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Wild Turkey Breakdown and Game Recap | colorado state (10-2) 88, VT (9-3) 52


In front of dozens of fans at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, the colorado state rams blew the Hokies back to Blacksburg in the second half of the Las Vegas Classic Championship Game by nearly a double reverse Bear Fight margin of 88-52. The Hokies trailed by just 6, 33-27, at the break, but the rams starting the 2nd half on a 21-4 lead to make it 54-31 and that was all she wrote. In fact, the rams opened the 2nd half on a 44-12 run to go up 77-39. The only question down the stretch was whether or not csu would double the Hokies (don’t ask what the drink is for that). The Hokies were outscored 55 to 25 in the 2nd half.

The rams won behind 11/24 (46%) 3-point shooting, 19 offensive rebounds, and a 22-6 assist to turnover margin. They also shot 11 more free throws than the Hokies. Erick Green led VT with exactly half of their 52 points (26 for you non-math majors) and Jarell Eddie had 10. No one else had more than 4 for VT, including just 2 for Raines and a goose egg for Robert Brown. Green was 10/21 from the field, the rest of Tech was 9/32 (28%). The rams had 4 players with 15+ points, demonstrating their balance.

I would sit here and call this an embarrassing failure and pitiful effort, but keep in mind a few things. 1) The Hokies were just absolutely gassed. They had nothing left in the tank in the 2nd half and it showed. I don’t want to say VT quit in the 2nd half (because I don’t want to believe it), but they did stop defending and rotating. VT clearly looked tired tonight. They just didn’t have the legs after the short turnaround. I think that made VT slow and they played defense more with their hands than their feet, which leads to fouls. csu was in the bonus by the midway point of the 2nd half. And the Hokies just didn’t have the lift they needed on their shots. 2) The rams are a quality team. They went to the NCAA Tournament last year and were a top 50 RPI team coming into this game. They are coached by Larry Eustachy (if that name rings a bell, it is because he got fired at iowa state for staying behind after road games and partying with coeds from the schools — there’s an infamous shot of him drinking Natural Light with some college kids).

So if you didn’t stay up for this beat down (ah, it reminded me of when I was in the UK and would wake up at 2 AM to watch Hokie games), you didn’t miss much. Be glad you slept.

A few trends have started to emerge during this recent struggle for the Hokies. They are:

  • Tech falls way behind in the 1st half. In the previous two games, VT had led a grand total of 38 seconds in the first half combined. Today the Hokies actually led for most of the first 6 minutes, but an 18-4 ram run put csu up 24-14. This marked the 4th time in 5 games VT has trailed by at least 8 points during the first half, and third time they’ve fell behind by double digits. The Hokies have also trailed by 6 or more points at the break in 4 of 5 games.
  • Erick Green is the only offense in the first half. The nation’s leading scorer had 11 of Tech’s 25 first half points against bradley, and 14 of their 27 against versus the rams. That’s 48% of their points. No one else had more than 4 at the break against colorado state…
  • …It didn’t get any better in the 2nd half. With 9:20 gone in the 2nd half, VT had 9 points. Green had all 9 meaning he had 23 of Tech’s 36. Then Eddie finally hit a 3. No one else PERIOD scored for VT until 5 minutes were left (VT was outscored 44-12 for the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half).
  • The Hokies can’t score all of a sudden (largely due to 3-point shooting disappearing). After starting 7-0, VT was averaging 86 ppg. In their last 5, they’ve averaged 66 ppg. Tech had just 2 fast break points in this game.
  • Tech can’t create buckets off the pass… Tech had just 1 assist at halftime of the bradley game and finished with just 10 total. Well, VT finished this game with 4 assists TOTAL and 15 turnovers. csu had 22 assists and just 6 turnovers. Green, in addition to his 26 points, had 3 of the 4 assists.
  • Jarell Eddie is struggling from deep during this 5 game stretch. Remember when he was shooting over 50% from 3-point range? Well, he’s 8/28 in the last 5 games from behind the arc (29%), and his two made 3s tonight were in garbage time with VT down 20+.
  • The Robert Brown we saw early in the year has disappeared over the last week. Brown had just 2 points in Vegas this weekend. He’s just 4/30 from the field (13%) over the last 4 games and has just 10 total points. He was 0/8 from the field on Sunday and 0/2 from the line (including an air ball on a free throw) and was scoreless.
  • The Hokies get absolutely dominated on the glass. csu snagged 19 offensive rebounds in the game out of 39 opportunities (almost 50% — 33% is average). Tech has allowed 79 offensive rebounds in their last 5 games.
  • James Johnson is getting outcoached right now and has not shown an ability to make in game adjustments, especially on defense. In my opinion, he’s pushing all the wrong buttons. I have no idea what Tech is doing defensively. Well, I do — they are doubling in the post and out by the half court, but I have no idea why. To be fair, they had to double the 6-10 Colton Iverson for the rams, but they drifted out with him and then the rams would kill the Hokies with back cuts and perimeter passing. Or VT would double 25 feet from the basket and csu would throw over them, leading to easy shots or fouls. Or they kicked it to the corner for wide open 3s. Or csu just beat VT off the dribble and would dish when the help defense came. Or we press so they can score even faster. Regardless, it ain’t working. Other teams watch film. They know we always double in the low post. So you actually see their bigs drifting out, knowing the double team will follow, which opens up the paint and forces guards to collapse and help, which either isn’t happening or doesn’t work due to a mismatch.
  • The lone bright spot on defense was Joey van Zegeren. He had 4 blocks by my count, all on help defense.

FYI: north florida beat georgia southern by 28 earlier in the day in Vegas. Good thing VT didn’t play them!

Tech returns to action next Saturday, the 29th, at 2 PM on ESPNU against byu in Salt Lake City. Time for me to go to bed.

This post was written by:

- who has written 1284 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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14 Responses to “Wild Turkey Breakdown and Game Recap | colorado state (10-2) 88, VT (9-3) 52”

  1. Max says:

    Being that I’m from the West Coast this game started at only 8:30 for me. Thankfully, I do not have CBS Sports Network because just watching the ESPN gamecast was irritating me. I think it would be safe to say that this is the worst game the Hokies have played this season. They turned it over to often, got outmuscled on the boards, nobody outside of Green could get anything going on the offensive end, and the defense was atrocious. This is the 4th straight stinker this team has laid (I consider the win vs Mississippi Valley St. and Bradley stinkers because the team didn’t play particularly well.) Anyway, somebody has to light a fire under this team or it will be a long January and February.

  2. King says:

    Here’s hoping what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Brown’s airball free throw attempt pretty much sums our futility in this game. We got destroyed on the glass by a team that wanted it more and crumbled under the pressure. I won’t be surprised if Colorado State ends up making the tourney because they’re a very balanced team. Other guys need to step up because Green can’t do it all by himself. Let’s forget about this game and get ready for BYU.

  3. Chris_atl says:

    Very discouraging. The assist stat is scary.

    Now do we not only not score points, we don’t defend which is something we did last year. I know I shouldn’t be looking at next season yet but where are the points going to come from? Ouch! I am amazed that EG is able to maintain a good FG% while having to carry the offense. EG shot 48% and the rest of the team shot 28%. Pull Eddie’s respectable 40% out and the rest of the gang pitched in at 22%.

    I am sure that Johnston is a defensive liability but in a game like this why not let him play and fire 3s? What’s the downside when you are getting blown out?

  4. jp_daddi0 says:

    In addition to Robert Brown’s futility from the floor, he also airballed a free throw.

  5. Rockfish40 says:

    I stayed up and watched this game…er….debacle. I hope James Johnson DVRd this thing and listens to the commentary because there were some good points. 1) Green has zero confidence in his teammates. 2) We have went back to the Greenberg offense of standing and watching. 3) This team cannot have expectations. They did well when they werent thinking. Now that they they think they are deceent they have expectations of themselves and it doesnt work bc thier buttcheeks are so tight they cant slide on defense. 4) The walkons play better than most of the scholie players…how sad!! 5) I dont buy into being tired. If we are tired now then we need to stop our season short. We will never make it to February. 6) We should retool our defensive thinking. Double teams with no rotation does not work. I understand that if we get the other team to score quick we can run back down and try to score quickly creating an uptempo pace; however this has failed miserably starting with WVU. 7) Does Barksdale want to play? Can Raines show up more than once every two or three weeks? Can VZ play more? He is getting better so give him more time. I know what Brown does for us and it aint much. I think that there is more talent at War Memorial during noontime basketball than what we are putting on the court.
    Any way I hope JJ gets it figured out bc I do like him as a person and want to like him as a head coach!!

  6. Brandon says:

    At least we’re “having fun.”

  7. Les says:

    They also had a lot of foul trouble spread around to key players behind Green. Raines played much better in the Butler game. Eddie shoots mostly three points so a couple of made threes can made it appear he was a factor the whole game both nights. Brown and Rankin should be a concern as it’s hard to see any backcourt threat next year.

    At least Van Zegeren is a redshirt freshman. Outside of hin, I’m not sure the rebuilding starts with any of last year’s freshman class.

  8. Chris says:

    What on Earth is wrong with Brown and Barksdale? These guys have fallen off a cliff.

  9. hokiemasterson says:

    Well Niemo, you were right. You called it a few posts ago about the “wheels coming off.” Still don’t think this was quite as abysmal as Ga. South, but a very close second.

    • Niemo says:

      I haven’t seen a collapse this swift since Adam Scott or Van de Velde in the British Open… Or the US Ryder Cup team. It is like everyone but EG (and somewhat JvZ) have forgotten how to play basketball.

      Tech has one more dress rehearsal before ACC play. Win or lose, I’d just like to see progress. Or should I say something more closely resembling what we saw the first 7 games.

      This is a huge 2 weeks for JJ. He must get us back on track or this team could start to give up and we might be headed for a 5-13 ACC season. That said, I still think we can be close to a .500 team in the league if we can get back to the way we played against iowa and ok state.

  10. 69HOKIE says:

    Well said Niemo, well said. I still wonder if something has changed or is there a ‘problem’? Were we a complete mirage? And we are starting to look like previous teams – one guy dribbles while everyone else watches. Let’s hope JJ and his staff get a handled on this.

  11. goodraisin says:

    I just can’t believe how quickly a promising start turned into a dumpster fire. I recorded that game and basically did the 30-second skip one click at a time through the whole thing. I think what is becoming apparent to me is that if our team can’t shoot it from deep like they did early in the season, then they’re sunk. We have a team of shooters who can’t get good shots in the paint and their ball movement sucks. I could easily write another paragraph about VT’s inability to rebound the freaking basketball.

  12. double reverse bear fight, ouch.

    ahh well, we came into the season thinking we were gonna suck so at least november and part of december were fun.


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