The Virginia Tech Hokies dropped their second straight game at the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip Off in San Juan, P.R., 73-77 to seton hall. Three things killed the Hokies in this game: 1) the “non Big Three” (everyone besides Jeff Allen, A.D. Vassallo and Malcolm Delaney) only scored 9 points; 2) Tech went nearly six minutes (5:56) without scoring in the second half; and 3) free throw shooting – Tech shot just 59 percent from the charity stripe (19/32).
The Hokies played well in the first half building an 14-point lead, 31-17, with 7:20 to play. But the pirates scratched away at the lead finishing the half with an 17-9 run to push the halftime score to 40-34 Hokies. Vassallo led the Hokies at the half with 12, Allen with 10 and Delaney with nine. The rest of the team only had nine points and they wouldn’t score again.
The first seven minutes of the second half was the Hokies’ downfall. After a pair of Vassallo free throws at the 19:24 mark and a Delaney trey at 18:51, the Hokies wouldn’t score again until Delaney sank a free throw with 12:55 left in the game. By that time, the pirates had taken the lead. Using an 18-6 run to start the second half, seton hall pulled ahead 52-46.
As Niemo pointed out in an earlier post, the Hokies miss J.T. Thompson much more than we thought they would. Tech’s “Big Three” were the only Hokies to score in the second half. No points from the other two starters and no points from the bench. Cheick Diakite scored his typical four points, so that’s not out of the ordinary, but Terrell Bell, the other starter only scored three points. Lewis Witcher was the only bench player to score and he only managed two points. The Big Three tallied a combined 64 points. Malcolm led the way with 25, A.D. had 22, and Allen had 17 points and 17 rebounds.
The good news is that Tech’s Big Three can handle the load even when they are pressured and double teamed. The bad news is, the other starters and the bench can’t score a lick and that ain’t gonna cut in the ACC. The Hokes are going to need a big non-conference win against wisconsin to help their chances come Tournament selection time.