The Hokies (1-8, 8-13) dropped their 8th straight game and fell to 0-5 at home (Quarry Coliseum) in ACC play in front of 5,110 fans by a 80-60 score to maryland (5-4, 13-5) in the final meeting in Blacksburg between the teams as ACC foes. Just when you think VT has hit rock bottom, they get out their shovels and dig some more Hokiestone to make the quarry a little deeper. Whit – you aren’t in the Queen City anymore, enjoy your Skyline chili while you can because these turkey legs are tasting rotten.
The Hokies actually came out and played with some life in the first half for the first time in five games and it looked like Tech might have a chance at their 2nd ACC win, perhaps inspired by the fact AD-to-be Whit Babcock was seeing the team in person for the first time. But any thoughts of a Hokie ‘W’ quickly faded after the break.
The Hokies trailed by 8 at the half (43-35) and cut the lead to 47-40 in the first couple of minutes. After that, the terps went on a 15-1 run over the next 6:40 and closed the book on this game, going ahead 62-41. The Baby Jakes (Wilson, Emelogu, and Thompson) spurred a brief run to cut the lead to 16. Hopefully you stopped watching then because maryland used another 13-4 run to make it 79-54. The Hokies went more than 8 minutes with just 1 field goal in the latter part of the game until Ben Emelogu hit a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left, allowing maryland to get up by as many as 25.
What is Rock Bottom? It is this…
- The Hokies went 6:40 without a FG early in the 2nd half and then made just 1 FG from the 8:40 mark to go until 27 seconds to go. That’s against the ACC’s 14th ranked defense.
- This game marked the 4th straight game VT has trailed by 20+ points
- This was the 3rd straight game VT has lost in Reverse Bear Fight fashion (20+).
- Tech has lost 5 of 11 games by 20+
- Tech has shot 60% or worse from the free throw line in 8 of 9 ACC games (JvZ was 2/7 today which actually raised his FT% in ACC play)
- VT has shot under 38% from the field in 4 straight games and in 7 of 9 ACC games
- The Hokies were 12/46 (26%) combined on FGs in the 2nd half of their two games this week… against the two worst defenses in the ACC
The lone bright spot today for Tech was Ben Emelogu. He had 21 points (just short of the 22 he had vs wvu) on 7/12 FGs, 3/6 three-pointers, and 4/4 FTs. And his points weren’t all in garbage time, he had 12 in the first half when the game was close.
The flip side of Emelogu was Mr. Eddie. Some days Jarell Eddie is good, and some days he isn’t. Today was Bad Eddie: he went 0/9 from the field and 0/5 from 3-point range (and just 2/4 on FTs), finishing with 2 points. Apparently his 23 point outburst at boston college was a one-time thing.
Devin Wilson also had a second straight rough game. He was just 2/6 from the floor for 6 points. After averaging 18 ppg in the 4 games before this week, Devin scored just 11 total points this week and had just 5 total assists. Hopefully he gets back on track this week.
After playing the ACC’s two worst ranked defenses this week (bc and maryland), I think the Hokies left no doubt who actually has the most abysmal defense. The Hokies allowed the terps to shoot 52% from the field for the game and 53% from behind the arc (8/15).
Meanwhile, maryland came in ranked last in the ACC in FG% allowed (47%) and 3-point % allowed (40%). Tech shot just 37% from the field and 4/16 (25%) from 3-point range. And to boot, VT hit just 16/27 free throws (59%).
The first half did have some excitement on offense for Tech. The Hokies used 3 steals and 5 maryland turnovers to get 8 fast break points in the first 8 minutes of the game. To put this in perspective, VT only had 13 combined fast break points in their four home games in all of January. But, then the Hokies returned to form. They scored one more fast break bucket an acrobatic Will Johnston layup late in the first half, but scored 0 fast break points in the 2nd half (maryland had 15 for the game).
Devin Wilson finished an and-1 with 9:30 to go, putting Tech up 21-15, tying their largest lead in an ACC game all season and you saw life in the team and crowd. But maryland responded with 12 points in a span of 2:17 to take a 27-21 lead. Yep, another 12-0 run, and on just five possessions by the terps.
The Hokies had a chance to tie the game at 37 with a minute to go before the break, but Joey van Zegeren missed two free throws (making him 1/5 from the line in the first half… plus he missed the front end of a 1-and-1 so really 1/6). The terps drained two 3-pointers in the final minute and took an 8 point lead to the locker room.
The Hokies have now been outscored by 69 points in the first half of their last five games.
At least the Hokies won’t lose at home this week, Tech is on the road for both games, at fsu Wednesday (where VT has never won in ACC play) and at pitt Saturday.
Tip for JJ: People often think a press forces the game to be up-tempo, but that isn’t always true and depends on the type of press. I know we don’t have much depth, but with a semi-soft three-quarters court press, you don’t expend a ton of energy. Plus it would take advantage of our length on defense. That’s why it is frustrating to never see Tech pressure despite JJ’s claims VT would be a pressing team when he got the job. maryland used their three-quarters court trap to slow down the Hokies offense. On 4 of Tech’s first 8 possessions the Hokies took the shot clock under 10 seconds before getting into their offense and getting the ball inside the 3-point line. Don’t you think that would help the defensively challenged Hokies on that end? TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT! If we are getting blown out giving up wide open 3s every game, maybe try a press, even if it isn’t an aggressive full court press. Just give the opponent a different look and slow them down. And even if they shred the press, at least they’ll only get a 2-point dunk and not an easy 3. I mean, how much more could we lose by?
JJ in over his head moment of the game: With 9:30 left and VT down 16 (and the game decided), Evan Smotrycz swung an elbow and then tried to girl-push Trevor Thompson (after Trevor accidentally put Evan in a headlock… trust me). It wasn’t that bad but it still looked unsportsmanlike. Tech had just made a mini-run, and needed to know their coach had their back. It was time for JJ to make a scene. I’m not talking stomp around a child and throw a temper tantrum, especially in front of your new boss. But at least get a ways out on the court and tell the refs point blank we won’t take that crap. Maybe you get T’d up, maybe you don’t. Either way, we were going to lose. But at least it would have sent a message, like Seth did when he got ejected at Cameron Indoor in our first season in the ACC (and our team took off in the following games). JJ did talk with the refs and plead his case, but he’s too passive. If you want your guys to play with fire in their bellies, you have to show some at times, too, and this was the chance to do it (and for them, not at their expense). He just isn’t a head coach. Period.
Random Thought: Can we go a week without having an announcer crew that features an alum of our opponent? Corey Alexander last week and tim brant this week. brant actually said “10,000 people bought tickets for this game” at one point and “it’s a late arriving crowd” earlier. Um, yeah, we know.
Also, I’m now 0-for-TechHoops.com on guarantees (I guaranteed Tech would win a game this week). I clearly overestimated this bunch.
Favorite maryland @ VT Memories from the ACC:
I actually have two, and neither were today. I’ve always hated maryland and their obnoxious fans who are often just plain dumb when it comes to talking trash. It stinks to think we lost to them at home in football and basketball in their final ACC season, but at least these two memories were awesome:
- HOKIES 86, maryland 76 – 3/5/2005. In the regular season finale of Tech’s inaugural ACC season, Tech defeated the more talented terps and evened their ACC record at 8-8 to clinch the #4 seed and a bye in the ACC Tournament. What a shocking season it had been, and this was the capper.
- The Ice Bowl: HOKIES 67, maryland 64 (OT) – An ice storm crippled SW VA but the game went on – on Sunday Night Hoops. The Tech Administration let students flood the arena and it ended up being closed to capacity and loud as can be (imagine that — having students in the best seats). The Hokies took this game in overtime on their way to a NCAA Tournament invite.
- Honorable Mention: maryland 104, VT 100 (2 OT) — a beer truck hit a fire hydrant and this game was delayed about 4 hours. And with overtime, it went well into the night. There was no water in the building so I had to pee outside at halftime… on a TV truck… next to a current VT football assistant coach. I also drank a whole bottle of salad dressing before the game on a bet (I won, but I paid).