monmouth was… ah… not good. And the Hokies absolutely laid the lumber to them frequently and often. Tech took care of business, woodsheding the hawks 91-46 in the First Round of the Preseason NIT. Tech had five different players reach double digits in this laugher. The Hokies will return to action in the Cassell Tuesday night with a trip to Madison Square Garden on the line against the winner of george mason and florida international.
Tech shot the lights out Natural style, hitting 63% of their shots. VT shot better than 60% in BOTH halves. monmouth, meanwhile, hit just 27% of their field goals. The Hokies also were lighting it up from deep, something I thought would be a weakness this year. It wasn’t tonight. Virginia Tech nailed 10/15 (67%) 3-pointers! The bad news? Well, the Hokies hit just 21/35 free throws (60%). Yep, they shot better from the field and 3-point range than the ‘charity stripe’.
monmouth was a woeful 1/17 from behind the arc and 15/29 from the line. The two teams combined for 64 total free throws in what was an ugly, whistle-happy game at times. There were 23 total fouls called in the first half, including 14 on VT (on 9 different players). 47 fouls total were called for the game. I guess the refs got paid by the whistle.
On three different occasions tonight the Hokies had runs of 10 straight points or more. They used a 10-0 run early in the game to go up 18-6, and later had a 10-0 run to push their lead to 31-12. The Hokies later had a 19-0 run in the second half to blow the doors off and go up 57-26. It was all garbage time after that, giving the Hokies a chance to rest Erick Green, who returned from an Achilles injury tonight, and give the young guys a lot of playing time. And boy did they take advantage of that playing time…
Tyrone Garland went for a career high 18 points, 14 of which were in the second half. He put on a show for a while, scoring 11 straight points for the Hokies. With 5 minutes to go in the second half, Garland had more 2nd half points (14) than monmouth did (12). Garland finished the game perfect from the field – 7/7 overall and 2/2 on 3s (and he didn’t bank either one). He did miss one free throw, so no Christian Laettner Elite 8 here.
Robert Brown is quickly becoming Mr. Second-Half. After scoring all 12 of his points in the second stanza of his debut Saturday, Brown tallied 17 of his 19 total points in the final 20 minutes tonight. He hit 3/6 3-pointers. Dude can flat out stroke it from deep. Brown and Garland combined outscored monmouth 31-22 in the 2nd half.
Erick Green returned to action, and while hobbling a couple of times after tough falls, he gritted things out. You could see how much better the offense runs under him. Green had 11 points and 5 assists with just 2 turnovers in 23 minutes of action. We’ll see how well he responds on Tuesday having to play on back-to-back nights.
Dorenzo Hudson also had a great game for the Hokies. He scored 12 first half points to put Tech comfortably in control at the break, 42-24. He scored 6 more to get to 18 before heading to the bench and rest up for Tuesday’s game. Zo showed some of the explosiveness I hadn’t seen in the scrimmage and Saturday, so this was very promising. He looks like he can be a star again… at least tonight.
Jarell Eddie was the fifth Hokie in double digits. He, like Garland, was perfect from the field, going 4/4 including 3/3 from behind the arc. But Eddie was also perfect from the line, hitting both free throws to give him 13 points.
You are probably wondering when I’m going to mention Doe Doe. Well, Dorian Finney-Smith didn’t have quite the impressive showing as he had Saturday. Doe Doe had 2 fouls in the first 4:10, 3 fouls in the first half, and picked up his 4th foul with just under 19 minutes to go in the game. He scored just 1 point, but did get 7 more rebounds (he has 23 on the season) and collected 3 assists, though he also had 3 turnovers. Hey, these guys are young and every night will be a learning experience. Thankfully, Tech didn’t need DFS to be great tonight and other guys stepped up. And as long as Green and Hudson look this good, VT has their stars.
The bad? Well, Tech looks absolutely awful trying to rebound free throw misses. The opponent through two games is getting well over 50% of their free throw misses. That has to improve. VT allowed monmouth 17 offensive rebounds tonight. That has to go down.
Ed Waite led monmouth with 12 points and 11 rebounds. He was the only hawk in double digits.
But enough negatives, this was a great glimpse at the future of the Hokies tonight. These guys all work their butts off on defense and that alone will keep them in most games. Now let’s get our rest and get ready for the fiu/gmu winner and finally achieve what we couldn’t the last four years – a trip to NYC.