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Thud, Strike 2 | Recap | unlv (6-0) 71, VT (4-2) 59 | 76 Classic Championship Game

Boxscore

The Malcolm Delaney Show was not enough to pull out a 76 Classic title and the Hokies lost to unlv 71-59 in the Championship Game in Anaheim, CA. Delaney had 30 points for Tech, more than half of VT’s points. But almost no one else stepped up, causing the Hokies to lose another game against a quality opponent, and in both cases lost by double digits though both games were close. I hate to say it, but the purdue game Wednesday is almost a must win unless the Hokies want to live on the NCAA Tournament bubble again this year.

Malcolm had one of his best games as a Hokie, minus his continued turnover issues and 3 missed free throws. Delaney was automatic from deep, hitting 7/9. That marked his most made 3s in a game. He scored 13 of VT’s first 17 points in the second half and was the only reason VT was in the game. His 6th three-pointer with 12 minutes to go cut the unlv lead to 4 at 51-47.

Then Allen went out with 4 fouls and the rebels keyed on Malcolm. VT didn’t score for 4 minutes and fell down by 10 at 57-47. Tech made a run to cut the lead to 5 but that’s when the game turned. The critical moment of the game came with 6 minutes left. With VT down 5, Jeff Allen drove to the basket, was fouled, and laid the ball in. Instead, the officials called Allen for his 5th foul. This was a terrible call — in the exact same scenario on the other end they called Jeff for the foul and one.

I hate to say it, but it appears the refs have blackballed Jeff. He has been called for at least 4 fouls in 5 of 6 games, and fouled out 3 times. Tonight he was rung up for 2 fouls in the backcourt and 2 offensive fouls that were both awful calls. That said, unlv won this game, but that call with 6 minutes left killed VT’s rally.

Tech has not looked good to date this season and lost for many of those reasons tonight:
– Jeff Allen cannot stay out of foul trouble.
– VT turns the ball over way too much.
– Dorenzo Hudson looks like the Zo of his first 2 seasons. He looks lost right now. He is battling a finger issue on his shooting hand, but he produced nothing tonight. Zo was 0/7 from the field, didn’t score, and had 5 turnovers.
– Tech seems to be shooting free throws with their eyes closed.

Tech has to clean up their turnovers and fast. Yes, unlv has an aggressive full court trap, but when you have a senior backcourt and 4 senior starters, you cannot give up close to 20 turnovers every night as VT is now (VT had 18 tonight – 9 combined by Hudson and Delaney, 4 by Allen). This backcourt has not progressed like Dowdell and Gordon did.  unlv dominated Tech in points off turnovers, with a 24-10 margin.  That used to be the Hokies calling card last year but has been missing from all but the unc-g and cal state northridge games this season.  As a result, VT had 17 fewer shot attempts than unlv.

The Hokies finished the game 9/21 from the foul line. Davila was 1/6 in the first half. Even Malcolm missed 3 free throws, including 2 front ends on 1-and-1s.

Tech is getting almost no production from their bench. After scoring just 6 bench points against osu, VT got just 3 bench points tonight. Tyrone Garland had all 9 bench points in the last two games as Erick Green was again out with the calf injury. Jarell Eddie has to stop shooting threes. He is in a slump similar to Green’s last year.  Eddie has hit just 1/13 three-pointers on the season (but is 7/13 on two-point shots).

Terrell Bell had his best game of the season since the campbell game. He was the only other Hokie to reach double digits, tallying 12 points. He hit 2 threes and the Hokies hit 10/16 threes on the night, which was encouraging.  It marked the most three-pointers Tech has made in a game since February of 2009 when they hit 11 against clemson.  It almost doubled their most makes to date on the season (5).

Chace Stanback had an incredible tourney for unlv. He had 17 tonight and was the MVP of the 76 Classic. unlv shot over 50% against the Hokies, converting several layups and dunks after initially struggling against VT’s 1-3-1 trap. And the rebels hit their open jumpers and out-hustled VT to grab their misses.

I’ll try not to be too critical. It is not time to abandon the bandwagon. This is a good VT team. But they are not playing well right now and are not as good as they were late last year. The Hokies cannot waste anymore time and need to step up Wednesday against a good, but vulnerable purdue team at the Cassell.

First Half Notes:
The first half was a series of runs with unlv enjoying the most. Tech jumped out to a 10-2 run thanks to 5 quick points by Terrell Bell and a 3 by Delaney.

The rebels quickly got back even and the game was tied at 20. Then unlv went on an 11-1 streak to lead 31-21. At that point VT had 9 turnovers, including 3 by Delaney and 2 by Hudson, two senior guards. VT really struggled with unlv’s full court trap. This is surprising considering you have so many seniors on the floor, and the Hokies used to shred clemson’s press. unlv did not have a single turnover until 13 minutes in the game.

After Tech fell down 10, they went to the 1-3-1 half court trap that helped the Hokies beat okie state. VT finally started creating turnovers and jumped on a 9-0 run to cut the rebel lead to 1 at 31-30.

But 4 missed free throws in the closing minutes doomed the Hokies and they trailed 37-30 at the break. VT was a pathetic 4/13 from the foul line in the first half, including 1/6 by Davila.

Jeff Allen picked up his typical 2 fouls in less than 10 minutes, but did have 7 points. Both fouls were committed in the backcourt (read: dumb fouls).

Delaney had 12 at the break including 3 threes. Bell, who had struggled on offense since the opener, had 8 on 3 threes and a jumper. Tech hit 6 three-pointers in the first half, but poor foul shooting and unlv’s 14 points off turnovers put VT in a hole.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1222 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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  • Les

    I thought Hudson had a foot or ankle problem. His ball-handling has regressed and is no longer adequate for the 2 guard position. It’s neither sufficient to help alleviate pressure by the defense or to create shot opportunities.

    I thought the spacing was sometimes working in favor of their trapping. Allen liked to get the ball out away from the basket and was drawing the attention of the perimeter defenders who caused turnovers.

  • Chris Nickerson

    Other than Delaney and maybe Bell we looked like a bunch of freshman against UNLV, offensively and defensively. Between Delaney, Hudson and Bell we should have handled their press a lot better than that. How many dunks did they get when multiple people went after the ball and no one rotated? How many dunks or easy shots did we get? Imagine what the game would have been like if we had shot our normal 3-point %? I think Allen is getting tough calls but most of the time he seems totally unaware of his defender. He makes up his mind where he is going as soon as he gets the ball and can’t seem to adjust if someone ends up standing between him and the basket. On one of his charges tonight he could have shot a short bank shot instead of leaning into his defender and creating contact. If you look at Jeff’s stats he is basically the same player he was as a freshman. Great freshman with promise, disappointing senior. How can someone not get any better in 3 years? This team has heart and plays hard but hasn’t developed the b-ball saavy you hope for in a team with this much experience. But, in most years, even when we have played poorly prior to ACC play, we have stepped it up for the conference schedule. So, I am still hopeful. Go Hokies!

  • King

    This game boiled down to missed free throws & turnovers. Disappointed by our inability to break the press. Too much crowding & poor job quickly identifying the double team & finding the open teammate. We sent Manny long once but he couldn’t hold on to the ball, I thought we should’ve employed that strategy more. We did a great job breaking Clemson’s press last year so I don’t understand why it was so difficult yesterday. The charge call on Allen late was criminal & proved to be the turning point in the game. I nearly lost my voice booing at that ref. Lastly, we really really REALLY miss JT’s energy and, more importantly, emotion off the bench. I told him as much, leaving the game with under a minute. This team doesn’t look like a tournament team or even a bubble team at this point.

  • http://www.heyhokie.com Goodraisin

    I’m with Chris Nickerson. The most disappointing thing about this team as a whole is that they haven’t progressed much since their freshman season. They are basically the exact same players. I’m trying not to take a doom and gloom mentality, but at some point this team will have to win a big game if they want to make the NCAA tournament. They basically have 2 more shots, and both of those are at home. I guess that’s the only saving grace right now… we have really only played one home game out of six total games played.

  • hokiegrad

    if you’re talking about the call I’m thinking about, Chris, then I have to disagree. Seemed to me that he did adjust and avoided any serious contact, but the refs blew the whistle anyway on the acting job. That’s the kind of contact you let go (as they did most of the night). His last 3 fouls were all bad calls. He was in perfect position to take the charge when they whistled him for #3. He hardly touched the guy on #4 (see above). And the defender clearly had not established position when they gave him #5. Those calls go differently and that’s a significant point swing, plus Allen stays on the floor. Not saying we necessarily win, but no doubt it makes the final score a lot closer.

    We really missed Green last night. I think he would have gotten significant minutes in place of Hudson the way things were going. Hudson’s just not right. Hopefully they’re both better for Wednesday.

  • Mr.Obvious

    Did you just say we missed Green? No. No. No. We did not miss Green.

    • Niemo

      Ha, to you, Mr. Obvious. Yeah, I’m kind of torn. I see what hokiegrad was saying – we could have used Green in terms of breaking the press. But Erick is not great at advancing the ball, pulling up his dribble way too far from the hoop. That said, what we needed yesterday was everyone to advance the ball up via the pass. Could Green have helped with that? Maybe. And he probably could have caught the ball, which some guys were struggling with. But I’d say Garland gave us about as much as we could have expected from Green, though as hokiegrad said, Green could have gone to the 1, Delaney to the 2, and Hudson get a break just to collect himself.

  • ryan

    Gotta agree with the assessment here–the two areas a senior led squad is not supposed to struggle in are turnovers and free throws and yet that’s exactly what did them in.

    Also wanted to add…I know the vogue description of Tech’s style during the past week on ESPN is “ugly” but I think this is just a bull[crap] way of saying that they really have a pathetic, unorganized and one dimensional offense. Either Delaney has a horrible shooting night and the whole team looks like [crap] or he has a great night and the offense, team wise, is still [crap].

    Pay attention to tech’s set offense Wednesday. There’s no movement without the ball, no chemistry, nothin. They just pass the ball around without purpose until they take some bull[crap] low percentage shot with 1 second left on the shotclock or they turn the damn ball over.

    Really sad, hopefully the frosh comin in next year will actually improve during their time at VT.

  • VTTraveler

    Boise State, James Madison, Seasons far from over. They play better when expectations are low. Hopefully Raines rounds into shape, Green gets healthy and Zo gets back on track. We will be fine!

    • Niemo

      Traveler – I agree, I think this is a very good team, just aren’t showing it yet. The good news is Tech gets another shot at a big win this Wednesday, and it is home cookin’ (finally). Hopefully the Cassell will be packed and the crowd as loud as usual to juice up the guys. A win Wednesday will really erase the sting of last night and give VT two quality (and one huge) wins.

  • jtvthokie

    Come now ryan…. Complaining that Tech’s offense just passes the ball around without purpose. Sometimes they just stand still and watch Malcolm dribble. I guess that would be our “second dimension”.
    It is clear that Seth can teach emotion, defense, and hard work. It is even clearer that he cannot teach offense. While he runs a variety of sets, and they sometimes grasp some basic offensive concepts, they do not have several sets that they execute well. They are very poorly coached on the offensive end. They have 1 offensive threat (one and a half if you count Allen) – and the lack of offensive sophistication is thus further magnified.

  • http://www.heyhokie.com Goodraisin

    Niemo et all, do you think Greenberg will try to install the motion offense with next season’s squad? I’m thinking he’s going to try it. Seth tried to install it last season, but the players just couldn’t get it, so he reverted back. But next season, he’s starting out with four freshmen who are easier to mold than juniors who are used to playing a certain way already. The only thing that makes me a little nervous is that I’ve heard for a motion/princeton offense to truly function, you need to have a center who passes well and makes smart decisions with the ball because he ends up touching the ball a lot. I’m not sure Davila or Raines fit that mold.

    • Niemo

      It would be worth trying, and better to have growing pains when these guys are young. Let’s face it, we are becoming a program that reloads every 4 years. We have been competitive with our young guys in the ACC in both cycles, but missed out on the NCAAs. Then, we build up over time to be a very good team.

      I hope we do try to build a foundation next year early, such as having a functional offense, that will improve over the years, even if it means we have another ‘marshall’ loss or ‘western michigan’ loss or games like that. That way, by the time we hit the ACC slate, maybe we have an offense that can score against good teams. And what about more up tempo style? I’ve heard rumors about why that doesn’t happen more (and it isn’t Seth), but I have no real idea. I think we’ll have great athletes next year, especially with JT back, and should press more, trap like we are now, and then push the ball.

      I’m also not sold on Seth as an offensive coach. He just doesn’t seem to be able to find a style that works with his team, and doesn’t seem to develop big men. Did Collins get any better over his four years? No. Allen? Nope. Maybe it isn’t Seth. Or maybe with our new assistants – and we do have a largely new staff and therefore some growing with that – we’ll see improvements. And I’ll also say I wouldn’t trade Seth for almost anyone. He has raised us to great heights and made us relevant, coaches great D, I like his enthusiasm, and he recruits better than our football staff (which is sad). I just want an offense – it is bad enough having to deal with Stiney all fall.

  • H-SCokie

    In response to Allen’s lack of development, what pains me the most, is viewing his development with that of Deron Washington’s. Seth had to have something to do with that, right?

    I remember thinking of him as a freshman that he didn’t even belong in the A10 much less the ACC. Well the rest is history as he developed into the most improved player ever to play for VT, hit the biggest shot in the last 10 years of VT basketball, and got DRAFTED. I put Jeff Allen’s development (or lack thereof) on him squarely.

    With that said, I’m about ready to just give up on this current group of guys and frankly am ready to turn the page. They play with no discipline and lose focus in all games, which is why every freaking game is a dog fight. Where is their 2006 BC game, where they just destroyed a good team? Hmmm, maybe Clemson in the Cassell a couple of years ago (oh that’s right they gave up a 30 point lead and lost AT HOME).

    I hope I’m wrong about these guys and they turn it around, but they are running out of time.

    • Niemo

      H-SCokie – sorry, just trying to clarify – you put Allen’s lack of development on Allen? Or Seth? Just wondering.

  • H-SCokie

    I put it on Jeff. I think he plays hard but not smart and disciplined. Frankly most of what I have seen from him over the years, points to his not being coachable. He’s got an attitude on the court with the refs (glaring at refs, ref bump, getting T’s), can’t keep his emotions in check (wild elbows, flipping off fans) and always plays the victim. If he’d put half that energy into just playing ball, he would have been one of the best to ever play for Tech.

    • Niemo

      I’m not sure about Jeff but I can appreciate your points. I also don’t think our staff is good at developing bigs as I’ve already said. And how come all these other schools but us have these goons inside? I guess Raines will be a goon when he can play more.

  • VTTraveler

    Wow you guys are rough on Jeff. Talk about keeping emotions in check. I honestly think that Jeff has shown some maturity this year. Based on his past exploits he would have bumbed a referee by now, or at the very least gotten a tech for saying something. That technical foul he got at Kansas State was a result of a new rule that they implemented. They Isolated that play on television and made it look far worse than it really was. There was a lot of contact by the Wally Judge kid prior to the elbow he tried to run through Jeff to get that rebound. I played college ball the elbow was always used to create space, we just didn’t have all those cameras on us. I am by no means a Jeff Allen apologist, cut him a little slack. By the way there are no good big man coaches in college basketball anywhere. It is all about the guards. You couldn’t name one I bet you. Good bigs come in raw and leave raw. Oden, Ed Davis, Hansbrough, Henson, Favors, I could go on.

    • Niemo

      Is John Thompson still coaching? Just kidding – but he was a great developer of bigs. Another thing I’m surprised at is our guys don’t seem to get a lot “stronger”. Maybe their body types can’t hold it on their frame (clearly Deron couldn’t), but I’d like to see our bigs beef up. I get tired of teams like ole miss and georgia pushing us around inside. Again, I think if we had Raines at 100%, he’d give us that. But I’d like at least two of those. Not even worried that much about talent, just a decent athlete that can throw some weight around in the paint and rebound. Although the ACC is a sexy league and play pretty basketball, so maybe that doesn’t fit, but miami sure used to load up on those guys.

  • Les

    Coleman Collins looked like he was injured sometime during his last two years. The mobility and agility he displayed his sophomore year were completely gone. I don’t know if it was a knee problem but he wasn’t heavily taped up during his first two years and he appeared to be lighter.

    Allen is just not able to hold off bigger bodies at his position and relies on a lot of extracurricular activities to deal with the pushing and the contact which leaves him open to picking up fouls. Likewise, his demeanor and fundamentals makes him a liability in setting up screens, one of the chief responsibilities for his position.

    The lack of effective screening and associated off-ball motion is one of the most glaring deficiencies in the offense. The other thing hurting the screening is that the big men on Tech can’t really exploit the screens since they’re either too small (Allen), have bad hands (Davilla and Diekete), and can’t shoot from the outside (all of them). JT Thompson is the only frontcourt player who could pose a dual threat in the frontcourt off of the screen since he could receive the dump-off pass or he could dribble it in himself.

  • jtvthokie

    I didn’t mean to imply in my last comment that I want to get rid of Seth. He just needs an assistant that is in charge of offense and they need to dedicate appropriate practice time to defined sets and options off those sets. At least one of those sets should be a “motion” offense (not necessarily a Princeton offense – I think you’re asking a bit much there). Any group of basketball players can learn motion offenses in a month. I’ve taught them to 7th graders. Really.
    Perhaps Seth could hold an interview for offensive coaches Friday at 2pm? Maybe Stiney could interview – solving two problems at once?

    And finally, I have to comment on Jeff Allen. While I’m not a hater, I have in the last several years (normally after a beer or two) referring to Jeff as the “dumbest basketball player ever.” While that is clearly over the top, I do agree with everything H-SCokie said. Watch him. Miss a shot? he’ll try to steal the ball 90 feet from the basket to get it back. Ball coming by him in the open court? He’ll try to swipe it from behind. Have a foul called on him? He’ll glare and complain to the ref. Never smiles, never laughs it off. Honestly, half of the kids in HIGH SCHOOL have more maturity than him. I think he works hard. I think he cares. I think he has incredible talent. It is a combination of his “basketball smarts” and “emotional intelligence” that bring him down. He belongs in a greed tragedy.

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