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Game Recap unc (12-4, 1-0) 78, VT (12-2, 0-1) 64


The north carolina tar heels used a stifling second half defense to outscore Virginia Tech 44-26 in the second stanza en route to a 78-64 victory in Chapel Hill, NC. The #9 heels used their tremendous size advantage up front, led by All-American candidate Ed Davis with his 20 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks, his ninth double-double of the season. Deon Thompson added 13 points up front before fouling out. For the Hokies, Jeff Allen was held to only 4 points and shut out in the second half. Seth Greenberg stated before this game that the Hokies would have to improve their transition defense to compete with unc; that did not happen as Tech gave up way too many easy baskets, especially in the second half.

In a game that could have been billed as “the battle of bad ankles” going into it, Tech’s Malcolm Delaney started the game and gutted out a 26 point performance, but was held to only 6 after halftime and was held scoreless for the first 10 minutes of the second half as the heels seized control of the game. Will Graves and Marcus Ginyard both missed carolina’s loss last Monday at the college of charleston with injured ankles, but both returned to action against the Hokies. Graves and Larry Drew III combined to go a perfect 5-5 on three pointers to close the second half, leading a team that was not known for their outside shooting.  The heels had started 0 of 11 from behind the arc.

Plainly put, the game was a tale of two halves. The Hokies came out looking great on the defensive end and seemed inspired by the return of the ACC’s leading scorer Malcolm Delaney. unc came out in a 2-3 zone and Malcolm responded by nailing his first three-pointer. Dorenzo Hudson, coming off a career high 41 points against seton hall, came out ice cold in this one, with no sign of the urgency of his scoring that was there when Delaney was out.

While no one other than Delaney could connect cosistently from the outside, the Hokies seemed to get to every loose ball in the first half, outrebounded, and seemed to be outplaying the much larger tar heels. J.T. Thompson had some great hustle plays in the first half and had 6 early points. The game appeared to be taking the shape of the Hokies’ games against unc in the previous two ACC Tournaments, with Tech leading by as many as nine, 25-16 about half way through the first half. Freshman guard Dexter Strickland was a big spark for unc and kept the tar heels close with his quickness to the hoop and good penetration. The Hokies used a zone defense very successfully and held the tar heels to 0-7 three-point shooting in the first half. They carried a 38-34 lead into the locker room.

carolina came out in the second half again in a 2-3 zone but were intent on making any Hokie other than Delaney beat them from the outside. The tar heels picked up the pace offensively with the Hokies apparently forgetting that the transition game was a huge advantage for the heels. Davis and Thompson took over inside early in the second half and suddenly unc was getting all the loose balls. As the tar heels were holding Delaney scoreless over the first 10 minutes of the second half, freshman Manny Atkins had two huge turnovers, the rim seemed to have a lid on it, and carolina started to pull away. The heels quickly turned a 5 point advantage with under 8:00 remaining into a 12 point edge with 4:00 to go.

From there Will Graves and Larry Drew III took turns bombing threes down the stretch as the Hokies got lazy on defense and this one turned out like most every other time the Hokies open up ACC play on “Sunday Night Hoops” (recall the past buzzer beaters at duke and wake or last year’s debacle at duke).

The Hokies fall to 12-2 (0-1 ACC) and return to play on Wednesday night when they host the 15-1 miami hurricanes in Cassell Coliseum at 7:00 PM.

Niemo’s Notes:

  • To me this game swung on two plays in the second half – Zo’s missed three with 12:50 to go that would have put the Hokies back up 2 and helped them regain momentum and the non-call on Raines’s layup with 6:35 to go.  The latter was a real dagger.  Tech trailed 60-55 and had they called goaltending as they should have (Ed Davis swatted the ball AFTER it had hit the backboard), the Hokies would have been within 3.  Instead, the heels went up the court and Graves hit a 3 to put the heels up 8.  Another 3 followed on the next unc possession and Tech never got the game under single digits after that.
  • The freshmen looked like freshmen tonight.  As Rob mentioned, Atkins had two critical turnovers in the second half.  Boggs missed the front end of a one-and-one and then committed a dumb foul 80 feet from the hoop.  Green still struggles to be able to advance the ball far enough in the half court set to get Tech into their offense.  Raines looked solid inside but his stat line doesn’t show it.  The freshmen had just 3 points, and that was on a meaningless 3-ball by Green in the final minute.
  • Another key in the second half was the heels did a much better job with the ball.  After committing 12 turnovers in the first half, they had just 6 in the second 20 minutes.  And most of those were deadball turnovers, in other words, Tech couldn’t turn them into transition opportunities.
  • Expect to see more teams go zone against the Hokies, who only have one outside threat – Delaney.  Hudson was 0 for 6 from behind the arc tonight.
  • The good news it VT looked good in their 2-3 zone tonight in the second half.  They really limited the heels’ points in the paint in it.  This should help against the bigs other ACC teams have.  The problem is Graves and Drew suddenly got hot from the outside.  That’s the breaks.  Tech dared the heels to hit outside shots and that is the lesser of unc’s evils, and considering they started 0 of 11 from deep, it was the way to go.
  • unc seemed to have a power play against VT with Delaney in there on defense.  You have to love Malcolm for gutting it out when his ankle clearly was not 100%, but he simply could not guard guys one-on-one tonight.  His ability to back-peddle or move laterally was limited, and unc guards were blowing by him and Tech did not do a good job of helping and rotating.  The result was some easy buckets by Strickland or dishes to Davis when Tech did help but didn’t rotate elsewhere.  The zone seemed to Malcolm by limiting what he had to do on defense.
  • Delaney had more than half of the VT first half points (20 of 38).
  • Superstars can step up in big games, even when facing bigger guys.  Jeff Allen did not step up on offense tonight.  I’d say he did a very good job on defense for the most part, and committed just two fouls, but Tech needed more of him on offense, especially when the heels took Delaney away in the second half.
  • All in all, Tech played hard and were in this game for 34 minutes tonight.  Considering Delaney wasn’t 100% and VT was on the road playing the defending champs, there are positives to take from this win.  It was sad to see the offense go backwards tonight and become way too dependent on Malcolm again, but that happens.  The Hokies know they can play with the heels, and therefore anyone else in the league after this.  They just need to do it for 40 minutes next time.  Wednesday is a HUGE game for the Hokies, who cannot afford to drop home games, especially against teams on par with them.  Let’s make the Cassell rock!
  • Finally, we had a great turnout at Hard Times Cafe in Clarendon (Arlington) last night!  Thanks to everyone that came and took advantage of the wing and drink deals!

This post was written by:

- who has written 52 posts on Tech Hoops.

VT class of '92, B.S. in Finance. Legendary Playground balla from the outdoor courts of Richmond to the courts outside of Lee Hall & N.U.F. Also 2 time captain of Sigma Nu C Team Basketball. We once qualified for the VT Intramural version of the Big Dance & lost our first round game by over 100 points. Not to brag, but I connected on a 4 point play off the opening tip, & we took a 4-zip lead. Things went downhill fast after that. Favorite bball memories as a student (88 - 92) include watching the great Bimbo Coles for a couple of seasons. Other than that, not many. We did beat jmu once when Lefty Driessel was the coach there. Also beat a nationally ranked alabama team when I was a Freshman which led to a mattress battle on the prarie between Pritchard & O'Shag - I still have a t-shirt somewhere. Favorite all time VT basketball moment, the win '07 win over #1 unc goes straight to the top.

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8 Responses to “Game Recap unc (12-4, 1-0) 78, VT (12-2, 0-1) 64”

  1. HipHop_Hokie says:

    Certainly a putrid second half… to say the least. How a team can look so in sync for the first 20 minutes and then come out in the second and look like they need to play the name game to remember who is who is really beyond me. Once again very disappointed in Jeff Allen… he did play decently on defense, but in this one the fact that he only had 2 fouls was a negative, to me. He should have been more aggressive on both ends, and I sure wouldn’t have minded if he had ended up with 4-5 fouls if half of them were of the offensive variety following strong moves to the basket. To finish 2 of 5 from the field with 4 points in a marquee game like this, though, is just unacceptable.

    Further, I can see that Dorenzo and myself are just going to have to accept that fact that we’re going to have a firm love/hate relationship throughout his tenure. For him to tease us like that with 41 points down in Cancun and then turn that switch back to “OFF” right as conference play starts is just mind boggling and frustrating. It needs to be pointed out that he shot 22 times from the field – TWENTY TWO – and yet only made seven. The fact that he scored double figures only masks his poor offensive effort. 22 shots from the field was at a minimum DOUBLE the amount that anybody on either team not named Malcolm shot, and he (Delaney) only had 13 attempts. And for 6 of those 22 attempts to come from LONG range, with NONE of them going in, is just a clear indication that while Dorenzo had a fantastic game down in Cancun he clearly didn’t learn a lot from it. When he’s attacking the basket, being aggressive, and getting to the line I really do love to watch Zo play… but when he settles for outside shots that he seriously cannot consistently make, it just results in long nights for Hokie fans.

    All in all, as much as I had thought that we had a serious shot to win this one, I feel like it’s important to remember that this was a game against UNC in Chapel Hill – certainly not one that we can EXPECT to win. 12-2 is still a great place to be, and if the fellas can get their minds right in time for Wednesday’s tilt against THE U, then we should be fine.

  2. Danram says:

    Any idea why Seth elected to open up the second half in a man-to-man? As you point out, the zone had been pretty effective against UNC in the first half.

    • Niemo says:

      Danram – My guess is we opened the 2nd in man to throw them off, perhaps thinking they planned all half for the zone. If so, didn’t work and the 2-3 zone was more effective for VT. unc just got hot at the right time from outside.

      HipHop – Take away the threes and Zo was 7 of 16. That is certainly very acceptable for a guard. But yes, he needs to establish his ability to drive early, build up confidence, and then do a heat-check three. If the first or second goes in, keep shooting, if not, stick with the drive. But he was the only guy asserting himself in the 2nd half, not even Delaney was taking it at the heels.

      Raisin – Yes, you play two teams when you play unc or duke – them and the zebras. The refs aren’t why we lost, but it certainly didn’t help. To be fair, Delaney gets some of those calls our way because he is a star. Problem is they have a whole team of stars that get all the calls… and don’t expect it to be any better in the ‘Burg (remember the million charges called on us against duke last year?)

      Guru – I agree – positives o’plenty from last night. The guys believe they can play with anyone and I’m sure are quite mad about last night and will show it Wednesday. Yes, Allen needs (another) wake-up call. Let’s hope he responds Wednesday against Collins and the canes.

  3. Goodraisin says:

    There was another “block” by Davis where the ball definitely seemed to have reached its peak and was starting to fall. I thought it was funny that Comcast was talking about Davis being the player of the game and during the montage of “good” things he did, showed both blocks that should have been goaltending calls. I never like to blame a loss on the referees, but it’s very hard to play a team like UNC in their own arena when the referees are also playing for UNC. At one point in the first half, VT had 1 free throw to about 11 or 12 for UNC even though we were clearly outplaying them. Any time Hudson created contact on a drive to the hoop, the refs let him play. Any time we lightly brushed a UNC player, he was going to the line. I hope those referees get fined… they changed the course of the game with both their missed calls and phantom calls.

    I will not blame the refs completely though… Tech needed to shoot better to win that game, and our guys were freezing cold, Hudson especially.

  4. HokieGuru says:

    Jeff Allen will mostly likely be coming off the bench on Wednesday (that’s my prediction, anyway). His first and second half performance was not acceptable… yes, Deon Thompson and Ed Davis are future NBA stars, but I expected a lot more out of Allen… I think he needs a Greenberg wakeup call again… and many of the media articles out there seem to indicate that Greenberg was not happy and is likely to provide that.

    I won’t be all negative here… I was proud of Delaney… tender ankle and all… and his 26 points… but we need more than him and the next season has to start on Wednesday night.

    Also… Andrew Skwara of ACC Sports Journal has us as #6 in the ACC, despire our performance vs. UNC:

    We just need to put this one by the curb and move on to the our next season… we have 15 left in this ACC season… beginning with Miami on Wednesday… at home… and the students get in free:


  5. HokieGuru says:

    As Greenberg said, we need to think of these games as separate seasons almost… which is good psychology, I think… put the bad out of your mind and move on.

  6. Annapolis Hokie says:

    Why is Terrell Bell shooting beyond 10 feet. Hello TB – there is a reason why you are always open behind the arc (you’re 21% behind stripe).

    I wish TB and Zo would look at JT Thompson’s film and see how he takes 2 dribbles to the hoop and shoots at the elbow instead of lauching from the three point land.

    Also, it seems like Green is relegated to the Hank THorns clean-up role this year and is not going to be very impactful while MD’s in the game (which is going to be 35 minutes a game). MD is clearly better with the ball in his hands and its too late in the season to change that.

    Bright spot is that Raines is going to be a beast and didn’t seem intimidated by unc’s army of all-american big men. Hopefully he continues to learn and takes away minutes from Davilla because he continues to disappear.

    • Niemo says:

      Annapolis – Actually, he is a good 3-point shooter from the corner (I’m being serious). I’ve watched him shoot there a lot in practice, etc. He can hit that corner three. Not sure if it only applies to the left or the right side corner (he hit from the left both times against unc). If you see him shoot from there, have some confidence it may go in. Anywhere else, I’m with you.


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