ACC First Round Recap | #10 HOKIES 68, #7 clemson 63

Boxscore

Cancel your tee times for Friday, the Hokies used their expansive close game experience and pulled away from the clemson tigers down the stretch, winning 68-63 in the First Round of the ACC Tournament.  Tech moves back to .500 at 16-16 on the season and will face #2-seed duke (without Ryan Kelly) at 7 PM on Friday night in the ACC Tournament Quarterfinals.

The Hokies captured the season series, winning for the 2nd time in 3 games against clemson this season.  And how crazy is this — Tech’s 5-point margin of victory is their largest of 2012… by 3 points (their previous largest win this calendar year was by 2 points).

Erick Green led the Hokies with 24 points.  clemson held him to just 8 last Thursday at clemson, snapping his string of 30 consecutive double digit games.  In fact, Green had scored just 25 total points in his previous 3 games against the tigers, which he almost equaled tonight.  The 2nd-Team All-ACCer hit 7/11 from the field, 2/4 from deep, and 8/8 from the line (including 4/4 in one-and-one situations).

Stat of the Game: Don’t Go Green… Until Tonight – Green (24 points) hadn’t scored more than 16 points in any of Tech’s previous 9 wins before tonight.  But he had scored 17 or more in 8 Tech’s last 13 losses.

Tech’s best player was the best player on the floor tonight, and carried the Hokies.  After clemson cut a 61-52 VT lead to 61-57 in a span of 15 seconds with 1:50 to go, Green drove the floor and laid in an acrobatic layup to put the Hokies back up 6 with 100 seconds to go.

Old Man River (Dorenzo Hudson) also stepped up, decided his career wouldn’t end tonight.  Zo hit 6/12 FGs, 3/7 3-pointers, and 4/4 from the stripe to tally 19 points.

The Hokies played without point guard Marquis Rankin, who is out with a knee injury, and Victor Davila, dropping them to 7 scholarship players (deja vu all over again).  5 Hokies played 30 minutes or more, including 36 from Doe Doe.

Dorian Finney-Smith had another solid game (he’s on a nice 10 game stretch), scoring 8 points and snagging 8 boards, including 4 on the offensive end to extend possessions.  He also ran the point some with Rankin out and Young (ACC steals leader) on Green.  Doe Doe showed some nice drives, getting to the rack for tough layups twice, including a runner at the end of the shot clock that put VT up 61-52 with 2:25 to go.  Doe Doe added 3 steals, too.

Cadarian Raines had a solid game with 9 points on 4/6 shooting, but clemson really focused on keeping the ball away from him.  Booker did a solid job defending Raines in the post, but that led to Devin’s 4 fouls.

clemson got average games from their stars — Freshman Devin Coleman was the surprising scoring leader for the tigers with 15, most on drives to the rack.  It was his career high, in fact, he had never reached double digits before.  He even hit a 3-pointer despite being 2/17 on the year from long range.

Senior Andre Young and junior Milton Jennings had 13 each, while senior Tanner Smith had 12.  Tech limited Devin Booker to just 7 points (only 4 FG attempts).  Booker was also hit with a flagrant-1 foul when he elbowed Cadarian Raines with 4 minutes to go, allowing the Hokies to hit 1/2 FTs and get the ball (Tech converted).

clemson came into this game averaging 8.8 steals per game, but Virginia Tech did an excellent job of protecting the ball, allowing just 2 steals for the tigers (VT had 5 steals).  The Hokies even got some transition buckets — two layups on fastbreaks off turnovers (they actually passed the ball once on the break!!!  EG to Zo!) and two 3-pointers in transition by Hudson.

The whistles were much more prevalent in the 2nd half.  clemson was called for just 1 foul in the first half, and just two FTs were attempted (by clemson).  But Tech was aggressive getting to the rack in the 2nd half and drew 12 fouls on the tigers and hit 17/20 FTs (that’s more like it — Tech had been just 58% from the line since the start of the @florida state game).

The surprise was clemson’s 3-point shooting.  The tigers were 0/10 from behind the arc at clemson last week, and just 2/27 in the 2 games vs VT.  But the tigers hit 5/9 from deep in the first half and started 6/10 from 3-point range… then they went back to being clemson, hitting just 2/12 from deep in the final 18 minutes.

The Hokies just missed 70 points (they still have not reached 70 in regulation in 18 games in 2012).

VT shot 42% from the field, 30% on 3s (7/23), and 85% on FTs (17/20).  Tech had 11 offensive rebounds to just 9 by clemson (clemson had 33 offensive rebounds in the previous 2 games vs VT).

clemson shot over 50% in the first half, but just 46% from the game.  They were 36% on 3s (8/22 – - but 2/12 to end the game), and 9/15 from the line (60%).

GAME FLOW:

  • clemson jumped ahead 8-2
  • VT went on a 14-3 run to go ahead 16-11
  • clemson closed the half on a 14-3 run of their own to go into the break up 35-30
  • VT scored just 3 points in the final 5:15 of the 1st half (all on a Brown 3)
  • Tech started the 2nd half on a 7-1 run to go ahead 37-36, then went almost 6 minutes without a FG (but 5 FTs)
  • The game stayed tight from 46-44 (clemson) to 52-52 with under 6 minutes to go
  • Hudson and Green hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put VT up 58-52 with 4 minutes to go and the game never got closer than 4 after that
  • The Hokies went on a 13-2 run after trailing 50-48 with 7 minutes to go to lead 61-52 with 2:05 left
  • VT hit 5/6 FTs in the final 2 minutes, clemson went just 3/6 from the line (and that’s not counting a FT Tanner Smith missed on a lane violation)
SCORES AT THE MEDIA TIMEOUTS:
1st Half:
  • Under-16: clemson 8-4
  • Under-12: VT 16-11
  • U8: VT 21-18
  • U4: Tied 27-27

HALF: clemson 35-30

2nd Half:

  • Under-16: clemson 42-40
  • U12: Tied at 46
  • U8: clemson 50-48
  • U4: VT 58-52

FINAL: VT 68-63

This post was written by:

- who has written 1215 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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  • Duffhokie

    Woo, glad to see this win to send me out on a positive note. Officially cut off in the next 30 minutes.

  • FruitpietheMagician

    Thank you Eric & Dorenzo
    You made the threes & the Freethrows
    I was a bit nervous and about to puke
    Until confidence set in – that we’d be playing Duke
    So lets win tomorrow, so happy I’ll be
    just maybe we’ll make it to the NIT
    Our season continues, and thank God for that
    Now stay tuned for Niemo’s stats!

    • Niemo

      Nice work, Fruitpie. After we beat duke tomorrow see if you can work a ‘BRRRAHHHHH’ into your poem.

  • Chris

    Loved the effort tonight. Impressive considering how long of a season it’s been and all they’ve been through. What’s the deal with Rankin? Why didn’t he play?

    So does a victory against Dook tomorrow get us into the NIT?

    • Niemo

      Rankin = knee again. I don’t think it’s major but I’d doubt he plays tomorrow — he’d have played tonight if he was close considering our season would have ended with a loss.

      To make the NIT we likely have to win 2 more. The NIT doesn’t like teams right at .500 and we’d be right at .500 with a win tomorrow and loss Saturday. So don’t hold your breath.

  • Les

    Admittedly, Rankin looked like he had been slowed the last several games. He was no longer able to dribble past his man.

    • Niemo

      UPDATE: I’m hearing there’s a good chance Rankin will play Friday with the extra day of rest. Hokies need him if for nothing else than to spell the starters and hopefully slow down Rivers.

      • Max

        Hey Niemo, now it sounds like Rankin won’t play. Is this true??

  • Max

    Phew, thanks for the good news! We could ill-afford(yes, I made a pun) to play with just 7 guys again tomorrow. As it is though, if Green could come out and play the way he did tonight, and Raines be a beast and get the Plumee’s in foul trouble, we might have a shot. Zo will again have to be a Senior leader like he was tonight. I can honestly say that they had a certain fire in their eyes, that they were NOT going to give up and they didn’t. In past games this year, they might have folded at the end and lost by 2. But, nope! They made free throws in the end and WON THE GAME!!!! Here’s to beating Duke!!!

  • Chris_atl

    Saw this one in person and it was great to win although the end of both halves was terrible (talking about on-court play not free throws). Fortunately, they missed the free throws this time. I hope Rankin can play because Brown handling the ball is a nightmare. Not to mention the pass he fumbled when cutting down the lane late in the 2nd half. He did have 4 assists which surprised me. Eddie had two good looks for 3s late and couldn’t hit them. Would have made things a lot easier. But, we live to fight another day! Hopefully, Duke will be a little nervous after our last game, choke a little and Eddie and Brown can do better than 2-13. It’s great to still be playing!!

    • kiawahhokie

      You’re telling me; I was holding my breath every time Robert Brown handled the ball. I would rather have DFS run the point. Such an awesome victory last night, though.

    • NoDak

      Good game and win, but I don’t see Duke getting nervous against us, or anybody else for that matter. They have plenty of come-from-behind wins this year and the discipline that team brings day in, day out means they force their opponent to play their best game to compete. Okay, the St. John’s lapse happened, but look how Duke responded after that game. They simply do not accept poor performances.

      That said, I like VT in this game. They’re due and playing without outside pressure.

  • Blue Collar Hokie

    Does anyone know whats going on with Green? 8 minutes into the game and he was visibly gassed, huffing and puffing and looking to the bench to be taken out. Is he sick? A late night in the ATL on Wednesday perhaps?

    Either way great win, beat Duke.

  • trbohokiefan

    I just love Zo’s comment from today’s “Berman Courtside”:

    Dorenzo on the mind-set of the team:

    “We’ve been talking about it for the 2 days we’ve been here — unpack your bags, we’re going to be here for awhile. … If you’ve got the right mind-set coming into the game, knowing that you can win, then you’re going to win.”

  • http://www.heyhokie.com Goodraisin

    Wow, that was a different team than the one we’ve watched all season… I loved it! All of the boys were playing with confidence, and it looks like Hudson really does like to play on that court as he said he does. I really liked Greenberg’s plan for handling Clemson’s full-court pressure (not full-court trap though, we didn’t handle that so well at the end). Green and Rankin struggled with the on-ball pressure from Young and Hall the last time VT played Clemson, so Greenberg decided to use his other players to bring the ball up the court. Doe Doe dribbled circles around Milton Jennings and Jennings couldn’t get any pressure on him in the backcourt. Very smart.

  • Bryan

    Very good game by the guys. I know a lot of people have been down on the team this year but look at what we have coming back next year! These guys should be really solid especially after having gained so much experience this year.

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