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Recap | gt (3-3, 10-9) 72, VT (3-3, 13-6) 57 | 01.25.11


After a great offensive first half, the Hokies faded in the second half and fell to a lousy georgia tech team in front of a scattering of family, friends, and nerds at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta (the arena, which seats 9,100, had maybe 5,000 people there).  The jackets (3-3) won 72-57 over the Hokies (3-3).  While gt is just 10-9 on the season, they are 8-2 at home and 3-0 in ACC play at the Thriller Dome.  Luckily, the Hokies get a shot at gt in the Cassell.  gt is 0-6 on the road this year and 1-18 in ACC road games the last three seasons.

Virginia Tech led 39-36 at the break as both teams were red hot from the floor.  Both teams shot over 50% from the floor in the first half.  The second half was a different story.  The game was close until late – VT trailed 62-57 with 2:30 to go, before the jackets closed the game on a 10-0 run.  The Hokies were outscored 36-18 in the second half.  It was Tech’s worst second half of the season (previous low for points was 24).

The Hokies’ offense, which looked great in the first half, was a dud in the second.  VT scored just 1 point in a 6-minute stretch of the second half and trailed 49-47 at the halfway point of the second half.  They scored just 2 points in the final six minutes of the game.  Tech hit just 6/25 (24%) in the second half and committed 10 turnovers.  Hard to win like that.

This game really exposed Tech’s weaknesses.  The Hokies, playing their third game in six days, really had to work hard on offense and defense against the up-tempo jackets who play very aggressive defense.  It appeared VT, who basically played just six guys tonight (Jarell Eddie played just one minute), ran out of gas against the physical georgia tech team.

Brian Oliver is a zone killer.  He had 32 against syracuse earlier this year, and exploded for 28 points on 11/18 shooting against the Hokies.  And they were wide open looks time after time.  Oliver either hit uncontested jumpers from the free throw line in the weak spot of the zone, or hit 3-pointers from the right corner.

Iman Shumpert, the jackets leader in scoring, assists, rebounds, and steals, had a huge night.  He secured georgia tech’s first triple double since 1989 with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists.  He added 7 steals for good measure and also held Malcolm Delaney to just 8 points.

Give the yellow jackets and Paul Hewitt credit.  I give Hewitt crap for being the second worst coach in the ACC, and he is, but he exploited the Hokies 2-3 zone tonight.  In fact, he shredded it.  The jackets fed the ball to the free throw line and either hit wide open jumpers there, or fed it down low, or kicked it to the perimeter for a 3-pointer.  The jackets also got easy looks when VT went to their 1-3-1 zone trap.  Tech had no answer on defense all night and didn’t try to make many adjustments.  They started collapsing on the man at the free throw line when he got the ball in the second half at times, but that just left Oliver open in the corner.

The jackets also completely took the Hokies guards out of the game.  In the final 29 minutes of action, Delaney and Green combined to score just 6 points!  They had 17 combined overall for the game, about half their average over the last 10 games.

The Hokies dominated play in the paint early.  Jeff Allen had 12 points at the break and Victor Davila had 10.  But thanks to a double technical which game Allen his fourth foul with 10:34 left, the Hokies missed their best player of the night.  Jeff finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but the offense went completely stale with him our.  Davila tallied just 3 points in the second half and finished with 13.

The jackets also did a much better job on the glass in the second half.  They finished with 9 second half offensive rebounds, after getting just 4 in the first half.  gt extended many possessions that should have been stops.  The wildest was a 30 second stretch with 14:45 to go where the Hokies couldn’t get a rebound and turned it over twice in the backcourt, giving gt four chances to score.

Erick Green’s double digit point streak came to an end at 10, and it is hard to believe that happened.  Green had 9 points in the first 7:11 of the game, but did not score in the final 32 minutes.  Erick’s rifle’s sights were off tonight – he missed his final 12 shots and finished 3/15 from the floor.  Not a good night for the reigning ACC Player of the Week.  He also briefly left with a hip or tailbone injury.

Tech’s shooting was horrendous in the second half, but horrible from deep the whole game.  The Hokies hit just 1/11 from 3-point range, with Terrell Bell having the lone long ball to tie the game at 52.  He had 7 in the game.

Another issue was turnovers.  At the half, VT had 8 to 7 for gt.  But the Hokies committed 10 in the second half to just 4 by the jackets.  Again, I think this had to do with tired legs.   The jackets had 12 steals for the game.  They led the league coming in with almost 10 per game.  Delaney was a turnover machine at the end of the game.  He had 8 turnovers and looked like the Malcolm of earlier in the season in the second half.  To his credit, he did create 3 dunks in the first half and had 5 assists.  But a 5-8 assist to turnover ratio doesn’t cut it.

Manny Atkins couldn’t get open, either.  The Microwave had just 2 points off the bench on 2 shots, despite playing almost half the game filling in for Bell, who was in foul trouble.

georgia tech, the ACC’s worst three point shooting team, hit 8/24 from behind the arc.  That’s right around their average, but the fact they hit eight to just one by VT hurt the Hokies.  Tech compensated for that with a 7-to-0 advantage in made free throws in the first half, but finished with just a 12-10 advantage.

OK, folks.  Tough game.  But no reason to panic.  The Hokies came into this five game stretch starting with maryland knowing they had four of five on the road.  3-2 in that stretch is a success in my book.  And the Hokies are 1-1 at this point.  They get a 1-4 miami team at home Sunday that they have to beat, then VT just has to figure out how to beat nc state or boston college on the road next week.  5-4 puts Tech in good shape to make a run towards the top four of the ACC this season.

The Hokies play miami at the Cassell at 5:30 PM Sunday.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1284 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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11 Responses to “Recap | gt (3-3, 10-9) 72, VT (3-3, 13-6) 57 | 01.25.11”

  1. Niemo says:

    I didn’t want to say this in the recap, but I thought this was Seth’s poorest coaching job of the season. He was outcoached by a guy who likely will be on the unemployment line a year from now. VT should have switched out of the 2-3 zone. Yes, I know we only have 8 guys. And yes, I know Bell, Delaney, and Allen all had foul issues. But we needed to mix up our defense, at least for a few possessions to give them a different look. They had the 2-3 zone down pat and the 1-3-1 didn’t work, either. Put Green on Shumpert (pre-injury) and Atkins or Bell on Oliver. Oliver isn’t going to beat you on the drive so it isn’t risky to have a guy in foul trouble on him. Seth made great adjustments against oklahoma state and st.bonaventure, but he was Beamer-like stubborn tonight.

  2. Chris says:

    Disappointing game to say the least. The 2nd half was one of the most, if not the most, pitiful halves I’ve ever seen from a Seth Greenberg team. Agreed that Greenberg got out-coached in this one. GT clearly knew how to attack the 2-3 zone and we had no answer for Oliver being WIDE OPEN on any possession they wanted at the foul line. I had a gut feeling the game could go this way and I was hoping I was wrong. GT is a pitiful road team but they’ve proven this year that they’re quite tough on their home floor. Speaking of which, what a terrible showing from their “fans”. I know this is a rebuilding year but to only have the stadium half full for an ACC game in the middle of conference play is pathetic.

    And I don’t want to harp too much on Delaney, but Shumpert flat-out owned him tonight. Shumpert goes for a triple-double and Delaney commits 8 turnovers. Wow. GT, especially Shumpert, just looked like they wanted the game more tonight. Also, way to go Jeff, picking up the technical foul when you already had three fouls with 11 minutes left (rolls eyes).

    Disgraceful 2nd half from the Hokies. Only having eight scholarship players really hurt us tonight since going to a man defense would have wore the guys down even more. Here’s to hoping for a healthy year next season…

    I think it’s going to take at least 10-6, maybe even 11-5 to dance this year. Even with an expanded field 10-6 may not cut it unless they get an ACC tourney win. The next three are tough though. Miami is a very athletic team and winning @ NC.ST and/or @ BC won’t be easy. As you’ve said Niemo, they need to win 2 of the next 3 to keep any real hope alive. VT has shown the ability to bounce back this year however, so hopefully they’ll find a way.

  3. Cope-acabana says:

    Agreed that Greenberg got severely outcoached in this game. I realize you only have eight players, but you can’t win, on the road, playing just six guys, especially when you struggled a few nights ago against a team that wasn’t even playing D-I hoops when Tech’s seniors arrived in Blacksburg four years ago.

    Put Eddie and Garland in for a 2-3 minutes stretch and just tell them to extend possessions and not to get cute with the ball. But do something! Playing your starters 39-40 minutes isn’t the answer against a reckless team that loves to run and has depth.

    At least they get four days to rest before coming home to play Miami for a Sunday afternoon/evening tilt at the Cassell.

  4. Goodraisin says:

    This team is in a two-game slump… hopefully they can get out of it by this weekend. That was a horribly ugly 2nd half. VT should have played man-to-man and let Allen/Davila wander a little more into the paint to help on Shumpert’s drives… it was terribly frustrating watching Brian Oliver, Glen Rice II, and the craptastic Udofia drain shot after shot from the short corner. Also, Greenberg should have abandoned that 1-3-1 and full court trap as soon as he could see that GT knew how to beat it. Their players were in exactly the right places to beat the trap… they were ready for it. I hated the coaching in this game, I hated VT’s shooting in this game, and I hated the carelessness with the basketball. I want to put this game behind me and never think about it again.

  5. Les says:

    Our best defender at the 3 was in foul trouble all night. Atkins couldn’t stay with him.

    Shutting down Delaney was the key. He can draw other defenders (often saw 2nd defender shadowing Delaney in addition to Shumpert) and get the ball inside. Their length in the backcourt really bothered our shooting.

    • Niemo says:

      Les – I’d agree with you that Atkins is no Bell in terms of defending on-ball, but let’s face it – we weren’t defending Oliver at all in the zone. He was finding the open areas and torching us (hitting open shots as shooters should do). Even if he beat Manny a few times, at least he wouldn’t have been shooting as many uncontested shots. Or bring in a fresh Eddie and tell him to figure out what flavor bubble gum Oliver chews.

  6. Les says:

    The only alternative would be to put a too-small Green on Oliver and he muscled his way for shots on several occasions. Tech had limited options in the game once Bell was in foul trouble.

  7. Les says:

    Oliver was pretty much hitting everything, in th middle and beyond the 3. He was overpowering some players on VT. VT looked as tired in the 2nd half as Maryland did against VT. VT was waiting for Delaney to take over the offense to bail them out as per the Longwood win.

    • Niemo says:

      This game reminded me a lot of ksu, unlv, and unc. Just ran out of gas down the stretch – and all four were against teams that like to push the ball and all pressure a lot except unc.

  8. Smitty (Hokie in FL) says:

    With only 8 players the teams we play will try to go up tempo to wear us out. I know this is a downer comment, but I think we’re destined for the NIT again. Too much up and down performances. Fatigue just adds to that dynamic. Too bad for Malcolm, he deserves a chnce to play in the dance before he graduates. We must have the Maryland game intensity level and team play every game to get there. Time is of the essence.

  9. Cope-acabana says:

    It turns out that I owe Coach Greenberg a bit of an apology. I criticized him for not playing Garland or Eddie to give some of the starters a breather. As it turns out, Seth benched them for “academic issues.” So, here’s me apologizing to Coach. It’s hard to beat any ACC team on the road when you only have six players.


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