Boxscore – Next Game: Friday at 2:30 PM EST vs oklahoma state or depaul
The Hokies advanced to the semi-finals of the 76 Classic with a somewhat easy win over the matadors of cal state northridge in Anaheim, CA on Hokie Day (Happy Hokie Day!). Tech played in the coveted 11 AM local time slot (insert sarcasm). VT jumped out to a 20 point lead, 38-18, at the half behind 12 first half points from Malcolm Delaney, 10 from Jeff Allen, and 8 from Dorenzo Hudson. For you non-math majors, that’s 30 of Tech’s 38 first half points.
After forcing unc-g-spot into 29 turnovers Sunday, the Hokies caused 14 matador turnovers in the first 14 minutes of the game (ole!) and 25 for the contest. Tech used these turnovers to jump out to a 7-0 lead. After the matadors cut it to 10-7, a 10-0 run put VT up 20-7. cal state northridge scored the next 3 points but another 9-0 run had Tech up 29-10 and the game was all but over with that 19-3 stretch.
The Hokies shot 53% from the floor, marking their second straight game over 50% after struggling from the field in their first two games. Four of Tech’s five starters shot over 50% from the field for game (Allen 4/7, Delaney 6/11, Hudson 8/15, and Davila 5/6). This was especially great to see from Davila who was just 3/6 from the field on the season coming into this game. He showed a couple of great moves away from his hook shot (which has been struggling), turning towards the baseline instead and converting easy layups.
Jeff Allen picked up his 30th career double-double, and second of the season, with his 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Jarell Eddie had his third solid game of the season. The freshman was 3/5 from the field. Dude needs to work on moving his game back a foot though. He is great hitting jumpers from the high school three-point line and in, but struggles from behind the college arc. Eddie is 7/11 on two-pointers on the season, most of which are jumpers, but just 1/8 on threes.
And while I wouldn’t say this was that good, it was nice to see the Hokies “only” commit 16 turnovers. Malcolm Delaney, who had 18 turnovers in the last two games, had 7 assists and “just” 5 turnovers today. He also had a great pass inside to Davila for an easy finish. VT had 21 assists to just 9 for csnu.
Sophomore guard Erick Green injured his right calf early in the first half after a dunk and did not return. At first it looked very severe, possibly a knee, but they started icing his calf. His return on Friday or Sunday is not known at this time. While normally this might not be a huge deal, in a tournament it is. Tech has to play 80 minutes of game action in 50.5 hours and could use the depth. At this point, VT doesn’t have depth inside or out.
The entire second half was ugly if you were a Hokie fan. In the first half, VT was the bull and the matadors were, well, the matadors, ducking out of the way as VT stole ball after ball and ball. But in the second half it was the matadors who grabbed the bull by the horns and were seeing red.
After VT went up 42-20 early in the second half, csnu used runs of 7-0 to cut it to 15 at 42-27, and after VT went back up 50-32, the matadors scored 8 straight to cut the lead to 10 with 10 minutes to play. Tech used an 8-3 streak to get back up 15 and while cal state northridge got back within 10 late, they never cut the lead to single digits.
cal state northridge didn’t grab their first offensive rebound until 2/3 of the first half was over, but in the second half they dominated the glass. Yes, a small, undersized team worked the Hokies on the boards. csnu ended up with 11 offensive rebounds to just 6 for VT (csnu grabbed 31% of their misses while VT got just 22%). The reason? Jeff Allen. After committing just one foul in the first 20 minutes (and that was on a questionable technical foul for hanging on the rim), Allen quickly racked up two more fouls in the second half and sat. That’s when the matadors started grabbing rebounds at will. Then Jeff came back in and picked up his fourth. Repeat above. Then the Big Donut came in and got his fifth foul on a loose ball that he had position on (read: it was a bad call). That was it for Jeff. Allen did not score in the second half after tallying 10 in the first half. He now has 17 fouls and 2 foul outs through four games. To be fair, Jeff’s fouls were smarter fouls today – aggressive fouls where a guy either had an easy layup, or going after a 50/50 ball.
Delaney had just 5 points in the second half after scoring 12 in the first. This wasn’t because he was missing shots, though, he just wasn’t finding his shots. cal state northridge mixed man, zone, and a full court press to keep the Hokies and Delaney off guard. He didn’t score in the first 14+ minutes of the second half (despite playing the entire game), and had 2 late free throws in garbage time. He has to find ways to score or VT will struggle offensively.
Terrell Bell’s shooting woes continued. He was 0/4 from the field and scored just 2 points. After scoring a career high 17 in the opener, he has made just one shot in the last three contests. VT needs him to find ways to score, either hitting his three from the corner (missed an open look today), or getting points in transition. This is perplexing right now.
On defense, Tech just didn’t have the same effort in the second half. They were lazy getting out on screens and the matadors hit 5 threes in the second half after just one in the first. Thankfully, csnu was just 16/28 (57%) on free throws.
VT themselves were just 4/14 on threes, and Delaney hit 3 of those. Tech has shot under 30% from deep in all four games now. I think VT needs to find Manny Atkins more time – he can hit open looks and did drain a three today.
The Hokies need to figure out how to survive when Jeff Allen is not in the game. They are too tentative, small, and outworked when he is not in inside. And VT does seem to tire in second halves right now. But, when all is said and done, VT did win this game and do get a shot at a quality win against oklahoma state* tomorrow (*assuming okie state beats depaul today).