Categorized | 2010-11 Season, Game Recaps

Opportunity Lost | Recap | bc (5-4, 15-8) 58, VT (5-4, 15-7) 56

Boxscore

The Hokies blew a golden opportunity to take command of fourth place in the ACC, losing 58-56 at boston college.  Erick Green missed an open 3-pointer with under five seconds left to give the Hokies the lead, and bc secured the win on a questionable foul call with 1.1 seconds left.  Tech falls to 1-9 all time at the mostly empty Conte Forum.

I hate to say Malcolm Delaney, one of Tech’s greatest players ever, isn’t clutch… but he is just not clutch.  He missed the front end of a one-and-one with VT down 2 with 24 seconds to play.  How many free throws has the 85% career free throw shooter missed in the final minute this year?  Add that to missed buckets at the end of the purdue, st. bonnie, and unc games.  Is he tired after playing 38 minutes per game?  Maybe.  But he’s still not converting when the Hokies need it the most.  And Erick Green cannot hit an open 3-pointer to save his life (the Hokies got the offensive rebound after Delaney’s miss, setting up Green’s miss with under 5 seconds to play).

This game was just plain ugly for the Hokies.  In the first half, it was the Big Donut Show and nothing else.  He had 13 points and 11 rebounds… in the first half alone.  Jeff finished the game with 25 points and 19 boards (the latter is a season high but not a career high).  Allen eclipsed the 1,000 rebound mark for his career and is now in 4th place on the all-time list with 1,001.

Other than Allen, the Hokies were pathetic in the first half.  Terrell Bell (or “Terrick” as the bc announcer called him) had 7 points.  Davila had 2 and Delaney had 2.  That’s it.  Green had a big goose egg.

The Hokies fell behind by as many as 10 in the first stanza thanks in large part to 3/15 shooting to start the game.  They did not hit a single jumpshot in the entire first half by my count.  But Tech used a 10-2 run to get within 24-22 late in the half and went to the locker room down 27-24.

In the second half Delaney got himself going by penetrating to the hoop and finishing inside.  That loosened him up and he finally starting hitting from deep.  Tech was 0/7 from behind the arc in the first half but Delaney went 3/5 from deep in the second half to give Tech the lead a couple of times.  Tech finished just 3/14 from behind the arc (guys not named “Malcolm” were 0/7 from deep — this is a critical problem).

Tech took the lead a couple of times in the second half but were never able to get stops when they had the lead.  In fact, I’m not sure they ever had a possession with the lead in the game.

The Hokies, after scoring just 24 first half points on 9/30 (30%) shooting, went for 32 in the second half.  Of those 32 points, Allen and Delaney scored 29 of them (Delaney had 17 in the second half).  VT got absolutely nothing from their supporting cast.

Erick Green finished with 1 point.  He has completely lost all confidence in his shot, even from the foul line.  He had hit 32/33 free throws going into the final two minutes at nc state, but missed 2/4 late there.  That carried over into today’s game.  He missed the front end of a one-and-one in the first half and finished just 1/3 from the line.  He was 0/8 from the floor, including 0/4 from 3-point range (all wide open).  That includes the missed 3-pointer that would have won the game at the end.  He had scored double digits in 12 of his previous 13 games (and had 9 in the other game).  He is looking more like the Erick of last year lately.

The Hokies came into the game #1 in FG% in ACC play, #2 in FT%, and #3 in 3-Pt%.  But they shot 35%, 21%, and 77% respectively.  Don’t let that 13/17 fool you though, the Hokies were 2/5 in one-and-one situations and missed the front end of three one-and-ones.

Tech’s defense was absolutely horrible today, especially on-ball by the guards.  Malcolm Delaney and Erick Green were beaten like rented mules off the dribble.  It looked like bc had a power play whenever those guards were guarding them.  Tech, facing one of the best shooting 3-point teams, tried to go underneath screens instead of fighting over them.  The result was wide open looks from deep for the eagles, and they hit 7/20 (35%) from behind the arc.  VT also got lost on screens and bc was killing them with the screen-and-roll or fade to the corner.  Perhaps the Hokies were a little rusty playing man, which they did at least 90% of the game with the 2-3 zone the rest of the time.

The Hokies held bc’s leading scorer, Reggie Jackson, without a point in the first 30 minutes.  But he scored 10 in the final 10 and took over the game.  Again, Delaney might as well have been a hologram guarding him.  The eagles had a balanced attack.  Joe Trapani led the eagles with 14 points, including baskets with his back to the basket that I had never seen from him before.  But nine eagles scored 3 or more points.

That was the total opposite of Tech.  The Hokies got 0 bench points (Manny “Not Millions” was 0/6 from the floor).  And Allen and Delaney combined for 79% of the Hokies 56 points, including 90% in the second half.

It just looked like VT was content having already gotten two road wins in this four road game stretch.  Still, Tech did go 3-2 in a five game run where four of five were the road.  I said before this stretch that is what the Hokies had to do, and they did it.  But this was a tough game to lose.  The Hokies were in it at the end and had a chance to win.  Instead of being two games up on the eagles and one on maryland (with a road head-to-head win over both), the Hokies are now tied with both teams, and clemson, at 5-4 (yes, four teams are 5-4).

The Hokies have a “bye” this week and don’t return to action until next Sunday at 1 PM at the Cassell against the worst road team in the league — georgia tech (yes, I’m calling this a ‘need to win’ game).

This post was written by:

- who has written 1217 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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  • John

    Can we just fast-forward to the point a month from now where we’re 9-6 with a must-win game at Clemson where Delaney goes 0-for-his-career in game-winning opportunities? Then we’ll win our Thursday game in the ACC tournament against a low seed in the tournament, then lose a close one to a good team on Friday. Seriously, how can only one player on a team make a jump shot for an entire game?

    • Niemo

      John – Ha! I’m going to think of this post at the end of the ACC Tourney. Not dogging, you, I think you are right, but let’s see what happens and hopefully laugh together at the end.

  • Chris

    Same story, different game. I admire all Virginia Tech basketball fans because it’s beyond difficult to be one. They have to be the most frustrating team in the country.

    I’m glad Jeff showed up. One of, if not the best overall, game I’ve ever watched him play. But Green is just off right now, and Delaney forced way too many shots. I really thought Green was going to nail that three; he was due. Oh well. And as you said, the box score may not show it, but Tech played awful defense today.

    I personally don’t think that just the GT is a “need to win” game. All four of the next games are. We sit 5-4 in the ACC and all four of our next games are winnable. The biggest challenges will probably be Maryland at home and UVA on the road, and even those games are quite winnable. If we’re 9-4 going into the Duke game and if we win 2 of our last 3 we’re in. Even 1 out of those 3 will give us a realistic chance to get in, maybe needing an ACC tourney win as well. And I think it’s crucial to be 9-4 going into the last three games, because I think they’re our toughest challenges left this season.

    But I won’t get my hopes up for the tourney unless this team wins its next four games. Sorry if I sound too negative, but I’ve just gotten burnt out of seeing this team blow so many opportunities for big wins this year. The UNC game still really stings.

    • Niemo

      Chris – I’ll gladly take 3-1 in these next 4. I think 4-0 is a bit optimistic with this team.

  • Bryan

    Niemo, just a heads up I think you have your stats out of order a bit, “The Hokies came into the game #1 in FG% in ACC play, #2 in FT%, and #3 in 3-Pt%. But they shot 35%, 21%, and 77% respectively.”

    First of all Jeff Allen has been BEAST lately. Secondly, while Delaney did miss the front end of the 1 and 1 he did hit those 2 clutch 3’s in the final minutes. He gave us a chance to win a game that otherwise we really shouldn’t have. To me the difference was Green’s struggles (Manny’s 0 for 6 didn’t help either). If we could have gotten just a little scoring out of Green we could’ve pulled it out. We need him to do better. When he doesn’t produce either because of injury (UNC 2nd half) or otherwise, we struggle. It sucks because we’re just so thin. If we had Dorenzo and/or JT there would be one more to shoulder the load but we don’t.

    • Niemo

      Bryan, I’m solely talking about Malcolm in the last minute of games/halves. Yes, he did hit that jumper to get VT within 2 with 56 seconds left. So maybe I’m talking about the last possession of a half. He’s automatic — in terms of being off. Look at the end of the first half against nc state, too. Guy just cannot convert at the end when it matters. But you are right, he is the reason we were still in this game, or many other games. My point is that he’s great for 39 minutes (on offense at least), but a disaster in the final minute.

  • Danram

    Missing the front end of the three 1 & 1’s is an absolute killer. It doesn’t show up in the box score, but that’s six points we left at the foul line, not just three.

  • chrishokiethis issue

    Atkins/Green 0 for 14. That says it all. I believe that Delaney made the nice pass to Green to give him that wide open shot at the end. He had just hit two tough long jumpers and despite his lack of clutchness I wanted him to take that last shot. But, he did the right thing and made the extra pass. The shame is that we only had 6 turnovers.

  • http://www.heyhokie.com Goodraisin

    That was a miserable ending to a fun game, in my opinion. I know everyone is upset about losing a chance at a quality win, and you all are right… there’s no excuse for Green and Atkins combining to go 0-14. That’s downright terrible. And I also have to say that I completely agree with Niemo… wrote a post on my blog last week where I mentioned how Delaney is an awesome player, but he’s anti-clutch. But with all that being said, this was a game that the Hokies weren’t expected to win, and it doesn’t hurt us to lose the game. It does become much more imperative for VT to beat BC at the Cassell now. Erick Green has a week to get some confidence in his shot again, and I am being optimistic that he will. Is everybody ready for another season on the bubble? It’s happening, so don’t fight it.

  • Smitty (Hokie in FL)

    The bottom line is these guys are tired when you have these 3 games in 6 day patterns (they happen every year, fact of life). Its due to only 8 guys on the team. There probably nursing various little injuries as well – that goes with the territory of playing 35+ minutes every game. The lack of defense is a sign they played with their hands instead of their feet – that’s a sure sign of fatigue.
    I hate to say it, but I think we’re NIT bound. I hope not (would love to see them get to the Dance – I’ll gladly eat crow), but these opportunities keep slipping away.
    Man this is frustrating……………..
    Niemo, we need some good news…what’s the status of all the guys in next year’s recruiting class so far in their final HS season?

  • http://www.heyhokie.com Goodraisin

    The scariest thing about this game was that our team, which has looked completely different than the team from a year ago, looked like they reverted back to their old self (only Delaney and Allen scoring points, playing good but not great defense, and missing clutch shots). I do have to say that one way this team is different is the play of Jeff Allen. A year ago or two years ago if you prefer, Allen would have battled foul trouble for most of that game. Lately he’s been playing with wisdom and limiting his fouls… the result is Jeff Allen rolling in the last 4 games so that he is now averaging a freaking double-double for the season. That’s very encouraging.

  • Les

    I didn’t see the game here in DC. It looked like they couldn’t generate offense from turnovers at all inferring from the lack of assists and Green’s performance. Davilla played few minutes. I gather he didn’t match up well with Trapani who can play out to the 3 point line.

    • Niemo

      Les – Davila picked up 2 quick fouls in the first half and sat the final 12-15 minutes. Trapani actually didn’t have that big of a game. Allen was on him when Davila was in. That was very good for us on offense.

  • Blue Collar Hokie

    Did anyone catch the online feed at acc.com with BC radio crew as audio? Tyreke Bell and his burnt maroon jersey, sheesh guys read the media guide.

    • Niemo

      Blue Collar – I was watching that feed and had to laugh at those two screw ups. Seriously, we’ve been in the ACC for seven years and were in the Big East with bc since ’93 before that. And Bell is a senior. Very poor announcing but funny as heck. I like watching the feeds on TheACC.com because the mics are live during timeouts (no commercial breaks). Sometimes they get after each other and say funny stuff.

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