Niemo’s Nuggets added…
Powered by Malcolm Delaney’s 31 points, the Hokies put together their most complete game of the season today with a victory over their SEC opponent (and my sister’s alma mater), the georgia bulldogs, 74-62. After the Hokies scored 10 straight points in the first half to take a 10 point lead, 28-18, the game did not get any closer than 6 points. The lead was cut to six with 8 minutes remaining, and that would be as close as georgia would get as the Hokies went on a 13-4 run to build their largest lead of the game.
Delaney led all scorers, and was just one point shy of his season-high mark of 32, which occurred against temple. Delaney, quoted by hokiesports.com, said he “had been off balance with my shot and I hadn’t been able to work on it”. Since this was the Hokies first game at home in 2 weeks, Delaney was able to spend extra time before the game in the gym to get his balance back. And he did just that, making several acrobatic shots as he drove into the lane. georgia also didn’t foul at the end of the game, so Delaney’s 31 were a true 31 with zero garbage points.
Delaney was just part of the story today though. The Hokies put together a solid defensive effort. georgia’s leading scorer, Trey Thompkins, did not make a shot from the field. Big props to J.T. Thompson and Victor Davila who defended Thompkins. He finished the game with 5 points, all coming from the line. The Cassell Guard must have got to Thompkins because he missed more free throws (3) today than all season (Thompkins was 15 of 16 going into today).
The Hokies pressured the dawgs with a 1-3-1 full court press after every made basket for a good portion of the game. While the Hokies didn’t get a lot of steals from the pressure, the dawgs didn’t make any easy buckets by beating it. Coach Greenberg’s defensive strategy also included a half court zone for a portion of the game. These wrinkles helped the Hokies win the points off turnover battle, 19-14, which typically translates into a W.
As Niemo pointed out in his preview, the Hokies haven’t fared too well in the past against teams that can bruise inside. Thus, it was refreshing to see Thompson and Davila shut down Thompkins. The Hokies also won the battle on the boards 33-25 with Davila snaring a career-high nine rebounds. Jeff Allen came off the bench again in the first and second half (to limit foul trouble). He finished with 11 points and 6 boards, but still accumulated 4 fouls in only 20 minutes of play. We also got our first look at Cadarian Raines. He only played 2 minutes, and picked up 2 quick fouls, but Raines appears to be real physical inside, which should help the Hokies improve in the rebounding department over last year.
Today’s crowd was pretty good for a Sunday afternoon non-conference tilt. It was about 70-75% full. Hopefully, the turnout will be even better this Wednesday night against vmi at 7:00.
- Most complete game the Hokies have played all year! Looked good on offense (guys were hitting open shots and VT got out and ran), D was solid and held georgia’s best scorer 10 below his average, and VT really battled on the glass. Plus, they hit 18 of 19 from the free throw line!
- As Wick said, Delaney hit many off-balance shots today as he drove the lane and either drew contact for an and-1 or just simply scored. Delaney had really struggled to hit runners or driving layups up until now, so this is a great sign. When he’s on, this team is going to be tough to beat.
- The press was a great idea by Seth. georgia was very inexperienced at guard and this almost created some turnovers. A couple of times the Hokies had someone trapped dead to rights but the dawgs got out of it with a timeout or a near miss on a steal. The georgia press did almost nothing to the Hokie offense other than slow them down.
- Play of the Game: Has to go to Zo. VT was up six in the final minute of the first half but turned the ball over on a lazy pass by Delaney. Ricky McPhee intercepted it and sprinted up the court on a breakaway. But Dorenzo Hudson busted his tail up court and swatted the layup off the glass from behind and VT ended up getting the possession back after the ball went out of bounds off georgia. Delaney then hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to put the Hokies up nine at the half, 36-27. georgia never got closer than six in the second half and that 5-point-swing was a big reason.
- Hudson had a solid game, hitting 3 of 4 from the field (almost all were transition buckets) and playing solid defense.
- Tech really pushed the ball a lot in this game. This was the most up-tempo game I’ve seen from the Hokies under Greenberg in a long time. The result was more turnovers from VT, which you would expect in that style of play, but Tech also got a lot of easy transition buckets out of it. The stats only say VT had 10 fast break points, but that is somewhat misleading. The Hokies had many more points that came as a result of pushing the ball up court, and did have 34 points in the paint as a result.
- VT has been great on the glass all year and did a good job today, but did struggle on the defensive glass in the second half. georgia was going inside on every possession in the second half and got several offensive rebounds and a ton of foul calls on the Hokies. Tech did battle though on the glass, and got the rebound on an amazing 48% of their misses (13 offensive rebounds to 14 defensive rebounds by georgia)! That is an amazing percentage. And I really like Raines. He will commit a lot of fouls in his time at VT, but he was giving the man he was guarding the business inside. He brings an intimidating style inside, really getting after guys. There won’t be any easy buckets inside on his watch.
- Ben Boggs hit both of his three point attempts in this game, meaning he is now 4 of 4 from long range in his last two games. The biggest one came from almost NBA range when georgia had cut the Hokie lead to eight with 12 minutes left. That put Tech up by 11.
- Added thanks to Guru’s reminder: Davila has very good post moves, including a deadly drop step to the baseline. Needs to work on his baby hook though when he pivots into the lane. Allen had his usual solid array of post moves tonight.
- Tempo-Free Stats Update: The Hokies had their best effective field goal percentage and offensive rebound percentage of the season against the bulldogs, with 52.8% and 48.1% (Tech grabbed 13 of 27 rebounds on their misses) respectively. Their Offensive Efficiency of 1.17 was just behind the 1.18 which they had against iowa, the high for the season. So this week showed a lot of improvement offensively for the Hokies. However, VT had their highest turnover percentage of the season Sunday, turning the ball over on 22.2% of their possessions, due partially to their up-tempo play. VT did have a 19-14 edge in points off turnovers though and have outscored opponents 133-54 on the season in that category. This was the first time all season the difference in points off turnovers was lower than the margin of victory for the Hokies and marked the first time VT had more turnovers than their opponent. For more on this and what these stats mean, see the Offensive Breakdown article.