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.