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%).
- 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)
- Under-16: clemson 8-4
- Under-12: VT 16-11
- U8: VT 21-18
- U4: Tied 27-27
HALF: clemson 35-30
- Under-16: clemson 42-40
- U12: Tied at 46
- U8: clemson 50-48
- U4: VT 58-52
FINAL: VT 68-63