Categorized | 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps

HOKIES (3-1) 105, vmi (3-2) 92

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Boxscore

On Military Appreciation Night, the Hokies unlocked the keydets by a 105-92 margin, marking the first time VT has eclipsed the 100-point mark under second year coach James Johnson (and first time since a 102-77 win over georgia tech in February of 2011).  Virginia Tech had five guys hit double figures in points (Eddie 21, Emelogu 19, Barksdale 16, Wilson 13, Smith 11).  Tech’s victory was never really in doubt in the second half of this game though it got a bit nerve-wracking down the stretch, with vmi cutting the lead to just 6 with a little over a minute to go.  The Hokies handled vmi’s full court press for most of the night, but collapsed under the pressure in the final minutes before getting some easy buckets at the end to ice the game.

The Hokies, who led by 11 at the break, used an 8-0 run 5 minutes into the 2nd half to jump to a 67-47 lead and effectively put the game away (though vmi did make a nice run in the final 7 minutes to cut a 15-point deficit to 6).  You have to give the Hokies credit – since falling behind by 17 in the first half to wvu, VT has absolutely dominated the last 5 halves of basketball and now stand at 3-1 headed into their clash with #1 michigan state on Friday in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic semi-finals (VT has won 3 of their last 5 vs #1 teams!).

Virginia Tech had a huge size advantage over the keydets, with 7 guys 6’7″ or taller compared to just one for vmi (and he fouled out with 6 minutes left).  Tech took advantage of this with a 52-31 advantage on the boards and a 19-14 advantage in 2nd chance points.

The Hokies jumped out to a 12-6 lead to start the game thanks to 5/8 shooting from the floor.  But then Virginia Tech went ice cold, going 1/10 on FGs over the next 6 minutes and vmi, who started the game 0/9 on 3-pointers, took a 13-12 lead on their first made three-pointer.

Tech played better in the final 10 minutes of the half, outscoring vmi 32-20 on 11/19 (58%) shooting, including an 8-1 run to close the half and put VT comfortably up 44-33 at the break.  After missing their first 9 threes, vmi made 5/11 which was the only thing that kept them even close.  Jarell Eddie finished the half with 12 points.  He was 4/4 on 3-pointers and 0/2 on shots from inside a foot (go figure).  The Hokies were 6/10 on 3-pointers in the first half.  Tech also had 9 assists compared to 6 assists for a very good 1.5 assist to turnover ratio, which is great considering vmi uses a full court press at times along with a half court trap.

Monday’s game marked the first action for junior forward C.J. Barksdale this season, who had been suspended for the first 3 games (Marquis Rankin still elected not to play).  Barksdale stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points on 7/12 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.

THE GOOD:

  • Jarell Eddie – He was REALLY good, going 5/5 from behind the arc and scoring 21 points along with 7 rebounds (he was just 2/7 on two-point baskets).  Eddie is now 10/20 on 3s on the season, meaning Tech has two main guys at 50% or better (remind you of last year?).
  • FTs: 22/26 (85%)
  • 3s: 11/16 (65% compared to 10/36 – 28% for vmi)
  • Barksdale, as noted above.
  • Dominating performance on the glass (+21)
  • The Hokies outscored the up-tempo keydets in fast break points (12-6)

THE BABY BIRDS:

More great stuff from Tech’s newbies…

  • Ben Emelogu – I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – whomever saw this guy play last year and didn’t think he was ACC-caliber is nuts.  He has a Big East body for a guard.  He can shoot the 3.  He can drive and finish.  He is going to be a very good player for Tech, possibly a Third Team All-ACC type by his later years.  Ben’s 3 with 2:30 left, his 4th on the night, put the nail in the coffin, putting VT up 14.  Emelogu is now 11/21 (53%) from 3-point range on the season.
  • Devin Wilson – Absolutely great off the dribble and next to impossible to stop with the stiffer hand check/charge calls.  Tonight he made a lefty runner (he’s right-handed).  Also, as advertised, he’s a pass-first guy who sets up others (setup a dunk for Emelogu with a no-look pass from the top of the key).  His downfall is he’s a terrible 3-point shooter so defenders will start to back off him.  Devin will have to score in transition.  His leapin’ leaner-and-1 with 2:40 left put the game away before fouling out with 80 seconds to go.
  • Trevor Thompson – He is eating up a lot of minutes now for Tech and has seemingly surpassed van Zegeren in the rotation.  Trevor had 5 blocks tonight along with 4 points and 6 rebounds.
  • Adam Smith – also hit double-digits with 11 points on 4/10 shooting.

THING(S) TO WORK ON: One thing I’ve noticed that the Hokies will need to improve upon is they defend perimeter ball screens.  Tech’s young guards are going underneath the screener, allowing the man with the ball to step back and shoot a wide open three-pointer.  The Tech guard either needs to go over the ball screen with the screener’s defender stepping laterally to stop the penetration, or if the VT guard goes under the screen, the other defender must flash out and force the man with the ball to drift deeper than he wants to and take away the 3 while his defender recovers (JvZ did this nicely in his limited minutes).

Also, VT was outscored 21-3 in points off turnovers (VT had 16 giveaways compared to just 4 for vmi, which is amazing given their up-tempo nature).

ANOTHER THING FOR THE STUDENTS TO WORK ON: The guy that fouls out is going to fake the sit-down!  How many times are you going to fall for it?

This post was written by:

- who has written 1217 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.

Contact the author | Visit the author's website | Follow Niemo on Twitter

  • Slam Dunk

    85% Free Throws! Now that’s what I’m talking about! Way to go Hokies!

  • Chris

    Nice writeup, Niemo! Was going to post my thoughts but I don’t see the point, since they echo yours.

  • Blue Collar Hokie

    the baby birds, i love it.

  • Drew

    Glad we won but those final minutes looked like our guys decided to see who can pull of the dumbest turnover. Stand in corner with no dribble, wait for trap, throw the ball into the air with no general target. Sheesh

    • Vindictive_Pat

      Get used to that… with a freshman PG and some capable but non-PG-dribbling-caliber guys, other teams are going to full court press and trap the Hokies quite a bit this season.

      • Niemo

        Pat – agreed. When you have so many young guards, you have to take the good with the bad, and probably more bad than good. Since no one was really paying attention to us their freshmen year, people forget how much Dowdell/Gordon struggled at times. And Delaney struggled a lot until he exploded at the end of the season. But that experience paid huge dividends by their sophomore year and later. You are seeing the same thing with bc – under-the-radar recruits who have become very good because of their experience.

    • Slam Dunk

      That’s what we’ve seen the last several years. Two to five minutes to go and the lead, we’ve played not to lose. I want to see us play to bury our opponent. Ten point lead near the end… we should win by twenty!

      • Niemo

        Slam – I agree. I didn’t like us slowing it down with 5 minutes to go. Now, the problem in the final 2 minutes was we couldn’t get the ball over half court, but that was after we had taken our foot off the gas as you say. At the end of the wvu game we went for the kill with the Smith play, which, while a questionable decision (lots of time on the shot clock), was a change for us and it worked.

  • SmittyVT32949

    Since we are Hokies with our legacy as the Gobblers, the “Baby Birds” should be “Jakes”, right?

    • Niemo

      Smitty – What’s a ‘jake’? That’s a new one on me. I’ll have to google it.

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