ point wins equals a Bear Fight (Jay-ger bomb and car bomb back-to-back). I did mine. Did you?
- The Hokies are now 9-0 all time at home in NIT games. 10-0 on Monday???
- The 94 points VT scored marks their season high. 92 against gt at home on 2/23 was the only other time they hit the 90 mark. The last time VT scored this many was when they beat #1 unc at home last January, also scoring 94.
- Jeff Allen added 3 more steals to his VT freshman record, now at 65.
- Seth has 87 wins at VT, 108 at s. florida, and 105 at long beach state.
- This is the 2nd time Seth has reached 20 wins at VT, and 2nd year in a row.
- Ten different Hokies made a shot in this game. Of those 10, Thorns was the only player that didn’t shoot at least 50% (NASTY!).
- VT hit six three-pointers in the first 13 minutes of the game. I couldn’t help but think, “We’ve finally found the range from three-point distance… and now they are moving it back by a foot next year. Might take us another 15 years to be good at threes.”
- Witcher had a powerful dunk. Continues to show bursts, but needs to be more consistent.
- VT is a NCAA team. Period.