The Hokies showed a lot of character this afternoon crawling back from a 19 point deficit in the second half to challenge the canes in the final minutes, but only to come up short 82-75. Behind the play of some tenacious pressure defense, Tech had 7 steals and forced 11 turnovers in the second half to trim the double-digit miami lead to single digits. With just over 30 seconds remaining and miami leading 75-70, the canes missed a front end of a 1-and-1. The Hokies rebounded with a chance to make it a one possession game. Malcolm Delaney drove the ball down the lane only to miss a wild, off-balance shot. That was the Hokies last chance to steal a victory as the canes went on to make their free throws and stretch the lead beyond the Hokies reach.
It was a tale of two halves for the Hokies on defense. Tech came into the game leading the conference in scoring defense, and the Hokies showed that in the second half. In addition to the opportunity in the final 30 seconds, Tech had several other prime chances earlier in the second half to cut the lead to less than 5 points, but just couldn’t convert on offense.
Dorenzo Hudson led the Hokies with 22 points on 8 of 14 shooting. Jeff Allen pitched in 19 and J.T. Thompson scored 14. Malcolm Delaney had a bit of an off-night on offense today, going 0 for 5 from three point lead and scoring 16 total, which is about 4 points under his average. It is the second straight game that Malcolm has not made a three-pointer.
After the Hokies got out to a 4-0 start, the canes outscored Tech by 21 points to take a 47-30 lead at the half. The canes shot 70% from the field in the first half, including 5 of 8 from three point territory. The first half today was the exact opposite of the first half in the first meeting between these two teams in Blacksburg. The Hokies shot lights out in the first half of the game in Blacksburg. Not this time around. Tech shot 38% from the field in the first half, including 2 of 9 from the three point line. miami made the Hokies look pitiful on defense as Tech gave up the most points in the first half all season. miami spread things around with 11 assists and 10 players scoring. Only Delaney, Allen, and Hudson scored for the Hokies in the first half.
As the first half was winding down with the Hokies trailing by 8 to 10 points, you hoped Tech could repeat the late half spurts that they put together in Charlottesville on Thursday. Unfortunately, the opposite happened. Dorenzo Hudson made two critical fouls on three-pointers that helped miami stretch their lead eventually to 17. Another key factor in the first half was Malcolm Delaney picking up 2 fouls in the first nine minutes of the game.The Hokies did hang tough with him out of the lineup, but you don’t know what could have happened if Malcolm had played his normal minutes in the first half. He did eventually return before the end of the half.
All in all, you have to be happy with a split on the road this week and I’d rather have the win at uva than at miami. With unc and clemson coming up at home this week, I’d be happy with another 1-1 week.