Recap | #5 duke 69 (12-1, 1-0), VT 44 (9-5, 0-1)

Boxscore

Note: The 44 points for the Hokies is their lowest output ever under Seth Greenberg.  The last time VT was held to a point total this low was January 29th, 2000 when umass beat VT 49-41 during the ricky stokes era.

The last time the Hokies visited Cameron Indoor, they were partying on the court after an overtime win.  Today, they couldn’t get the bus started soon enough, as the blue devils ran Tech out of Durham.  After VT closed the game to 39-35 early in the second half, coach k called a timeout, and duke responed by outscoring the Hokies 30-9 the rest of the way.  The Hokies managed just 13 points for the second half and just nine in the final 17:32.  Tech did not score in the final 5:41 of the game as duke grabbed one offensive rebound after another.

Tech really dug themselves a hole in the first four minutes of the first half, something VT often did last year (not a good sign for this season).  duke jumped out to an 11-0 lead as Tech started 0/9 from the field.  The Hokies were unable to get closer than six the rest of the first half and trailed by eight at the half, 39-31.  Tech would never get closer than four the rest of the game.  The Hokies need to figure out a way to jump start things.  As this game showed, you can lose a game by the first media timeout.

The Big 3 were the JV 3 tonight as they were not ready for primetime, at least not in the second half.  At the break Delaney had 10, Allen 8, and Vassallo 7.  They finished with 12 for Delaney, 9 for Allen, and 7 for Vassallo.  For you non-math majors, that’s just three second half points for the “Big 3″.   Vassallo seemed invisible in the second half.

The guys seemed to forget what was working in the first half – catch the ball on the perimeter, penetrate the key and pull up from 8-16 feet.  In the second half the Hokies couldn’t figure out a thing on offense.  Tech started the game just 1/12 from the field and finished the game shooting just 37%.  Tech hit just one three-pointer, going 1/9.  Tech just could not find easy buckets, and when they had them, they often missed them.  The Hokies had just 7 assists on 18 made shots and Delaney did not collect an assist.

For duke, Kyle Singler led the four devils in double figures with 19 points.  However, Tech actually did a great job on defense for the most part.  duke, who came in averaging 84 ppg, were held 15 below that.  duke came in shooting 49% from the field but hit just 40%.  But duke killed VT from the foul line, hitting 19/20 free throws.  The Hokies hit just 7/12.

Another problem was the offensive glass.  When a team misses 32 shots, you have to get the rebounds.  Tech didn’t.  The blue devils collected 14 offensive rebounds, meaning they grabbed 42% of their misses.

Around the midpoint of the second half, Tech’s effort went way downhill, which was disappointing.  I realize the Hokies weren’t going to win, but you would have still liked to see the guys putting everything on the line.  Instead, they were lazy going after loose balls and the devils were grabbing up everything.  I won’t say the guys quit, I don’t think they did, but they certainly weren’t hustling either.

Cheick Diakite, who had been in Greenberg’s doghouse, had a great second half.  He had 8 points, 5 rebounds (including 4 offensive), and 3 blocks for the game.  He also said, “POW!  Right in the kisser!” to Kyle Singler when the duke star drove the lane and tried to dunk on him.  Cheick rejected it with extreme prejudice.

Tech gets almost a week off to go back to the drawing board.  This is a VERY good duke team that spanked the Hokies, but you really would have hoped to see more from Tech in this one.  No more excuses — Thompson is back, Thorns looked healthy tonight, and no one was in serious foul trouble.  It is time for this team to start showing something.  Another opportunity at a quality win slipped away.  Next up on Saturday is uva at the Cassell.  uva was picked 12th in the preseason poll.  This is a must win if the Hokies want to keep any serious dreams of a trip to the Big Dance alive.

Score Summary by Media Timeout

First Half

  • Under 16:00 Timeout: duke 11, VT 2 (N. Smith playing; duke opened with a 11-0 run)
  • Under 12:00: duke 16, VT 4 (Thorns is playing… VT started 0/9 on FGs)
  • Under 8:00: duke 26, VT 17 (Offense looking better but can’t get stops on D)
  • Under 4:00: duke 34, VT 23 (Zoubek and Thomas have 3 fouls… VT’s zone getting worked)
  • Halftime: duke 39, VT 31 (VT has had chances to make it closer but hasn’t converted)

Second Half

  • Under 16:00 Timeout: duke 45, VT 37 (Hokies missed two 3’s down 6)
  • Under 12:00: duke 53, VT 39 (Wheels coming off… duke 14-4 run since VT cut it to 4)
  • Under 8:00: duke 64, VT 42 (Wheels have fallen off and I smell smoke)
  • Under 4:00: duke 69, VT 44

This post was written by:

- who has written 1221 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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  • John

    Yeah, hopefully they can put this one behind them similar to the UNC game last year and go on a run.

    I’d say they quit. I watched the game with 2 people that usually don’t watch VT hoops and I got many comments on our lack of heart, particularly with A.D. We can bounce back, and will see if we actually do.

  • DuffHokie

    I agree with John. They looked like they quit. The team seemed confused and didn’t know what was going on. Duke was still nailing 3’s and were wide open down the stretch.

    To fight back and be within 4 points and then let that happen just shows these guys aren’t ready and don’t have the heart to fight and win. Hopefully this isn’t going to be an ongoing battle.

  • goodraisin

    The first four minutes and the last sixteen minutes of that game constituted the worst 20 minutes of basketball I have ever seen… at least on the offensive end. I know the Hokies can still compete in the ACC, but it sure feels unlikely. This team just doesn’t look the same as it did last year… I never thought we would miss Deron Washington this much, but it sure seems that is the case. Hudson and Bell were complete non-factors in this game, and JT Thompson still needs a bunch more practice time to get back to where he was at the end of last season. I am not saying that I am packing it up as a Hokie fan for this season, but I’m definitely saying that I’m extremely skeptical that we do any better than making the NIT.

  • formercoach

    goodraisin when you say they were non-factors do you mean from a scoring standpoint. When I watched the game I thought they both at least attempted to play defense. Other than Cheik and JT I don’t believe I can say the same. In the second half when hudson left the game they were only down by eight. Duke went on a 14-2 run when hudson left the game. I don’t recall Henderson or Scheyer scoring the way they did when either of those 2 were on the floor. These guys are not a part of the game on the offensive end because they are not getting shots. Granted Hudson was 0 for 4 but they were good shots, no one was making shots at the beginning of that game. The big 3 were a combined 0 for 16 before any of them made a shot. Delaney finally made a shot after his fifth or sixth attempt. Based on the number of shot attempts these guys get in a game they will always have low shooting percentages. They are being asked to basically run the offense and get what is kicked out to them when the “Big 3″ gets in trouble. If Delaney and Vassallo only shot the ball 3 or 4 times a game I can guarantee you their shooting percentage would be in the cellar.
    Another reason why we can’t score is we don’t get transition baskets. We only got one on a dunk. I hate this offense, you have these great athletes and they just stand around passing the ball to three people so that they can get jumpshots. Press, Run will ramp up the intensity. By the way our starting point guard can’t go through an entire game and not have any assist. And it isn’t because people were missing shots. The game changes when Thorns is playing. If he could guard somebody he would be a good player in the ACC.

  • goodraisin

    formercoach, I do not mean just from a scoring standpoint, although that’s certainly part of it. In 25 minutes Hudson had one rebound, one assist, one steal, and one turnover. That tells me he isn’t really a part of the offense and when you watch the game against Duke, you see it is true. It also tells me that he might be a decent defender, but he can’t create turnovers (and he really hasn’t all season if you look at his stats). He’s no Jamon Gordon or Zabian Dowdell on the defensive end. On offense, he just cannot get seperation from the opponent’s defenders, and when he does, he misses at an incredible rate. Sure, he only takes 4 shots a game, but that’s because he can’t possibly take any more than that without putting up an ill-advised shot. I need to see more out of him on the offensive end meaning that he needs to contribute more to the offensive play rather than just throwing the ball back to the PG after he receives it on the wing. It seems like the only time that he knows how to move without the ball is on the one play per game where he does that backdoor cut and gets an easy layup from Allen.

    Bell had 3 turnovers in 11 minutes and only pulled down one rebound, had no assists and no points and no steals and no blocks. What was he doing all game? I don’t recall his defense being anything to focus on during that Duke game… in fact I seem to remember him getting burned a couple times by Henderson. He’s playing far too timidly on offense and I keep waiting for that to change and it just doesn’t. I applaud you in trying to find the silver lining in the way Hudson and Bell have played up to this point this season, but I completely disagree that they have done anything special on either end of the floor.

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