Dorenzo Hudson scored a career-high 41 points as the Virginia Tech Hokies (12-1) overcame the absence of the ACC’s leading scorer, Malcolm Delaney, to beat a good seton hall team 103-94 in overtime.
Hudson, who is having the best season of his three-year career at Tech, stepped up in a major way to lead the Hokies to an impressive win. His 41 points are the most by a Hokie since Bimbo Coles dropped 42 on rutgers on Dec. 27, 1990, in a game played in Hawaii.
The junior guard becomes just the ninth player in Tech’s history to score more than 40 points in a game, a feat even Delaney — a Cousy Award nominee and the ACC’s leading scorer — has not accomplished.
Jeff Allen recorded another double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds, and in the process broke the 1,000-point mark for his career (he is the 41st Hokie to reach the century mark).
Freshman Erick Green, getting his first start of the season, managed the game well and scored 7 points. Another freshman, Manny Atkins, scored 5 of his 8 points in overtime.
The game was a back and forth affair, but with time winding down in regulation, Green had a chance to put the game away with the Hokies leading by two, 80-78. But Green missed a pair of free throws and seton hall went the other way to tie the game at 80 and send it to overtime.
In OT, the Hokies dominated, outscoring the pirates 23-14 including 14 points in the final minute of the game.
Hudson becomes just the 9th player in Tech’s history to score more than 40 points in a game. The 40-point mark had only been broken 11 times in Tech’s history — Hudson made it 12 tonight.
Well… Cope pretty much covered the high points. The story here is obviously Dorenzo’s crazy monster bustout — 41 points, including 20 of 21 free throws. In the 12 games preceding this one, Zo was 26-40 on FTs.
But it wasn’t just Zo playing above himself tonight. The Hokies brought this one home as a team, and it was the freshmen who really stood out to me. Aside from Zo, the difference tonight was key contributions from Erick Green, Cadarian Raines, Manny Atkins, and Ben Boggs. These guys don’t jump out in the box score, but they all contributed with key stops and baskets when they got on the floor. The notable exception being Erick Green’s missed FTs in the end of regulation –- if we lost, that’s all we’d remember. But Green gave 32 minutes starting at point guard, chipping in 7 points and some solid defense. Raines only scored two points, but it was his D that stood out — early on he forced a turnover and followed on the next possession with a nasty block. Raines looks like a big bad man on the floor. Manny Atkins was 3-5 for 8 points, including a big 3, and Ben Boggs was 1-1 on FGs and 2-2 on FTs. The freshmen combined for 8-14 shooting from the floor.
So let’s look at how this game unfolded…
I had three keys going into this one:
• Is Erick Green ready to handle the point full-time?
• Can Allen be effective and aggressive without picking up the early fouls?
• Can anyone make free throws?
Going in, I would have said that without the injured Malcolm Delaney, we needed big results in all three categories to come out with a win — but nobody knew what Zo was gonna do. We actually got two out of three, and Zo made it work out.
At point guard… well, we don’t want to see too much more of that –- we need Malcolm back, unless Hudson can put in 40 every game. Erick Green started at point, and he was a little ragged — he slipped and fell on the Hokies’ first possession (but he did manage to get the pass off). Green picked up his 4th foul early in the second half, and Zo took over point from there. In total the two combined for six assists and seven turnovers. Last year around this time, backup PG Hank Thorns was something like 10:1 assists to turnovers (when he wasn’t taking maddening shots in traffic). So anyway the point was a little shaky tonight. That story is tempered by the fact that tonight’s backup point guard was shoveling in 41 points at the time. And to be fair, this was Green’s baptism by fire — he looks like he’s got a lot more game to show in the future when he settles in.
So what about the other two keys? Jeff Allen was fantastic tonight. He got through the first half with just one foul, stayed in the game, made a collection of circus shots, and finished with just another double-double. And free throws? All Hokies not named Malcolm Delaney were shooting 60% on the year coming into this game — but tonight they went 87%.
• Hokie starters: Jeff Allen, Dorenzo Hudson, Erick Green, Terrell Bell, Victor Davila
• Tech led 24-10 at 8:36 in the first half, but the pie-ruts put on a run to take a 33-31 lead with 1:13 left. The Hokies closed the half nicely though and led 37-33 at the break.
• The second half quickly turned into a tight contest with constant lead changes. seton hall had a few small leads but could never pull away. The Hokies generally held a small lead most of the way through the second half and overtime. seton hall managed to close on two big shots at the end of regulation to send it to OT.
• With 4:20 left in the second half, Jeff Allen had a steal and a monster thunder dunk. The Big Donut went in for style points and converted hard.
• Seton hall’s Jeremy Hazell is a nasty scorer -– he’s fearless. He chucked in 26, taking wild contested shots all over the floor, going 7-17 overall and 4-10 from deep.
• The pie-ruts dumped it in at 49%, and the Hokies nearly matched it with 47%.
• The difference tonight was how the Hokies got to the line and got it done there. Tech shot 36 of 43, compared to just 15 of 20 for seton hall. Hudson and Allen combined for 29 of 33. Whatever got into them tonight needs to come home to Blacksburg (especially Zo).
• The wacky Mexican court tonight was a little over two feet shorter and a little under one foot skinnier than US standard court size. The game was adjusted by calling the white out-of-bounds lines as in-bounds, using the paint outside as the out-of bounds zone. Krazee.
• Twitter scoops — Before the game, Malcolm Delaney (foe23) said the team has been practicing better than ever before since he’s been a Hokie. Coach Greenberg (HeadHokie) announced on Twitter that Zo would backup Erick Green at point.
• My DVR left me hanging with 4 minutes left in OT. Never, never, never ever record a game without ample time for overtime. No matter how many times I get burned, I still can’t seem to learn this lesson.
So, looking ahead… the Hokies are 12-1 and looking like there might be something brewing here. Piling up wins over vmi and the longwood lancers didn’t mean a lot to me, but this win was different. This was just one game, so we’ll have to see whether these guys can keep it going. But it feels great tonight (especially following the sweet sweet beatdown laid on the foulsome vols two nights ago).
The Hokies open ACC play in 8 days on the road at unc. It will be so nice to finally get those baby blue hosers without goofball-T, who single-handedly kept the Hokies out of the tournament each of the last two seasons. The heels are 11-3 thus far against a very tough schedule and are ranked #9 in the AP and USA Today polls.
- What can you say? We have won 9 in a row and beat a team, that by my estimation should be a NCAA Tourney team, without our best player. I’m going to start to use the word “special” about this team. This team, to date, has been special. I have that same feeling I had three years ago.
- Tech has now won 8 of their last 9 overtime games. That one loss? When xavier hit a half court shot to beat us last season. This team is MONEY in overtime.
- The Hokies also had a 14 point lead on seton hall in the first half in last season’s contest before wilting to the pirate press and losing – this looked eerily similar for a while.
- What can you say about Zo? He took a lot of criticism from people, including this web site, but has really stepped up the last six games. He is averaging 18.5 ppg over the last six games. Zo is a whole new player. I keep preaching he needs to go at the hoop, which he did tonight, but he also hit 3 of 7 threes. He was just 7 of 32 coming into tonight.
- The freshmen really stepped up. Even though Cadarian Raines only played 7 minutes, he deflected a couple of passes and had a block. The statisticians did not give him a steal but he had 2 in my book. Manny Atkins had 5 big points in OT including a clutch 3 to put VT up 5 with a minute to go. Erick Green also came up huge in overtime. He blocked a shot on one possession and then got a steal on the next. Erick also drained a big three when Tech was down 3 with under 5 to go in the game.
- Tech’s offense really showed how much they missed Delaney tonight in terms of ballhandling. Green really struggled to setup the VT offense and Hudson had to play point at times, a position he is definitely not qualified for. But the Hokies made it work. How???…
- The VT defense was awesome for the most part tonight. Even though seton hall scored 80 in regulation, the Hokies did a solid job. Their one weakness appeared to be defending guards on the dribble, though part of that had to do with the fact Erick Green had four fouls for most of the second half. He was allowing his man right by him way too much.
- Hey, the Hokies are 12-1 going into ACC play! Even though our schedule was soft, we made it through it with just one blemish. 8-8 in ACC play and this team is in the Big Dance. I wouldn’t bet against us.