Well, I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted, because tonight was probably the last time all season the Hokies will step on the floor with a winning record. Tonight Tech lost their third straight game, all at home, to the team picked to finish 14th in the ACC. c-l-e-m-s-ohhh-n defeated Tech 56-49 fueled by a 7-0 run to finish the game in the final 90 seconds.
Hey! We broke the 4,000 attendance mark with 4,022 fans! Seriously, though, major props to the fans going to the games. (Joke: What’s the difference between a VT basketball crowd and an opera crowd… An opera crowd cheers at the end.)
I will say this, the Hokies (whom I predicted to win this game by a score of 5X to 4X instead of vice versa) actually played pretty well against the #1 defense in the nation in terms of points per game allowed (53 per coming in). Tech shot over 40% for the game, well above their average in ACC contests. And they fought back from a 49-43 deficit to tie the game at 49 on a Ben Emelogu 3-pointer with 1:49 to play. But on the ensuing possession Adonis Filer-of-fish converted a controversial 3-point play (why controversial, you ask? Well, Rod Hall caught the inbounds with both feet in the front court and then leaped into the back court to start the possession, then the refs gave Filer 2 steps of continuation on the 3-point play — JvZ’s 5th foul of the game). But that’s besides the point — once again this JJ led team found a way to lose late… at home.
The Hokies are now just 7-5 in the Cassell this season. While that may not sound that bad, keep this in mind — in the 50+ years of the Cassell, Tech has had a losing record at home just once. ONCE. And Tech just lost to a 4-11 team at home and the team picked to finish 14th. With 6 home games to go, that doesn’t bode well for the Hokies to finish on the plus side of .500 (need 3 more wins) or even at .500 (need to go 2-4).
Anyway, back to this game. How did we lose, you ask? Well, here you go:
- Devin Wilson: Swimming through a pool of sharks would be easier for him than hitting a free throw right now. He went 2/8 from the line tonight… for the 2nd straight game. Yep, he’s 4/16 (25%) from the line in the last two games… Games VT lost by 3 and 7 respectively.
- Free Throws, Part 2: Tech was 4/14 from the line tonight, and one of them was banked in. If I need to clarify why that’s bad then…
- 3-Pointers: Tech was 2/8 from deep in the 2nd half and 5/16 (31%) for the game. So much for #1 in the nation.
- Did Senior Night already happen? No Raines tonight (again) and Jarell Eddie was 1/6 (including 1/5 on 3s) for 3 points. Jarell is now 6/29 (21%) on FGs and 3/16 (19%) on 3s for 19 points in his last 3 games (he was averaging 17 ppg before this stretch).
- Speed Limit 59: Tech has yet to eclipse the 60 point mark in regulation in an ACC game.
- After scoring 10 points in a span of 3:04 in the first half, the Hokies went more than 6 minutes and 30 seconds without a point (0/9 FGs). A 9-0 run put clemson up 16-10.
- In the 2nd half with Tech up 36-30, the Hokies went 5 minutes without a field goal (and just 1 point total) as clemson went on a 10-0 run to go up 40-36. VT never led after that point.
- Raines: 0 minutes; Wood: 0 minutes
Here are your shooting stats for the game:
- In the Paint:
- 1st half: 6/12 (started out 2/8)
- 2nd half: 6/8 (at one point made 9 in a row!)
- Total: 12/20 (60%)
- Midrange Jumpers:
- 1st half: 1/6
- 2nd half: 2/6
- Total: 3/12 (25% — that’s, um, not good)
- 1st half: 3/8
- 2nd half: 2/8
- Total: 5/16 (31% — you live by the 3, you die…)
- FREE Throws (emphasis on the free):
- 1st half: 1/2
- 2nd half: 3/12
- Total: 4/14 (29% — THIS is why we are the worst team in the ACC. IT’S A FREE THROW, PEOPLE!)
- Tech is 16/35 from the line (46%) in their last 2 games.
- In short, last game we couldn’t make a layup to save our life. Today, it was a free throw. You become the worst team in the league by finding ways to lose by [stinking] at very simple things, like layups and free throws.
It wasn’t all bad, though:
- Turnovers: just 9 total — 4th straight game with less than 10!!!
- JvZ tied a career high with 11 points (8 in the first half) and showed the ability to hit a hook shot and create off the dribble! But he was 1/4 on FTs and the one was a bank… the other 3 hit the back iron — maybe step back a foot?)
- Love the ‘Logu: I really like Ben Emelogu more and more each game. Now, K.J. McDaniels stripped him twice tonight, but that guy is the Dominique Wilkins of this conference. He is a FREAK athlete. On offense, it looked like K.J. was on a T1 and Jarell Eddie was on dial-up (nerd humor).
- Beyer really contributes when he’s out there — he had 4 points and 7 rebounds in 26 minutes tonight but it is the 50/50 balls he helps Tech get that means the most. Love this guy.
Devin Wilson led the Hokies with 14 points, including his 4th and 5th 3-pointer of the season. Ben Emelogu and Joey van Zegeren added 11 each.
This was a very cleanly played game for the most part between two evenly matched terrible teams. Neither team led by more than 6 (both led by that amount at some point), until the final margin when clemson went up 7. And at one point in the 2nd half the game went 5 minutes and 30 seconds without a whistle. The under-12 timeout in the 2nd half didn’t come until 6:37 to go in the game.
And, last but not least… JJ’s Head-Scratchers:
- JJ called a timeout with 1:30 left in the 1st half and 15 on the shot clock. What did VT do afterwards? Smith dribbled until clemson knocked it out of bounds. Then… he dribbled it some more until clemson forced a jumpball with 2 on the shot clock. And Tech had to huck up a shot on the inbounds to beat the shot clock. Great play design!
- The Hokies, down 3, fouled clemson’s best foul shooter, K.J. McDaniels, 80-feet from the hoop with 55 seconds to go. Uh, pressure and make him pass?
That said, I did like the 2-3 zone from JJ to start the 2nd half. It seemed to throw off clemson a bit. But let’s face it, losses are losses. We aren’t at rock bottom yet… that could come next Wednesday. In the mean time, see you at South Bend, IN on Sunday at 6 PM on ESPNU ACC Sunday Night Hoops!