As expected, the Hokies fell to No. 2 ranked syracuse at the Cassell before a sparse crowd. The Hokies unexpectedly managed to keep it close and respectable for most of the game. However, the cuse slowly and surely pulled away in the second half to win comfortably 72-52 and remain undefeated.
Tech was within four points six minutes into the second half, 44-40, but the orange went on a 16-0 run to open up a 20-point lead and effectively put the game away. The Hokies, who shot 42 percent in the first half, went ice cold in the second half, and ended up shooting just 36 percent for the game.
Look, moral victories only seem to matter to teams that have low expectations, but if you’re a Hokie fan, you can’t be disappointed in the team’s effort tonight versus a clearly superior team.
Jarell Eddie scored the first points of the game for Virginia Tech when he drilled a three pointer, which gave him 1,000 points for his career. In doing so, the senior becomes the 44th player in Tech history to reach the 1,000 point mark.
Unfortunately, that opening three pointer were the only points in the first half for Eddie, who finished with six points for the game. As has been the case for most of the season, as Eddie goes, so goes the Hokies. And tonight, he wasn’t much of a factor. He struggled defensively and the cuse limited his offensive options and he scored just six points.
The only Virginia Tech player to score in double figures was C.J. Barksdale, who led the team with 12 points. Adam Smith added nine points, all three pointers and all in the first half. True freshman captain Ben Emelogu also had nine points.
The Hokies did an admirable job of defending the orange in the first half and didn’t allow a single fast break bucket in the opening stanza and just two points in the game. Rebounding, however, was a different story.
The Hokies, who led the ACC in defensive rebounding, were outrebounded 41-25 and allowed the cuse to pull down 17 offensive rebounds.
The Hokies, who trailed by 12 points in the first half, held the cuse scoreless for the final 5:50 of the first half and got a three pointer from Adam Smith, his third of the half, to cut the deficit to 35-29 heading into the break.
Smith was playing his first game since injuring his calf against vcu on Dec. 21. Offensively, he certainly contributed, but his calf injury was obviously still an issue defensively.
Notes and Nuggets:
- Niemo and I were texting during the game and both noticed that when James Johnson switched to the 2-3 zone, syracuse had no trouble with it, scoring nine points on all four possessions until JJ switched back to man.
- JvZ played at the high post vs. syracuse’s zone and struggled mightily.