Tell me if you’ve heard this story before: The Hokies jump all over a team on the road in North Carolina and get up by about 16 points, but then crumbles in the second half, allowing its opponent back in the game. Luckily for the Hokies, n.c. state sucks more than unc.
Note: maryland, bc, and clemson all lost so Virginia Tech sits alone in fourth place in the ACC at 5-3.
Malcolm Delaney led the Hokies with 22 points as Tech won 77-69 over n.c. state. The senior from Baltimore is only the fourth Hokie ever to score more than 2,000 points in his career. He reached the 2,000 point mark on a layup with a minute to go that iced the game.
In fact, it was a night of milestones for the Hokies:
- Delaney’s 2000th point
- Allen’s 1500th point
- Delaney’s 500th assist
The win is only the fourth ever by Tech on the road against the wolfpack. Tech’s all-time record at n.c. state is now 4-19.
Fellow senior Jeff Allen was a beast for the visiting team, especially in the first half. Allen had 10 of Tech’s first 18 points, and finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds for his third straight double-double. He has 10 double-doubles this season and 38 for his career. Allen sits at 16th on the all-time VT career scoring list with 1,513.
The Hokies absolutely dominated on the boards in the first half, out-rebounding the pack 25-9. That included 14 offensive rebounds in the first stanza. Fourteen!! The second half was a completely different story. The wolfpack won the second half battle of the boards, 24-16. state grabbed nine offensive rebounds to just five by Tech in the second half. Overall, the Hokies still out-rebounded n.c. state 41-33.
Terrell Bell had a rare double-figures scoring night with 13 points on 4/8 shooting and a perfect 4/4 from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, sophomore sensation Erick Green, a.k.a. the “Winchester Rifle,” continued his stellar play with 13 points on 3/6 shooting. He also had two blocks, a steal and an assist. The kid appears unflappable running the point.
It’s truly amazing to witness Green’s transformation from an undisciplined freshmen to a veteran-like sophomore holding his own against the best of the ACC. He also regained his form on his mid-range jumper. The one negative for Green was his foul shooting. He was 28 for his last 29 from the line coming in and hit his first four foul shots. But he missed two of his final four from the stripe, and that’s not including a foul shot he missed on a lane violation. Let’s hope this doesn’t become a Davila-like mental block.
Victor Davila had another hot and cold game. He had a game-high 13 rebounds and six points, but he continues to put the ball on the floor when all he needs to do is go up to the basket. I counted at least four times in this game in which Davila got the ball underneath and put it on the floor rather than go straight to the hoop. By putting it on the floor, he allows the defenders time to collapse and foul him. And when he goes to the line, it’s not pretty. He was just 2/5 at the line tonight. He’s shooting under 48 percent for the season.
Nonetheless, Davila did more good than harm and he was pulling down rebounds left and right tonight and even fought through box outs to get a few of those.
Tech got decent minutes from its bench, but sophomore forward Manny Atkins was the only one who contributed on the scoreboard – he had eight points (all in a three minute span late in the first half) and played extremely tough. He’s developing into a quality sixth man. He can come off the bench and hit the deep three and also mix things up in the post fighting for rebounds. He plays hard and doesn’t back down.
Freshmen Tyrone Garland and Jarell Eddie were a combined 0/7 from the field, but did give the starters some much needed rest. Eddie was a beast on the offensive glass to earn his per diem.
Tech played man defense almost exclusively tonight and was aided by the fact that n.c. state’s best player, Tracy Smith, was battling a knee injury the entire second half. The Hokies (mainly Davila, who is now a great post defender) limited Smith to 11 points (four below his average) and six rebounds on 4/11 shooting. C.J. Leslie, the pack’s stud freshman, had 18 points to lead the state. The pack hit just 3/15 three-pointers.
This one almost got away, but the Hokies held on for a key win in ACC play. Tech is now 5-3 halfway through the ACC schedule and that’s a hell of a lot better than 4-4.
Virginia Tech heads north to face boston college Saturday at 1 p.m. The Hokies didn’t fare well in their last trip to chestnut hill, losing badly 60-80. And bc will have a chip on its shoulder after losing by 32 at home to unc on Tuesday.
Niemo’s Note: VT is 5-3 at the halfway point of ACC play. Who’d have thunk that after Tech started 1-2 with a horrible home loss to uva, and a 16-point blown lead at unc? Once again, Seth found a way to rally the troops. Random note: uva held clemson to 13 points in the first half tonight… ouch! Then uva turns around and only scored 13 in the first 19+ minutes of the second half. This game set ACC bball back 30 years. It looked like a wisconsin intra-squad scrimmage… Oh, and I shed a tear when Greenberg and Sidney Lowe shook hands at the end. It is likely the last time VT will face Lowe, the worst coach in the ACC. Tech somehow started 0-4 against him but have now won 4 in a row.