For 15 minutes it looked like the Hokies had a shot at upsetting #1 michigan state and collecting their 4th win against a #1 team in their last 6 tries. But michigan state closed the first half on a 15-3 run over the final 5 minutes (including 10-0 to end the half) and blew open their 31-30 lead to a 46-33 margin at the break on their way to a 96-77 woodshed of the Hokies (it wasn’t that close — Tech trailed by 30 with 11 minutes to go in the game.). At least we avoided the reverse Bear Fight!
The Hokies will play seton hall, who blew a 6-point lead with 32 seconds left vs oklahoma, in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic Consolation Game at 7 PM Saturday on TruTV.
The turning point of the game was when freshman Ben Emelogu went out for VT with 2 fouls and 5:40 left in the first half. The score was 29-28 spartans at that point, but msu took control after that going on a 40-11 beat-down over the next 14 and a half minutes. After two free throws by C.J. Barksdale to make it 31-30 msu, no Hokie other than Jarell Eddie scored over the next 14 minutes (Eddie had 9 points, all on 3s, during that stint).
Jarell Eddie was all the Hokies had for most of the game. He was unconscious in the first half hitting 5/8 from the field including 4/5 three-pointers. Combined with his 5/5 effort from behind the arc, that’s a robust 90% from deep over 3 halves. But his 17 points at the half weren’t even a game high… that honor went to 6’10” Adreian (“Can I buy a vowel, Pat”) Payne who had 20 points at the break, including 3/5 three-pointers (yes, from a 6’10” guy that also had 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, and some monster dunks – he was a one man wrecking crew). Payne’s career high (and he’s a senior) coming into this season was 20 points and he had that at the break! (he did have 26 points a week ago).
Eddie finished with 23 points (6/9 on 3-pointers… that 11/14 or 79% over his last 2 games) and Payne had a career high 29, with both guys sitting most of the 2nd half. Adam Smith actually led the Hokies with 27 points, but most of those were in garbage time. He had just 3 at the break and 24 of those 27 points were after VT was down 30.
What also did in the Hokies was a lack of scoring in the paint and a plethora of turnovers. The Baby Birds looked like a young team tonight, committing 17 turnovers. When you have a freshman point guard and a pouty junior who won’t play, these things are going to happen. Devin Wilson did not score and had 4 turnovers (although he also had 5 assists). Big man Trevor Thompson added 4 turnovers and Ben Emelogu 3… that’s 11 turnovers from your true freshmen. The spartans had just 6 turnovers.
As for low post scoring, VT had almost none. They hit 13/27 three-pointers (48%) and 14/15 free throws (93%) but just 12/34 two-point shots (35%) and that stat was padded late. At one point the Hokies were 9/18 on 3s and 5/25 on 2s. Tech simply had no answer for Payne, on offense or defense.
Tech led by as many as 6 in the first half, going ahead 20-14 with 10 minutes to go.