13:23. It was with 13:23 to go in the game that one play, one call changed the course of the rest of the contest. With the Hokies leading 40-38, Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Jacob Pullen drove the lane towards Jeff Allen. Both had three fouls. Allen set in the paint, Pullen jumped right into him, and the foul was called on… Allen. Four fouls. To the bench. 8-0 kansas state run ensued. No, the refs did not cost Tech the game, but that one call exposed how soft the Hokies are inside without Allen. The wildcats subsequently started dominating the glass and the game. Tech’s energy level dropped, too, on the defensive end and they stopped getting stops. And when Seth got T’ed up with just over five minutes to go and ksu up 10 after the refs again refused to call a foul on Pullen, the game was over, and Tech had missed a chance to make an early statement. VT needs a big out of conference victory to help build a NCAA Tournament resume. Opportunity #1 was missed today. Final score: ksu 73 (2-0), VT 57 (1-1). Can you say pressure in the purdue game?
The name of the game was fouls. There were more whistles in this game than a football game. Tech was called for 23 fouls (including two technicals and a flagrant foul for a flying elbow on Jeff Allen) for the game and had to deal with trouble in that category from start to finish. kansas state was in the bonus in both halves before the second media timeout. Tech had two guys with four fouls before the first media timeout of the second half (Bell and Davila), and another one by the 13-minute mark (Allen).
Despite all the foul difficulties, the Hokies did take a four point lead 38-34 with approximately six minutes gone in the second half. But the Hokies seemed to wear out as the rest of the game went on and the foul on Allen took the air out of them.
VT played a 2-3 zone for much of the game to protect themselves from further whistles (didn’t help much). It did slow the pace of the game. The game was much like a prize fight for the first 38 minutes as neither team led by more than seven (23-16 kansas state in the first half). Much of that time the game was a one possession match. Heck, a 4-0 run was an accomplishment in this game as both teams looked stuck in quicksand on offense.
The offense began and ended with Malcolm Delaney. The senior had 22 points. He did a lot of his work from the line but did hit a couple of big threes. When he did share the ball on offense, no one else could hit open looks. Tech just absolutely struggled to find easy buckets and had just four fast break points (I think they were on consecutive possessions in the second half). They had to work so hard for everything they got, which wasn’t much. Tech shot under 35% from the field for the game! They were 19/55, 5/17 on threes, and 14/21 from the line.
The Hokies continue to struggle with turnovers, notching 17 tonight. They have 36 turnovers after two games on a team with four seniors and a junior starting. That is not acceptable and must get cleaned up fast. Tech averaged barely over 12 per game last year. Also, Tech created just nine points off turnovers and they lost this battle 14-9. Winning points off turnovers was their trademark last year.
Tech did a great job on the glass in the first half, giving up just three offensive rebounds. But that fell apart in the second half after Allen picked up #4. The cats snagged 12 offensive rebounds in the final 20 and beat VT 17-11 in second chance points.
Terrell Bell, who had a career high 17 in the opener against campbell, did not score in the game before fouling out. He had just one shot attempt. Bell did have three solid blocks.
Dorenzo Hudson struggled from the field. He could not hit his jumpers for the most part tonight and missed a few chippies inside. Zo finished with 12 but he was just 5/13 from the field. He does not look like the guy that was Tech’s best player at the end of the year last year, but it has only been two games.
Jeff Allen did play very hard tonight. He really laid it all on the line all game, but battled foul trouble like almost every other Hokie. Jeff scored just eight points, but he gave max effort, quieting some of his critics on that. He fouled out in garbage time.
Victor Davila had just five points. He has attempted only four shots on the season after not scoring in the opener and is just 3/9 from the line.
The bright spot? Freshman Jarell Eddie. This kid is a player and has had two outstanding games now off the bench, and had to play out of position a lot today at the 4 instead of his natural wing spot. He hit 3/7 from the floor, led the Hokies with 7 rebounds, and had 3 blocks. Eddie has zero fear shooting and looks like he’ll give the Hokies another outside threat (he hit just 1/4 from deep but also hit a long jumper). Kid knows how to score and is not intimidated on the floor. Expect him to be VT’s top bench player from here out, though I don’t think he’ll move into the starting lineup until next year.
kansas state shot right at 40% for the game, also struggled on threes hitting just 30% (though they hit more big ones), and were just 50% from the line (14/28). In other words, it could have been worse.
The first half of this game set basketball back 10 years. Chew on some of these numbers:
- Both teams were shooting under 40% from the field.
- They combined to go 4/19 on three-pointers.
- kansas state was 3/11 from the foul line. While VT was better at 10/15, they also missed two front ends of one-and-ones.
- The teams combined for 26 first half fouls.
- Ten players had two or more fouls, including four guys with three fouls.
Malcolm Delaney paced the Hokies with 14 points. He was 8/9 from the line (typical Delaney). Jeff Allen had six and no one else had more than four for Tech. Tech also did a solid job on the glass against the bigger wildcats, holding ksu to just three offensive rebounds.
Jacob Pullen had three fouls in just two minutes of play in the first stanza and sat the bench. No wildcat had more than six points. Yet the wildcats managed to lead most of the first half and led 30-29 at the break.
* Please note my stats did not come from ESPN so they may not mesh with some of the stats in the linked boxscore. Also, Knight is an idiot (Knight and Musberger did the game). Bobby talked about how much depth VT has inside. Huh? Not with the injuries, especially considering two of the three guys injured are out for the year.