Highlights will be up by 1 AM on HOKIE DAY | Boxscore
The Hokies led for 27 minutes of this game. Unfortunately, it was the first 27 minutes. Tech jumped ahead 3-0 30 seconds into their game with #5 syracuse and led every second until cuse tied it at 42 with 13 minutes to go. The orange promptly went ahead 44-42 on a C.J. Fair dunk with 12:10 to go and blew the doors off the Hokies after that, going on to win 69-58. The win was largely fueled by an 11-0 run that turned a 42-39 Hokie lead into a 50-42 hole. VT did battle after that, getting within 58-53 with 5 minutes to go, but again cuse hit the big shots when they needed them, outscoring the Hokies 11-5 the rest of the way, including a “classy” move by Kris Joseph to attack the rim with 20 seconds left when he could have run out the clock.
The Hokies should be proud of the way they played. They played this game at their pace. syracuse came into this contest averaging 90 points per game, but VT held them to just 27 points at the break. But as I always say, there is no such thing as “good losses” in terms of the NCAA Tournament. Yes, this will help VT’s strength of schedule, but you have to WIN games, not just horseshoe/hand grenade them.
Tech had a 29-27 lead at the half. The stars of the first half for the Hokies were Jarell Eddie and Erick Green. Eddie had 9 at the break and Green had 8, showing no ill effects from his Achilles injury. The Hokies struggled with Jim Boeheim’s famous 2-3 zone, committing 9 first half turnovers, but shot the lights out at times. Tech was 4/10 from deep in the first half to keep them in the game as they largely just passed the ball around the perimeter.
Meanwhile, Tech’s half court defense was fantastic. cuse started the opening half 4/15. The only way the orange could score was in transition, and Kris Joseph, a likely 1st Team All-Big East guy this year, had 12 of cuse’s 27 first half points.
In the second half, it was the Fair, Waiters, and Triche show. At one point, they had scored 25 of the orange’s 31 second half points. Dion Waiters had all 11 of his points in the second half, while Joseph led all scorers with 20 (and 10 rebounds), Triche had 18, and Fair had 12 total. syracuse got hot in the second half, and the Hokies simply couldn’t keep pace. The orange hit 5/7 3-pointers in the second half, including 3 during that 11-0 run that gave them command of the game. They never figured out the zone and stopped hitting as many shots, although they did go 4/9 from 3-point range in the second half to finish 8/19 for the game. The difference was the lack of stops on defense.
For VT, Jarell Eddie had 17 points and 5 assists, Erick Green had 14 points, and Hudson added 13. The rest of the team scored just 14 points as Davila (6 points) and Dorian Finney-Smith (2 points) battled foul trouble.
The loss snapped a 5-game winning streak for the Hokies at Madison Square Garden. Virginia Tech will return to action on Friday at 2:30 PM to play oklahoma state (yep, they’ll play okie state twice this regular season but play half the ACC teams just once). Tech needs to go home with a win from MSG and NYC.