This was one of the ugly ones, another agonizing cold start. The Hokies were thoroughly dominated at home, on national television, in the final game in a Hokie jersey for seniors Cheick Diakite and A.D. Vassallo. Twelve minutes into the game, the Hokies were down 22-5 on 1 of 17 shooting. The single made basket was a Jeff Allen dunk. At the 7:36 mark, Cheick Diakite finally broke this ridiculous shooting drought with a turnaround jumper in the lane. Malcolm Delaney followed with a three, and the Hokie offense was finally in the game — down by 15.
The Hokies struggled through the rest of the half, sprinkling a few baskets in with ugly turnovers and shaky defense, and Tech went into halftime losing badly, 41-21. At the break, baylor was shooting 67% (16/24) from the field while the Hokies were at 24% (7/29).Â Even more telling, the bears were 12/14 in the first half on two-point shots.Â The Hokies could not stop the bears from getting easy buckets.Â Senior big man Josh Lomers came in averaging less than three points per game, but scored 12 in the first half on 5/6 shooting.Â Most of his points were layups where baylor lobbed the ball over a Hokie big man, who was fronting Lomers, or a feed into the low post where Lomers would catch the ball less than five feet from the hoop and go to his right for a short hook.Â Â Â A.D. Vassallo, Tech’s fifth all time leading scorer, was scoreless at the half.Â Tech had no answer for the baylor zone — unable to shoot over it (2/11 on threes) and taking bad shots inside.
In the second half, the deficit quickly extended to 26, and baylor just wouldn’t stop scoring and defending. With nine minutes left, baylor led 62-34 — Malcolm Delaney was shooting 1 for 11, and Vassallo was 2 of 12.
The end of the game saw the Hokies pull back admirably with a nice 18-3 run spurred by a full court trapping press, and there was a little excitement when a baylor player clobbered Delaney while boxing out on a free throw. But that’s as far as it went — the Hokies recovered a little less embarrassment in the final box score, but in the end, baylor took the easy victory, 84-66.
The shooting stats tell the story of this game: baylor shot 62% overall and 48% from deep. VT went for 33% and 23%. Aside from his arctic-shooting start, Malcolm Delaney posted a nice stat sheet with 14 points, 10 assists, and 6 rebounds, leading the Hokies in all three categories. Dorenzo Hudson had another encouraging game, shooting 3 of 6 for 10 points and two steals that led to dunks. A.D. scored 12, Jeff Allen 9, and J.T. Thompson scored 8.
This concludes the Hokies’ 2008-2009 season with a 19-15 record, and A.D. Vassallo finishes his career in 5th place on the all-time scoring list for Virginia Tech. baylor moves on to play auburn for a trip to the NIT final four at Madison Square Garden.
- Wow, was the crowd loud in the final eight minutes — if only we had a reason to cheer in the first 32 minutes.Â Cassell was about 75% full at best.
- Props to the guy in the first row on the opposite side of us that participated in Shirtless Halftime!Â We need more like you.
- Lomers’ 12 first half points for baylor almost tied his season high for a whole game of 14.Â Tech was AWFUL at low post defense all season.Â They need more bigs inside.Â This is exposed more than ever when VT plays out of conferences teams that are more physical like georgia, baylor, mississippi, and wisconsin.
- VT’s two NIT opponents were 27/51 on threes (53%).Â Tech did not fight over screens and were not doing a good job of running out on open perimeter players.Â Throw in wisconsin’s 12/18 three point performance in December and you see a real issue at defending the three in out of conference play.Â Tech must improve this in the offseason.
- To finish with a positive — Dorenzo Hudson has really stepped up the last few weeks.Â He looks like he could become a legitimate scorer, and a decent shutdown defender for the Hokies.Â But judging by Aaron Jackson’s 46 for duquesne and what baylor did today, I guess the jury is still out on that.Â But he did have two great steals from behind on help D.Â Many people have been waiting for him to show the promise he displayed as a scorer in AAU play, and we are starting to get a glimpse, much like how Delaney stepped up late last season.