And for the third time in a row – don’t let the final score fool you! If college basketball games were 30 minutes long instead of 40, the Hokies could easily be 0-3 at this point. But once again Tech used a run about midway through the second half to secure a double-digit win, this time on the road in front a spirited crowd. It was a white-out, people! The campbell students were clad in white shirts that said “Beat Tech”. They also set an attendance record for their arena..
The late run tonight was kick-started by the play of the game, coming with six minutes left and the Hokies leading by a slim 52-51 margin. Malcolm Delaney launched a three-pointer that bounced off the rim and then fell in. While the ball was in the air, Terrell Bell was fouled, putting him on the line for a one-and-one. He hit both, giving the Hokies a five point play and a 57-51 lead. campbell never got closer than five after that. Delaney also had two big assets leading to a layup by Dorenzo Hudson and a dunk by Terrell Bell as the Hokies pushed the lead out to double-digits.
JT Thompson was the player of the game, leading the Hokies with 17 points. He also chipped in six rebounds and a couple of blocks. This was not a career high for him in points though, he had 21 against duquesne last year in the NIT. Another great sign tonight is JT hit three jump shots, something he had been struggling with coming into this game.
Malcolm Delaney chipped in a rough 15. In fact, he didn’t hit a two-point shot all night. He hit three three-pointers and nailed 6/8 free throws. He also surpassed the 1,000 point mark becoming the 40th Hokie to reach that feat all time. But he struggled to find his points.
The Hokies, after going 1/13 on threes in their last game, struggled from the outside early again tonight facing campbell’s 2-3 zone. The camels were begging the Hokies to shoot it from the outside and Tech was cold early. They started out just 9/28 from the field, including many missed easy shots in the lane. But the freshmen guards really gave Tech a lift. Erick Green hit two three-pointers in the first half and Ben Boggs added one himself. Tech went 7/18 (39%) from behind the arc on the night, which they’ll take any night. Anything above 33% is good. The Hokies hit 44% of their field goals overall for their game, which is on par with what they usually do. Tech was 16/24 (67%) from the line, an improvement over the 56% they were coming in but still not good enough. They need to be in the 70s and hit 72.4% last year. Hudson hit 4/6 tonight after starting the season 1/6.
If you love whistles, then this was the game for you. Tech had well over 10 fouls in both halves. In fact, campbell was in the bonus just eight minutes into the first half and Jeff Allen, Dorenzo Hudson, and Malcolm Delaney were all on the bench with two fouls. That is when the supporting cast stepped up. Tech’s bench had scored just 12% of the Hokie points through two games, but with three starters out with foul trouble, the bench stepped up with 21 first half points of the 33 VT scored. Just imagine what this game would have looked like without the role players coming up big.
The Hokies opened the game on a 7-0 run and closed the first half on a 9-2 run. They were outscored 29-17 in the middle part of the half but led 33-31 at the half on a three-pointer by Thompson just before the buzzer. Thompson had 11 points and a surprise seven points by freshman Erick Green helped the Hokie cause.
The Hokies really struggled defensively for most of this game. campbell was beating them up the court and getting easy bucket after easy bucket. Or in the half court set a Tech defender would get lost, leaving a camel open for an easy layup. Or more often than not, a foul was called on the Hokies. VT really struggled with the small, thin, but quick camel lineup that often had four or more players that were 6’6″ or less on the floor. After the game, Head Coach Seth Greenberg said they were “stretched and beaten off the dribble” and was what “bothered me the most”. campbell shot over 50% in the first half. He thought the post players struggled guarding the camels smaller guys that were more or less small forwards.
Jonathan Rodriguez, the senior star of campbell who has over 1600 points in his career, led the camels with 19 points. He had 12 at the half.
The key for campbell tonight to win was force the Hokies to commit turnovers. The camels had pilfered 12.5 steals per game in their first three games but got just seven tonight and Tech committed just 11 turnovers. The Hokies continued their domination in points off turnovers, outscoring the camels 20 to 7. They have a 68 to 19 edge in points off turnovers on the season.
Seth was not a happy camper for most of the game. He burned four timeouts in the first half, including three in a 2:02 span. Seth was also disappointed the way Jeff Allen played. He had two fouls by the five minute mark of the first half, and four fouls before the first media timeout in the second half. He had as many fouls as points until he converted a big three-point play with three minutes to go to put Tech up by eight. Allen finished with seven points.
After the game, Seth said he was happy that they “won the final four minutes”. Tech outscored campbell 19-9 in the final six minutes of the game to pull away.
Virginia Tech returns to action this Friday and Saturday with games against temple and delaware as part of the Philly Hoop Group Classic.
Here are the point totals for the Hokies…
- JT Thompson – 17
- Delaney – 15
- Hudson – 10
- Allen – 7
- Green – 7
- Davila – 6
- Bell – 6
- Boggs – 3