The Hokies choked away the Consolation Game in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic in Brooklyn, losing by just one point (68-67) in a game they easily could have won. Tech returns home for a game on Tuesday after going 1-3 in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic, including 0-2 in Brooklyn.
Tech led by as many as 10 in the first half and led 61-57 with 1:30 to play, but critical mistakes down the stretch cost Virginia Tech. Up 61-59 with 51 seconds left, Jarell Eddie shot a ball off the top of the backboard at the end of the shot clock for a turnover. After seton hall missed 2 free throws, C.J. Barksdale had a chance to put VT firmly in control but missed the front end of a one-and-one, his first free throw miss of the season in 10 attempts. Fuquan Edwin then hit a 3 to put the pirates up 62-61 with 27 seconds to play. After another Eddie miss, Edwin nailed two free throws to put the hall up 64-61. Eddie, a senior, then threw the inbounds pass into the first row on the right sideline, turning the ball back over to the pirates and effectively ending the game (though freshman Ben Emelogu would hit two 3-pointers from about 30-feet each at the end to make the final difference just one point).
This is a very disappointing loss for the Hokies. seton hall, like VT, was picked to finish last in their conference, the now thinned out Big East. Tech had every opportunity to win. This was a match-up of equally paired teams, and Virginia Tech lost. That, like I said, is disappointing. You want to beat the teams you are even with. And if Tech wants to avoid another cellar-dweller status in the ACC this season, they have to find ways to win games like this (miami, clemson, and nc state (they lost to historically black nc central the other night) are other likely candidates to finish at the bottom).
- Jarell Eddie (for the first 39 minutes): He had 19 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks. He was all over the court. He had 42 for the two games this weekend including 9/17 on 3s.
- Ben Emelogu: 18 points including 4/5 on 3s, with the last two from Manhattan. He’s now 16/30 from deep on the season.
- 3-Point Shooting: VT was 10/19 (53%) from deep tonight. The problem is their 2 point shooting…
- 2-Point Shooting: The Hokies were 13/38 (34%) inside the arc tonight and just 25/72 (35%) for the weekend. Tech had just 4 points in the paint in the first half tonight and 28 of their 36 first half points were either 3s or free throws. They must find more of an inside presence. Raines was in foul trouble tonight (picked up his 4th foul with 19 minutes left) and Barksdale showed flashes, but that’s it. To be blunt, VT is soft inside. Raines is Tech’s only physical player, and don’t say it is because they are young — they have a senior, a junior, a redshirt-soph (so 3rd season), a sophomore, and just one freshman inside. This is just a soft team that gets killed inside.
- Devin Wilson: He looked good in the first 4 games but he was overmatched this weekend. Freshman point guards have to take their lumps, and he did in Brooklyn — just 2 total points in the two games though he did have 13 assists and played decent defense.
- Cadarian Raines: Battled foul trouble as mentioned above and scored just 4 points for the weekend (while committing 7 fouls). Not what you’d have hoped for from a senior. Where’s the guy from the last 8 games of two years ago, or the second half of the usc-upstate game?
- Adam Smith: He had 27 points on Friday, but 24 of those were after VT was down 30. He had 9 points in the first 10 minutes tonight, but just 2 points in the final 30. Can this guy score when it matters?
So, after 6 games, my assessment of this team is the young guys are better than I expected (especially Emelogu — I LOVE this guy), Eddie is looking like a big time shooter (but he also did the first month of last season then fell off the map), the other returning players seem to be the exact same guys they were last year, ballhandling and toughness/rebounding seem like issues, and VT still can’t close games. The results (3-3) are about what I expected, though we’ve looked better than expected doing it. My thought is still that this is going to be a very rough season with a losing record overall, but I do hold hope we can avoid finishing 15th in the ACC. I just don’t see us finishing any higher than 13th.
Virginia Tech hosts furman this Tuesday night at 7 PM.