Categorized | 2010-11 Season, Game Recaps

See You at the BIG DANCE! | VT (9-5, 19-8) 64, #1 duke (12-2, 26-3) 60 | 2.26.11


The Hokies got the signature win that everyone has been looking for over the last four years, and all but punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament with a 64-60 win over #1 duke at the Cassell. Tech used an extremely balanced effort to take down the devils. All five Hokie starters reached double-digits in points, including double-doubles from Jeff Allen and Victor Davila. The Hokies are now 3-2 against #1 teams under Coach Seth Greenberg, and this was Tech’s fourth win all-time against a #1 (Tech is 3-1 against #1 teams in the Cassell overall).

Things looked bleak for the Hokies as the game got to the later stages of the second half. Tech trailed 55-50 with 6:11 to go, but used a 9-0 run to jump out to a 59-55 lead with 2:39 left. duke never got closer than two after that point, though things got interesting at the end. Up 62-57 with 1:30 to go and with the ball, a lazy pass led to a Mason Plumlee dunk. And in the final minute, Tech was awful from the foul line, as they were all game. Tech won despite their free throw woes. The Hokies hit just 8/19 (42%), well below their 72% average, and they had been the #1 FT% team in conference games. But just enough free throws made and cold shooting from behind the arc for duke gave Virginia Tech the win.

After shooting 50% in the first half, Tech really struggled in the second half, hitting just 30% of their shots. The Hokies didn’t score for four and a half minutes in the middle of the second half, allowing duke to go on a 7-0 run and take a 51-45 lead. The two teams traded baskets, and the devils led 53-47 with 6:30 to go when an Allen 3-pointer closed the gap to three.

After a Nolan Smith jumper with 6:13 to go made it 55-50 (Smith’s 18th and final points of the night), it was hustle that got the Hokies back in it. Green missed a 3-pointer, but Bell skied across the paint to grab an offensive rebound. He fed the ball to Allen, who missed a jumper, but Davila slammed home the miss for the play of the night. Then Bell drained a 3-pointer with 4:42 to go the game was even. Tech had trailed for more than 10 minutes straight at that point.

Two Bell free throws with 4:19 to go put Tech back in the lead, and a Jeff Allen layup made it 59-55 with 2:39 to go. After a Singler layup, it was time for Malcolm Delaney to dust off his cape and hit a huge 3-pointer, giving VT a 62-57 lead with two minutes to go.

The Hokies were just 2/6 from the foul line in the final minute, but duke could not hit a jumpshot and the Hokies pulled it out. The fans stormed the court and Coach Greenberg hugged his daughters on the floor, seemingly in tears. Yep, everyone gave everything they had tonight — fans, coaches, and most of all, players. And now they should get want they want, barring a collapse in the next two weeks — a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Tech won thanks to several things:

  1. Davila’s hands – Victor was catching passes he hasn’t caught all year, and he was converting inside. He made a nice catch and finish to get the Hokies on the board and that set the tone.
  2. My ball – Jeff Allen dominated the glass, as did the Hokies. Tech grabbed 16 offensive rebounds, leading to 11 second-chance points.
  3. Balance – The Hokies had it, duke didn’t. Smith and Singler combined for 40 of duke’s 60 points. Meanwhile, all five starters from VT scored between 11 and 18 points.
  4. Ball security – duke committed just 5 turnovers on the night, but keep in mind they had just ONE turnover with 10 minutes to go in the game. They committed 4 turnovers down the stretch, leading to Hokie transition opportunities (VT had 15 fastbreak points to just 4 by duke). And Tech committed just 6 turnovers on the night, including just 2 in the second half.
  5. All In – Simply put, VT wanted this game. The whole team, especially the seniors wanted Tuesday to be their final home game. They didn’t want to have to come back to the Cassell for an NIT game.  And when the chips were down, they sealed the deal.  They outhustled the blue devils to 50/50 rebounds and kept possessions alive.

Jeff Allen was the man of the night for the Hokies, as he’s been for the last month. He racked up 18 points and 15 rebounds for his eighth double-double in nine games. He even knocked down two huge 3-pointers, just his fourth and fifth of the season.  Jeff also made some terrific passes inside that led to easy buckets for Davila when duke doubled Jeff.

Victor Davila also had a night.  He scored 11 points and collected 10 rebounds for just his second career double-double and first ever in ACC play. But he was just 1/6 from the foul line, highlighting an awful team effort from the stripe.

The star of the second half for the Hokies was Terrell Bell. He scored five points early in the second half to help the Hokies build a 42-37 lead with 17:19 to go, had a huge offensive rebound that led to the Hokies getting within three, trailing 55-52 with 4:42 to go, and then scored five straight to put the Hokies ahead 57-55. His 3-pointer tied the game at 55 with 4:42 to go. Bell had 10 points in the second half.

Erick Green tallied 12 points but 10 of those were in the first half. He had three ‘and-1′ opportunities tonight but converted just one. After a month stretch where he hit 32/33 from the foul line, he has since fallen into a horrible slump and was just 1/5 from the line tonight.

Notice I haven’t mentioned somebody… Malcolm Delaney, in what he called the biggest game of his life, struggled all night thanks to a suffocating duke defense. But Malcolm answered the call when it mattered most, hitting a gigantic 3-pointer with 2:02 to go, putting the Hokies up 62-57. He finished with just 11 points on 4/15 shooting (1/6 from behind the arc), but he hit the big shot when the Hokies needed it.

The much ballyhooed return of Seth Curry to the Cassell was a non-factor. Seth picked up two quick fouls in the first half, and two more early in the second half, and finished with a big goose egg, fouling out at the end. Nolan Smith, the ACC’s Player of the Year this year, had a solid game with 18 points on 9/18 from the floor (slightly below his average). Kyle Singler had 22 for duke, but most of his damage was from the line. He was just 6/19 from the floor but 9/10 from the line.

duke really struggled from deep. They finished 4/20 from 3-point range, going 2/10 in both halves. The blue devils shot just 40% for the game thanks to an all out defensive effort for the Hokies.

Random duke thought: When have you seen Coach K call all five timeouts in a game?  He makes a point of having his guys play through rough stretches, not giving the opponent the satisfaction of letting them know they have the devils on the run.  But Coach K burned all five, and just one was at the end.

Overall, what a great day for Virginia Tech basketball. Tech had a great turnout for ESPN College Gameday, inspiring Rece Davis to call it one of the loudest, if not the loudest he had been to. But then when the real show started, the Hokies persevered and found a way to win the big game, what they hadn’t been able to do the last 3+ seasons. Now let’s pack the Cassell on Tuesday night for the next big game against boston college. Tuesday is SENIOR NIGHT!  Let’s send Malcolm, Jeff, Terrell, and Paul out right.

Halftime – VT 33, duke 31 – First half recap…

If I told you Delaney would have just 4 points at the half and duke would have 0 turnovers, yet VT was leading, you’d have told me I was certifiably insane! But that’s just what happened. The Hokies shot 50% from the field in the first half and led by as many as seven. Tech jumped out to a quick 9-4 lead at the first media timeout and kept the lead most of the first half.

duke briefly took the lead at 16-14 with under 9-minutes to go in the first half, but an 8-2 run by the Hokies gave them a 29-22 lead. The run was thanks in large part to fast break points. Tech had 8 in the first half.

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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27 Responses to “See You at the BIG DANCE! | VT (9-5, 19-8) 64, #1 duke (12-2, 26-3) 60 | 2.26.11”

  1. hokiegrad says:

    I couldn’t remember the last time Davila had a double-double… sure enough, first time this year, and only the second in his career. What a great night to pull that out.

  2. hokiegrad says:

    GO HOKIES!!!!

  3. FruitpieTheMagician says:

    Great Win! Go Hokies! We love you!! Thank you!!! – Fruitpie

  4. VTGoad says:

    Seemed like deja-vu, where everything that could go wrong in the big game was going wrong there at the end. But then, lightning struck and the Big Donut hit his 2nd 3 point shot of the game, just his 5th of the year!!! At that point, I knew we were going to be in for a crazy finish. I’m so excited that we’ll finally get to see this group of seniors in the tournament! First things first though, I’d love to see us take down the ACC!

  5. Harry says:

    What a solid team effort, couldn’t be more proud of all the starters. Green with clutch jumpers and control, Davilla huge rebounds and solid finishes, Bell all over the place, Jeff Allen proving he is an elite player and Malcolm finishing when it mattered. Seth really did a good job of coaching tonight and it clearly paid off. Lets finish this season off strong heading into the tourney.

  6. King says:

    Amazing Team Win. Damn, it feels good to be a Hokie.

  7. Cope-acabana says:

    Bell is the player of the game in my book. I know Jeff and Victor had huge games, but Bell’s three to tie, his key rebound and block down the stretch were huge. And his defense is underrated. Also, hard to believe that we shot so poorly from the free throw line and still won this game.

    And if the Hokies win one of their last two games, I think Greenberg is a lock for ACC Coach of the Year.

  8. ryan says:

    *uck yes! I am so pumped. finally, after years waiting, it has happened. No more stressin out on my birthday/selection sunday weekend.

    that being said…it’s a lil bit of a bummer to think that if this team was fully healthy we’d like be in 1st place in the ACC. imagine that, VT as the ACC champs…in basketball!?

    Grrr…maybe next year

  9. Les says:

    They gave a little too much credit to Smith. Delaney was essentially double-teamed above the circle as soon as he got the ball. Greenberg had him stand far out and played Duke 4-on-4 which exposed the lack of mobility in Duke’s frontcourt.

  10. Ryan says:

    Delaney struggled but give Duke credit they did everything in their power to frustrate him. He hit the big 3 when we needed him. Bad foul shooting and Delaney didn’t light it up and we still won. Unbelievable team effort. I guarantee Delaney lights it up next game but we still need to finish up strong. Great win but lets move on and take care of business.

  11. chrishokie says:

    We got our miracle! I’d feel better if we won one of the next two. I wouldn’t want to flop in the ACC Tourney and finish 0-3. Plus we still have a shot at a 3-seed and can avoid playing Duke in the semis. Great win and something to celebrate!

  12. Harry says:

    I love Malcolm but, I have to say with such a rough game from him(with much credit to nolan smith and his excellent defense) it just proves well how well the rest of the team played. Just want to say nice work for the rest of the the squad.

  13. GStarVT93 says:

    What an incredible win! We need to get a few more wins though. 0-3 the rest of the way and who knows…the committee seems to look for reasons to keep us out. That being said I think our small team of eight is incredible and a real tribute to Seth’s coaching skills. Seth does what Beamer cannot…win big games!!!!

  14. Blue Collar Hokie says:

    I got a golden ticket. . .

  15. JAADVMD says:

    I was at the Memphis game in 86 or somewhere around then when we had Bimbo and we beat them (they were #1). I was at the game last night. I hope we never get rid of the Cassel. Jeff Allen is the man! I knew he was due for some 3’s. Nice to see Bimbo Coles honored too

  16. 86CvilleHokie says:

    This was a breakout game for Jeff’s jump shot. We’ve been seeing it here and there this season, but it was his main weapon last night. In years past having too many 6’10+ guys in the paint would tend to shut Jeff down. After getting blocked a couple of times early, he just shifted gears and started knocking down jumpers. Way to go Jeff !

    I got to enjoy watchihng Dell play back in the 80’s. I can’t believe there is no surviving footage of Dell making one from the Gobbler. If ever there was a time to show it, it would have been last night.

  17. Martin says:

    Overall, the whole team played great. Allen just continues to impress me game after game. His passing has become Nash-like. His inside moves are amazing. And his range gets deeper and deeper every game. I’ve said it before, the man is a beast and I think he deserves a shot in the NBA. I know he’s smaller than most but so is Booker and he was drafted in the first round (and booker’s outside game doesn’t compare to Jeff’s). Regardless, I am so happy for the whole team. I love being a hokie.

  18. chrishokie says:

    Last night the announcers indicated that Seth Curry wanted to play at VT but that we didn’t offer him a scholarship coming out of Liberty. Is that right? I thought we tried to get him but HE chose Duke. I was wondering if they confused the situation with Stephon Curry.

    In an interview with Malcom after the game he admitted it was nice to hit a big shot after failing against Purdue and BC. I give him credit for taking blame. BUT, he failed to mention the missed front end and wide open 3 late in the most recent UVA game. The good news last night is that maybe it took a lot out of Nolan Smith to guard Malcom that closely all game and was a contributing factor in their late game scoring slump.

    • Niemo says:

      Chris – I cannot remember the specifics on Seth. I know with Stephon we wanted him to walk on, but with Seth I cannot remember if we offered.

  19. ryan says:

    From Darryl Slater’s article at the Times Dispatch

    Tech coach Seth Greenberg offered him a scholarship after Liberty did, but wanted him to redshirt as a freshman, which would’ve put Curry two years behind guard Malcolm Delaney, now a senior. Greenberg had asked Stephen to redshirt as a non-scholarship walk-on in his first year, 2006-07, when guards Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon were seniors.

    But Seth Curry opted to play immediately at Liberty, even if it meant starting from the bottom, just like his brother, who played three years at Davidson and is in his second season starring for the Golden State Warriors. In 2008-09 at Liberty, Curry averaged 20.2 points while often facing double-team defense. Despite the success, his brother knew he craved a bigger stage.

    “Every person wants to go to the highest level possible, because everybody feels they can play on that level,” Stephen said that season. “I’m sure there was some disappointment, as there was for me.”

    After his freshman year at Liberty, Curry decided to transfer. Greenberg pursued him, but so did Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, owner of four national championship rings.

  20. Chris says:

    My sentiments echo that of everybody else. Amazing, and possibly even program changing, win. This was the game we flat-out had to have, and the guys stepped up when they had to. Great game from Bell and Davila. If somebody told me that Delaney would shoot 4-15 and we’d get zero bench points, I would have had a heart attack due to laughter. Really hope Bell and Davila play with the same intensity for the rest of the season.

    While last night was the resume boost this team desperately needed, I wouldn’t call them a lock just yet. I think they need one more win to dance. If we lose this last two then get upset in the ACC tourney, I think we’ll be on the outside looking in yet again.

    Take care of business against BC on Senior Night Tuesday and lock this thing up!!! Great win last night!!

  21. Danram says:

    We definitely offered and recruited Seth. We also offered Stephan, but we wanted him to walk on his first year until a scholarship was freed up. No other ACC program was even willing to offer him as a walk-on. The reason we were hesitant with Stephan was because at the time we were evaluating him as a junior in high school, he was only 5’10’, only weighed about 135 pounds, and had to shoot his jump shot almost from his chest. The concerns about him being able to be able to hold up physically to the rigors of ACC play were definitely justified. But between his junior and senior years, he grew 4 inches and added 30 pounds. But by that time, all of the offers for that year’s class had already gone out and been accepted. Hence, the walk-on offer from VT.

  22. RH in Roanoke says:

    Niemo – so glad my concern about Seth Curry was 180 deg off. Greenberg offered Seth a scholarship late. After stephon had blown up. And it was with the proviso that he redshirt his freshman year. Basically it was come here but you probably won’t play much. So he went to Liberty to prove he could play. Coming from liberty greenberg had a scholarship problem. But really, if you had an offer from VT and from duke for hoops, where are you going?
    I think Jeff Allen is playing well enough to get drafted now. He has NBA skills.
    They need to win of their last two. two bad losses combined with losses to uva and gt would still make it ok to not include VT.
    JAADVMD – wasn’t memphis 84-85 )pre-bimbo. Dell, Perry and Al Young, Keith Colbert, and Bob Beecher?

  23. jtvthokie says:

    Here’s a good article to read on Curry:

    Greenberg wanted him to redshirt initially, and then it is Duke/K or Tech/Greenberg. The Curry’s are still big Tech fans. And Dell was the real deal. He was a freshman when they beat Memphis State in 1983. I can still remember my ears ringing in the Cassell.
    Great win last night! (And great interview with Bilas Niemo – have you showed him the arm curls???? His nickname was Arnold when he was at Duke!!!)

  24. Les says:

    He also had Nigel Munson of Dematha as a freshman and an incoming class of Delaney and Hudson. Nobody could’ve predicted Munson would thrown away the opportunity.

    Tech really looks to be in a good position to prosper in coming years as they often compete with Wake Forest, NC State, and Clemson over the same prospects. Those programs are on the downswing.

  25. Goodraisin says:

    Les, I wouldn’t say NC State is on the downswing because of recruiting… they still get big-time recruits (Leslie, Harrow, and Brown were all highly ranked), they just have a terrible coach who can’t get them to stop playing like they’re in high school and get up to the level demanded by the ACC.

    • Niemo says:

      Yeah, watch out for nc state next year if they have a coach that coach in place. L, H, and B are all going to have to return since Lowe did such a poor job in terms of developing them. Although Hickson left after a year and that turned out well for him. I wouldn’t be surprised if Leslie left.


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