Despite the fact the Hokies didn’t hit a field goal in the final 6:50 of the game, Tech held on to defeat oklahoma state 59-57 in the NIT Season Tip-Off Bronze Medal Game. It was the second year in a row VT beat okie state on Black Friday (Tech knocked off osu last year on this day in the 76 Classic). The Hokies finished the NIT 3-1 and improved to 4-1 on the year, while the cowboys fell to 3-2. The Hokies controlled this game after the first 4 minutes, leading by 9 most of the game, but the pokes did make it interesting down the stretch and had two 3-point attempts to tie that rattled out. The two teams will have a rematch in Stillwater on New Year’s Eve.
What can Brown do for you? Deliver in the clutch. Robert Brown scored 8 first half points, but it was his steal with Tech up 3 with 20 seconds to go that helped seal the win (along with some clutch free throws from Jarell Eddie). It was a big day for the Hokies’ freshmen class, as they went for 21 of VT’s 59 points.
While we still might want to hold off on retiring Dorian Finney-Smith’s jersey, the stud recruit did have a monster day. He had 6 points and 9 rebounds… at the half. Doe Doe soared his way to 10 points and 14 rebounds for the game, his third double-double of the season already.
In comparison, Le’Bryan Nash of osu, who was considered a better recruit than DFS, went scoreless for the pokes. Fellow freshman Cezar Guerrero (think Greasy Face-quez only less ugly) was held to 3 points. Those two freshmen had been averaging over 27 ppg coming in. The star for osu was Markel Brown. The 6’3″ guard had a career high 19 points and snagged 11 rebounds. He posterized DFS with a dunk early in the second half.
The Hokies used a very balance effort to win this one. Erick Green led the team with 18, and Doe Doe was the only other player to hit double figures. Nine Hokies scored on the day, with seven guys scoring between 2 and 8 points.
Tech shot just 33% for the game, finally went cold from deep (22% – 4/18), and made just 63% from the line (19/30). How’d they win? Simple – they dominated the glass. Yep, a team that couldn’t outrebound powers like monmouth and etsu, dominated the cowboys on the glass. Virginia Tech grabbed 18 offensive rebounds (8 by Doe Doe) compared to just 7 for osu.
The game started very slow for the Hokies. The cowpokes jumped to an 8-0 lead at the first media timeout, and Victor Davila had 2 fouls when VT had just 2 points (he is turning into the new Jeff Allen in terms of early foul trouble). It was all Hokies after that for the first half. Tech outscored osu 32-15 the rest of the way to go to the locker room ahead 32-23. The high point was a 14-0 run to put VT ahead 21-12 as the cowboys went scoreless for 6:30.
Erick Green was the star of the second half. EG showed no ill effects of his Achilles issue, scoring 12 of his 18 points after the break. He is Tech’s unquestioned leader and is shooter like an all star. He’s 8/14 on 3-pointers on the year (he was under 30% for his career coming into this season) and is hitting 55% of his shots overall.
For okie state, they attacked the tin in the second half with a lot of success. The Hokies simply could not guard them, mainly Markel Brown, off the dribble. The first 28 points of the second half for osu were either in the paint (20) or from the foul line (8). Expect them to exploit this in Stillwater as they got the Hokies in a lot of foul trouble.
The unsung, lunch-pail hero of the game for VT was Cadarian Raines. The sophomore snared 8 rebounds to go with 3 points and 2 blocks while filling in for Davila, who fouled out with just 2 points and 5 rebounds.
Great win and a big win for the Hokies. osu will end up a top 100 team in the RPI, if not better. So this is a key resume-building win and one Tech needed in New York. Now the Hokies need to quickly rest up and get ready for st. bonaventure, who gave the Hokies everything they could handle last year (OT VT win), on Sunday at 6 PM at the Cassell.