Categorized | 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps

HOKIES (1-1) 87, wvu (1-1) 82


Do you believe in miracles?  Yes!  The Hokies overcame a 17-point first half deficit to knock off their old rivals, the wvu mountaineers, 87-82 at the Cassell in a 1 PM Tuesday game (part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon).  The Hokies hadn’t beaten wvu in 10 years (they had only played them once, last year, in that stretch), so I think tonight calls for some 10-year-old Macallan’s VICTORY SCOTCH!

In a game that took almost 2-1/2 hours and probably burned well past your DVR times for those of you that didn’t play hookey, it didn’t look good for the home squad for most of the first half.  wvu used a 10-0 run midway through the opening stanza to go ahead 26-10.  The mountaineers kept the lead around there for a good stretch and led 40-24 with 2:40 left in the first half.  But that’s when the transformation occurred…

The Hokies closed the first half on a 12-1 run capped by a Ben Emelogu 3-pointer from NBA-range on the run at the buzzer to cut the lead to 41-36.  The Hokies followed that up with a 13-1 run to open the second half (that’s a 25-2 run overall if you can’t find your calculator) and go ahead 49-42.  Tech would stretch that lead to as much as 10, leading 55-45 with 14 minutes to go.

wvu battled back, taking the lead twice down the stretch, including 77-76 with 2:30 to go.  But unlike Saturday, where VT could muster just 1 point in the final 4 minutes, Tech was able to close things out.  The play of the game was a running bank-and-1 for Adam Smith to put VT up 83-79 with 33 seconds left.  After a 3 by wvu to cut the lead to 1, VT hit 4/4 FTs down the stretch and won 87-82.

Lots of positives to take from this game:

  • Ben Emelogu looks like he will be a player.  The freshman captain had 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks.  None of his 6 FTs touched the rim (granted, one was an airball, but the others looked good).
  • Ben’s now 5/9 on 3-pointers on the season.  By contrast, it took Marshall Wood until game #10 to hit his 5th 3-pointer last year (he was 5/28 at that point).
  • At 6’5″, Ben already has an ACC-body.  He is thick to go with his length.  He reminds me of a slightly taller Jamon Gordon (6’3″).
  • Whomever said Ben wasn’t an ACC-caliber player is wrong.  I know it is just 2 games and he will struggle at times this year, but in a year or two he is going to be a really solid player.  Maybe not  All-ACC, but a tough defender and a guy who can score off the dribble, something VT sorely needs.
  • VT won despite just 10 combined points from Raines, Wood, and JvZ.  A positive in the post was 7 points and 3 blocks and 5 rebounds from freshman Trevor Thompson.
  • Tech had a block party – swatting 13 shots today.  They are really active inside which is fun to watch.
  • VT won despite Jarell Eddie not scoring in the first half (he had just one shot) and not hitting a 3-pointer.  He did tally 10 in the 2nd half, though.
  • VT got 19 points from transfer Adam Smith on 7/12 shooting.  He looked much better off the dribble today, able to finish inside.
  • The Hokies got 16 points from starting freshman point guard Devin Wilson, including 8/8 from the foul line.
  • All told, Tech got 64 points from their 4 newcomers (freshmen Emelogu, Wilson, and Thompson and sophomore transfer Smith).  They got just 23 points from their 5 returning players (Eddie, Raines, Wood, van Zegeren, and Beyer – only one guy had more than 4).
  • Speaking of which, VT hit 30/38 FTs (79%).  With the more stringent hand-checking calls this year, you have to hit FTs to win and Tech did today.  For the game, there were 53 fouls called and 71 foul shots!!! (wvu hit just 21/33 – 64% – there’s your difference like it was in the other way for VT Saturday).  The 28 fouls on wvu had Coach Huggy-Bear complaining almost as much as Coach London on the sidelines.
  • Tech pushed the ball more today.  Sure, it means bad shots at times, but this team has some guys that score off the dribble (Emelogu, Wilson, Smith, and at times Eddie).  VT had 12 fastbreak points today compared to just 5 on Saturday.  Coach JJ has said he wants to be up-tempo, and he got the guys to do more of that today and you saw the results – more easy buckets and lots of free throws.
  • Last but not least, VT won!  We may not get to say that much this year, but what a character win for the Hokies!  Hats off to JJ (who I have been, and will be critical of) for finding a way to rally the troops today from off the mat.

I’ll save my gripes for another day because this was a sweet win over an old rival.  Gotta love beating the ‘neers!  It’s just one win and sure, wvu was just 13-19 last year and returned just 5 scholarship players, but it isn’t like we were returning a 6-pack of McDonald’s All-Americans (VT had just 4 returning scholarship players playing today)!  Congrats to the boys, too bad practically no one saw it.

Now let’s go beat western carolina on Friday night at 7 PM at the Cassell and maryland in Lane on Saturday!

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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16 Responses to “HOKIES (1-1) 87, wvu (1-1) 82”

  1. DuffHokie says:

    Its always fun beating the clowns across the border. When we were down 17, I had zero hope. But you make a good point, the new hand check rules will be an added dimension and they may or may not end up costing us the game. Just need to hit those FTs.

  2. Chris_atl says:

    What the ——? I saw the first half score and saw just what I expected. I just now looked and saw the final score. Unbelievable. Crap, now I am going to have to arrange my life around live basketball games. I thought I would get this season off and just watch the replays at my convenience. Good for JJ.

    • Niemo says:

      I was almost regretting playing hookey when it was 40-24 with 2:40 left in the first half… almost. Glad I hung in there. And major props to the VT fans that actually went to this game.

  3. Chris says:

    Recorded the game on my DVR as I couldn’t watch today, listened to a little of it on the radio… Before I even watch this win shows me that the team has heart. After losing to lowly USC-Upstate and getting blown out in the 1st half on national TV, this young team could have easily folded but they didn’t. Hats off to JJ for keeping the team motivated, and for the new guys (Emelogu, Thompson, Wilson, Smith) stepping up big time. All I want to see this season is progress and improvement, and today was definitely a step in the right direction. Proud of the Hokies.

    Side not… anyone know what the deal with Rankin is?

    • danram says:

      He was on the bench today next to Barksdale.

    • Les says:

      It sounds like either academics or a possible transfer. He’s not practicing either. The announcers seem to think this was a personal decision of Rankin’s.
      WVU was a good opponent for Tech to match up with. They lack a real frontcourt threat. VT only scored 20 points from the three frontcourt positions.

      • Niemo says:

        Les and Chris – from what I can gather, Rankin is taking some personal inventory based on him not winning the starting job over Devin Wilson. That’s not from an insider, just from what I’ve observed. My pure guess is we will never see him play for us again and he’ll transfer before the second semester, redshirt somewhere else, then have 1.5 years to play at another school.

  4. Slam Dunk says:

    “Speaking of which, VT hit 30/38 FTs (79%). With the more stringent
    hand-checking calls this year, you have to hit FTs to win and Tech did
    today. For the game, there were 53 fouls called and 71 foul shots!!!
    (wvu hit just 21/33 – 64% – there’s your difference like it was in the
    other way for VT Saturday).”
    thank you! thank you! If you make 75% or better on FTs, you’ll win more than you lose. Also, the turnovers were under 20 (16). Sixteen is still too many, but considering we have young players playing up tempo, I will concede some mistakes. As long as they are not a bunch of silly, stupid mistakes.

  5. danram says:

    This was a very nice confidence-builder for a very young VT team. Our freshmen look like they can ball and Adam Smith looks to be the shooter he was reputed to be.

    The one who impressed me most was Devin Wilson. The kid can penetrate, he can finish, and he can hit FTs

    When we get Barksdale and Rankin back, I think we just may surprise some people this season.

    • Niemo says:

      Danram – I’m still not sold on Smith as a shooter. I still feel like he’s a chucker from outside and might shoot for a low percentage from deep. I do like him off the dribble, though. Luckily he’s not a one-trick pony. Hopefully I’m wrong.
      Also, Emelogu’s 3-point % will come back to earth at some point but he can really shoot from deep and I think in a year or two will be a very good outside threat.
      As you said, Wilson is looking good so far. He picks up his dribble in bad spots at times, but heck, he’s a freshman, you have to expect that. But he really can exploit the new whistle-crazy refs and beat guys off the dribble to either dish or score. Penetrators have been lacking at VT for years. And can we get him on the football field for spring ball and see how he looks at WR?

  6. Drew says:

    Smith’s banker was one of those “NO NO YES!” shots for me. Looked like he had a guy open underneath the basket for an easier shot but he chose the banker instead. I went from rage to ecstasy in a span of 2 seconds. Great win

    • Vindictive_Pat says:

      I thought the same thing… it was really close to being a charge as well. On another day, that might have been a turnover. It struck me as being the same type of situation that Eddie was in at the end of the USC-Upstate game… pushing the ball down the court to try to catch the other team off guard instead of calling a timeout. I’m really happy it went our way though!

    • Niemo says:

      Drew – Also, Smith’s shot was way too early in the shot clock for my liking. I was definitely yelling “no” there at first.

  7. Vindictive_Pat says:

    VT has 19 blocks in their first 2 games. I had forgot what it was like to have rim protectors! Now if only they could also guard the 3-point line :)

    In addition to all of the praise for Emelogu, Smith, and Wilson; Trevor Thompson was very impressive… he’s got more ability around the hoop on the offensive end than I thought, and he’s a menace on defense.

    • Niemo says:

      We have a lot of long guys (other than Smith) like we did early in the SG days. It not only helps with shot blocking but also allows you to get hands in passing lanes. Gordon and Dowdell’s greatest ability was their ability to make it difficult to pass the ball and run your offense. That’s something we’ve sorely missed for years.

  8. Blue Collar Hokie says:

    can i just say that following a game on gamecast is friggin excrutiating, and bad for my productivity haha.


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