While we are all excited for this Hokie bunch for pulling out a victory tonight, I have to feel bad for Cope, who likely had to re-write his pre-packaged recap (hey, it worked the last nine games).
Lots of positives from tonight:
- WE WON! Gotta feel good for JJ, the team, and heck, all us loyal fans who kept supporting us the last five weeks. Hats off to JJ and the guys.
- CASSELL RE-CAPTURED: The Hokies moved to 9-7 at home on the season, clinching a winning home record for the 51st time in 52 seasons in the Cassell (the lone losing season was under ricky stokes over 10 years ago). After losing 7 of 8 at home, this streak was in doubt but the Hokies locked it up. Congrats!
- FREE THROW SHOW: The Hokies hit 17 straight free throws down the stretch in the final 2:20 to clinch the win. Remember their 1/6 choke-job from the line in Tallahassee last year? Yeah, not tonight. The Hokies put this game on lock down. The 25 made FTs and 83% from the line were ACC season bests.
- FIELD GOAL MET: The Hokies hit 50% of their shots for the first time since the bc game (the 2nd ACC game and 12 games ago). This was their 2nd best output from the field in ACC play, and since the iowa game (game #6). The Hokies took advantage of the ACC’s worst defense in terms of FG% Defense. It was actually fun to watch this offense in the 2nd half. Where has that been since early December?
- C.J. BARKS-MORE: For the second game in a row, C.J. set a career high in points. He had 14 against duke and then 17 tonight, including a key 9/11 from the foul line. He’s a solid FT shooter, so I’m not sure why fsu picked him to foul late, but C.J. made them pay. Also, Barksdale is the only Hokie with a positive +/- in ACC play or on the season (of the regular 10 guys). Quite simply, the Hokies are better when he is on the floor. He had a team high +14 tonight.
- BROWN DID SOMETHING FOR YOU: Coming into tonight Brown was shooting just 25% from the field, 14% from behind the arc, and averaging just 6.5 ppg in ACC play. But Robert went for 11 tonight on 4/8 shooting and hit 1/3 from deep. He hit 3 runners in the paint in a row in the first off the drive instead of settling for an outside shot or penetrating too deep and getting blocked or charging. That got his confidence up, and then he hit that 3-pointer. Progress!
- MORE-QUIS RANKIN: Marquis had the worst +/- on the team coming into the game, but had a +11 tonight, trailing only Barksdale. He hit both his triples and scored 8 points, and played solid defense except for one perimeter screen he didn’t fight over which led to a 3 for fsu.
- SUPPORT: See those last 3 points — it wasn’t just the Erick Green show tonight! He still went for 26 points, but that was just 33% of the Hokies points. Lately he’s been producing closer to 50% (or more in some cases). That’s all it takes for VT to win — a cast of characters instead of a one-man-band.
Eddie continues to struggle (didn’t score until the final 2 minutes, didn’t make a FG, and had a -9) and this was the smallest VT home crowd ever for an ACC game (5,042 – barely half full), but let’s forget that for now — WE WON! Now let’s go celebrate… for me, that means my going and changing a dirty diaper. Hey, even that is sweeter after a win. Congrats to the squad!