Phewwwwwww! The Hokies advanced to the 76 Classic Championship Game (Sunday night at 9 PM on ESPN2 against either murray state or unlv) thanks to a great coaching move by Seth Greenberg and fantastic play at a crucial stretch by a freshman (and not the one you think). Freshman guard Tyrone Garland, who was only playing because of Erick Green’s injury really stepped up late with two layups when the Hokies couldn’t score to save their lives and also caused a critical turnover. Then, with the game tied and 2 minutes to go, Head Coach Seth Greenberg switched to a 1-3-1 zone half court press that stymied osu. Seth earned this win today.
Tech, who looked as coordinated on offense as a monkey humping a football for most of the game, trailed 45-38 to oklahoma state with 6 minutes to go. After that point, the Hokies went on a 16-3 run to go up 54-48 with 16 seconds to go and clinched the win. It wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it. This is a huge win for Tech because it is against a quality oklahoma state program that made the NCAA Tournament last year. While the cowboys aren’t as good as they were last year, this should still look solid on VT’s resume come March.
On defense, Tech played a fantastic game. They held okie state to 29% shooting from the floor and just 3/13 from three-point range. Keiton Page, their second leading scorer and best shooter, did not make a field goal and finished with just 2 points. And even though the cowboys star, big man Marshall Moses, had 14 points, VT did do a good job on him for the most part and that was under his average (he had 27 against depaul). The issue for Tech was they allowed Moses 6 offensive rebounds that led to several of his points.
Tech’s 1-3-1 zone, and at times the 2-3 zone, have really looked great for VT this season. Expect to see more and more of it, especially if Tech continues to battle foul trouble. With the Hokies’ length on defense, it creates a nightmare in terms of passing lanes for the opponent. And Delaney plays at the bottom, running along the baseline looking for passes to intercept or jumping out on three-point shooters.
The cowboys did get 16 offensive rebounds, but when you miss 42 field goals and 3 one-and-ones, you have to expect to give up some offensive boards. Tech just has to get tougher inside, they truly miss JT Thompson’s intensity. Having Cadarian Raines back will help if he can avoid foul trouble (he had 4 fouls in 8 minutes of action).
Speaking of foul trouble, Jeff Allen battled that again today. He had 2 fouls by the 11 minute mark of the first half and sat the rest of the way, then picked up his 4th foul with 11 minutes to go in the 2nd. Both times he went to the bench coincided with Tech slumps offensively. VT actually did a great job on defense even with him out of the game today, but clearly miss him on offense. Jeff Allen had 11 points, but was just 4/13 from the field.
Delaney led Tech with a very quiet 16 points. He seemed invisible on offense at times and 4 of those points were when osu was fouling at the end. He also had 5 turnovers, marking the fourth straight game he’s had at least 5 turnovers (he averaged 3 per game last year).
- Cadarian Raines made his debut. This is huge for the Hokies who need all the big bodies they can get inside.
- Tyrone Garland, playing in place of the injured Erick Green who was in street clothes with a right calf injury, gained confidence as the game went on. He created a key turnover with 4 minutes to go and hit two clutch layups to get the Hokies back in the game. Garland had 6 total points, the only bench points VT got (osu had 29 bench points).
- Terrell Bell hit 2 three-pointers. He had hit just 1 field goal in the previous three games, but hit his open looks. Still, VT needs more than 2 makes from him with how challenged offensively they are.
- Victor Davila had a great game. He was 3/4 from the field and the line. Victor is now 8/10 from the field in the tournament and has 19 total points after just 14 total points in the first 3 games. His post moves are back! Yesterday it was spinning baseline, today it was back to his money baby hook shot.
Offensive Smelling Offense:
- VT did not hit a FG in the final 8:30 of the first half and scored just 2 points in that span.
- Tech hit just 2 FGs in the first 11:55 of the second half. In other words, the Hokies made just 2 FGs in more than 20 minutes of action!
- The Hokies went scoreless for more than 7 minutes in the first half, and more than 5:30 in the second half.
- Tech started just 10/19 from the foul line. Delaney missed the front end of a one-and-one and Dorenzo Hudson started 1/5 from the line. But VT hit 10 of their final 12 FTs to help them steal this win, including 2 clutch FTs by Davila to put VT ahead and Delaney hit 4 clinchers at the end.
- VT hit just 35% of their shots and were 2/14 on three-pointers. Tech has shot under 30% from behind the arc in all 5 games, and this snapped their 2 game streak of shooting over 50% from the field.
- Tech looks like the VT of past years that has no idea how to run a break, shooting pull-up jumpers in 2-on-1 situations (Delaney) or just fumbling the ball away (Garland, Hudson).
Of note: both teams were called for throwing elbows. okie state big man Matt Pilgrim was tossed in the 2nd half for throwing 2 elbows at Terrell Bell. This might have actually been bad for the Hokies – he was 0/7 from the field including about 5 uncontested layups. But it did impact osu when starter Darrell Williams fouled out with 3 minutes to go and they had no depth inside. Victor Davila was called for throwing an elbow under the basket, but this was just and intentional foul, not a flagrant, and he stayed in. Both Davila and Allen survived the final 6 minutes of the game with 4 fouls, thanks in large part to the zone.
Also, Dorenzo Hudson is really battling things. He has tape on his middle finger on his shooting hand and it appears to be affecting him. He is just 2/10 on threes on the season. Zo is a tough kid who has played through injuries the last two years, but any time you have an issue with your shooting hand it will bother you. Hudson lost the ball several times going up for shots or driving the baseline. I also think he was gassed at the end of the game and that led to his 2/6 free throw shooting, including an airball.
FIRST HALF NOTES (osu 29, VT 26):
The game could not have started much worse for the Hokies. Tech gave up an offensive rebound on their first defensive possession to the cowboys’ star, Marshall Moses, and he quickly put in the rebound and got fouled by Jeff Allen. After that, the Hokies went on a 7-0 run to lead 7-2. And Allen did manage to survive until the 11 minute mark of the first half before committing his second foul. Up until that point, Allen had looked great on the offensive end, showing a fantastic array of spin moves in the post and collecting 6 points.
Normally, Tech struggles when Allen goes out. But in the first half VT stepped up. After okie state made the 2 foul shots associated with Allen’s second foul and tie the game at 18, the Hokies held them scoreless for the next 5 minutes and took a 24-18 lead.
But that’s when Tech’s offense went absolutely flaccid. VT went over 7 minutes without scoring from the 8:32 mark until the 1:20 mark, and the Hokies did not hit a field goal in the final 8:32 of the half and made just one in the final 10 minutes. Allen did not play any of that time and Delaney became invisible. He had just one shot attempt in the final 10 minutes. If you are the star, you have to step up when another star, Allen, goes out. Delaney also picked up his third foul with 30 seconds to go in the half.
Tech finished the half shooting just 36% after a hot start, 1/8 on threes, and with 8 turnovers. VT was 0/11 in the final 8 minutes with 6 turnovers. The Hokies really struggled with oklahoma state’s 1-3-1 three-quarters court trap. You have to hit jumpers against a zone, and VT cannot and has not all season. What stings more is osu had 6 team fouls with 14 minutes to go in the half, but Tech got to the foul line just twice after that.
Thankfully, the cowboys were awful from the foul line. They were 9/14, but missed 3 front ends of one-and-ones.
Cadarian Raines made his season debut in the first half, showing he is at least partially back from his foot issues. He committed 3 fouls though in just over 2 minutes and went back to the bench.
Tyrone Garland tallied the first points of his Hokie career, hitting two free throws late in the first half to end their dry spell.