The Hokies jumped out to a quick lead that they never relinquished, enabling Virginia Tech to cruise to a 75-49 victory over uab in the 2nd round of the NIT. The Hokies continued their sharp shooting from their opening round game. They opened the game 7 of 7, and finished shooting 47% from the field and 43% from 3 point land. In addition to the impressive performance on offense, the Hokies shut down uab’s best player, Robert Vaden. Vaden, who averages 21.4 points per game, only scored 9 on 3 of 17 shooting.
Unlike the opening 10 minutes of the morgan state game, this game was never close. In fact, uab coach Mike Davis called a timeout 28 seconds into the game. I’ve never seen a team call timeout that soon after tipoff. A Deron flop (successful one) and three pointer led to the T-O call. It didn’t help because A.D. Vassallo drained a 3 pointer 30 seconds later. The Hokies had a 10-point lead at the first TV timeout.
Once again, the Hokies had a balanced attack on offense. This has been a trademark of the Hokies offense ever since the loss at Chapel Hill in mid-February. A.D. Vassallo led all scorers with 18, followed by Malcolm Delaney with 17, and Deron Washington with 16. This threesome shot 60% from the behind the arc. J.T. Thompson provided a nice spark off the bench (again). He finished with 8 points on 4 of 4 shooting and 7 boards in 22 minutes.
The Hokies’ held the blazers to 18 points below their season average, and just 3 three-pointers on 18 attempts. That’s 17% percent. They didn’t do that much better from inside the arc, shooting 36% from the entire field. The Hokies also forced 16 uab turnovers.
- The battle underneath was pretty even: 37 to 36, Hokies.
- Virginia Tech had 16 assists.
- The crowd was doing the wave before the game.
- The crowd thanked Coach Greenberg (again) towards the end of the game.
- Greenberg returned the favor by applauding the fans at the end of the game.
- VT improves to 10-0 all time in NIT home games.
Did I mention the crowd? I was not at the game, but I did speak to Niemo, who was there. According to him it was one of the most electric crowds at Cassell ever. This seems to come up every year, but the Athletic Department really needs to find a way to get the students better seats. If there is a silver lining to being snubbed by the NCAA, it’s that the NIT has given not only our team, but our fans, the opportunity to show a national TV audience what we are made of.
Thanks to tonight’s win, the fans are rewarded one last time with a home game on Wednesday vs. the second seeded ole miss rebels. The game will be on ESPN2. Tipoffs will be 7 p.m. The winner advances to the NIT Final Four in the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden.
Before the game, the Hokies honor Head Coach Seth Greenberg with a game ball from his 300th career coaching victory, the win over morgan state.
- VT won by 20+…. that means another Bear Fight! (Jay-ger Bomb and Car Bomb back-to-back… are we going to Bear Fight our way through the NIT?)
- Malcolm Delaney is playing out of his mind right now. He looks like Zabian Dowdell on offense… only he looks like a seasoned Dowdell. The sky is the limit for this kid. He’s averaging 15 points per game over the last four games. But here’s the really scary part: he’s 21/31 from the field (68%) and 12/16 on threes (75%). Dude cannot miss. FYI: He’s the only VT player I’ve tried to arm-curl I failed on… hmm.
- As Wick said, the crowd was unbelievable. The best atmosphere I’ve ever seen for a VT basketball game, PERIOD. That’s because when we play unc or duke, 25% of the crowd is for them. And this crowd was much better than the uva @ VT crowd this year. As Wick said, get the students better seats, Weaver. They make a difference. Or take Ron Franklin’s word (ESPN play-by-play announcer), “This crowd is incredible.”
- The Hokies hit their first seven shots tonight. That means that Tech hit 26 of 30 shots from the start of the 2nd half of the morgan state game through the seventh shot against uab.
- Tech is 14-0 this season when leading at the half.
- I’d hate to be the wife of uab head coach mike davis. I have never seen someone complain so much. It turned the officials completely against him. There were several points where they told him to shut up, and finally T’d him up.
- I hope 2008 signee Durant can play, because Hank Thorns is just awful right now. He was 0-6 from the field. He’s gone from bad, to good, to a power play for the other team.
- Vaden, who as Wick mentioned averages 21, had 2 at the half. O-ver-rated!
- VT shot just 57% from the line but uab was AWFUL, hitting 4/14 for 28%. Crowd? Thank you.
- If only the NCAA Tournament was like bowl games. We’d get bids just based on our crowd. We were known for having a great football fan base. Scratch that. We have a great fan base. Let’s keep it up. No more 4-5k crowds for basketball games.
Niemo and I were waiting in line (which is an outrage, don’t they know who we are?) outside of the Cassell with our entourage prior to the game. It was near freezing and with the wind chill, it was well below freezing. Then, Seth Greenberg came out of nowhere and walked up to the doors on the east side of the Cassell and told them to open up and let us in. The doors weren’t supposed to open until 7:30 and he had them opened at 7:15 … and the Greenberg legend continues to grow.
Wick’s source was correct. This was the most enthusiastic, intense and in-tune-with-the-game crowd the Cassell has seen all year and according to my source at the game, it was the best crowd in 10 years. I echo Wick’s sentiment that Virginia Tech needs to find a way to get more students at the games. For crying out loud, the fans were in the seats 1 hour and 45 minutes before tip-off and were cheering the Hokies as they stretched … seriously. Tech’s players were stretching and all 9,000-plus fans were chanting “LET’S GO HOKIES!”
During the uab player introductions, you couldn’t hear a word the PA announcer was saying through the deafening chants of LET’S GO HOKIES!” I honestly got chills it was that impressive and Tech players could feel it, too.
Oh, and Niemo arm-curled a fan waiting in line. The fan recognized the greatness that is Niemo and begged to be arm curled. Niemo obliged.