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maryland 80 (5-4, 13-5), HOKIES 60 (1-8, 8-13) – Welcome to the Quarry!


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 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).

This post was written by:

- who has written 1284 posts on Tech Hoops.

Niemo is a member of the VT Class of '98. While not a professional journalist by any stretch, Niemo analyzes and breaks down every minute of Hokie hoop action. He also researches topics of interest such as Hokie recruits, program revenue, statistical data on the team, previews VT opponents, and discusses his favorite bourbons/Scotches. In addition to his passion for Hokie hoops, Niemo has attended 126 straight VT football home games (every game since '94), eclipsing the 100 mark in September of '09 and recently attended his 20th consecutive VT/uva game. During the final home basketball game of his senior year, he was brought onto the court and was awarded 2 passes to the Atlantic 10 Basketball Tournament in Philly during a timeout for being a "Super Fan" during his time at VT. The Hokie Bird made the award on behalf of Athletic Director Jim Weaver. Niemo was known to be in the front row of every home game with his familiar red afro hairdo.

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18 Responses to “maryland 80 (5-4, 13-5), HOKIES 60 (1-8, 8-13) – Welcome to the Quarry!”

  1. InBabcockwetrust says:

    Good riddance Weaver. For all the he has done, he sure dig a deep hole for our new AD. We had this team going in the right direction when we first entered the ACC and Greenberg did a good job of making them competitive in almost every game given the talent he had. Spending half a second to actually think about the impact of hiring a lifetime assistant could have potentially saved this program from the abyss that it has fallen to. May be another 10 years before we can sweat out another selection sunday only to have our dreams crushed again with another NIT bid. It’s safe to say that I would take that in a heartbeat now over watching some of the worst basketball I have ever seen in my life. Good luck Mr. Babcock, you have quite a job ahead of you.

    • Pat Leonard says:

      I don’t know if it makes much of a difference that the team stinks this year (last year and the year before as well). It’s always been (and likely always will be) a job that is unattractive to established high-major coaches, but very attractive to successful mid-major coaches. Babcock just needs to choose the right up-and-coming head coach to fill the position.

  2. Drew says:

    I’d just like to point out the double screen along the baseline to “free up” a shooter is utterly useless. I’ve seen it in other games but it was more apparent with Maryland in that the defender simply splits both screens and runs exactly to where the shooter is going. Half the time he even beats our guy to the spot. You’d think we’d catch on to this and run a counter off of it. But you’d be wrong. We just keep running it over and over with no results.

    • Niemo says:

      Very true. A good coach will teach his shooters to stop running and cut back to the hoop for an easy layup at times if they are reading this happening. Can’t really do that with Will but could with Jarell.

      Also, watch the teams that get open threes — they do it by running high screens off the ball (like uva and bc did), or by pushing the ball to get the defense on their heels and driving towards the lane and then as the defense collapses, kicking it out (like maryland).

      • H-SCokie says:

        that double screen is so obvious as to what is happening. Everybody knows what the first option is on that play and what to take away. Why on earth we wouldn’t be running Eddie off those screens as a decoy and rolling one of the screeners off the other one towards the basket is beyond me. Just take a look at UVA’s game winner against Pitt. A perfect play where the first option wasn’t the main option of the play.

        Or how about setting screens for Wilson with Emelogu or maybe Eddie? Seems like we could do a much better job of generating some penetration with two decent ball handlers and someone capable of actually doing something with the ball when we slip screen it. As it stands, we slip screen with JVZ and what the hell is he going to do with the ball 18ft from the basketball? He sure as hell isn’t shooting and he sure as hell isnt dribbling.

  3. HipHop_Hokie says:


    Doe-Doe is loving life at Florida
    Trez is killin it at Lville
    Seth is happy as can be at ESPN

    …and we are the worst team in the largest ACC conference that there’s ever been.

    Quarry indeed.

    • jp_daddi0 says:

      Don’t forget that former Tech players Ty Garland and Ben Boggs made the NCAA tourney last year with different programs (La Salle and Valpo, respectively) after transferring.

      To think that our roster this year could have included Dorian Finney-Smith, Montrezl Harrell (looking like a future 1st rounder), Allen Cheaney, and Donte Clark…

      • Pat Leonard says:

        Chaney ended his basketball career after a defibrillator scare this year, so I’m not sure what good it would have done him or the Hokies for him to be on the roster at the beginning of the year.

      • Les says:

        They needed Len who’s now in the pros. He would’ve been here instead of Van Zegeren. A frontcout of Len, Harrell, and Finney-Smith (at his preferred small forward position) would’ve been backed up by Raines, Eddie, and Barksdale.

  4. Andre Marcus says:

    Clearly, and do mean this team clearly is missing fundamentals. Instead of having the Navy Seals come in for team building and training how about spending a few practices working on free throws or learning to not panic during a press or learning to inbound the ball…just saying.

  5. Chris says:

    I’ve been trying to hold back criticism as much as I can… but this is a very poorly-coached team. Our offensive “sets” are non-existent, we don’t fight through screens on defense, and the team lacks basic fundamentals. It’s not all on J.J. though… our best two players are true freshmen.

    I still don’t understand the Raines situation. He’s clearly our best post player and we hardly ever go to him when he’s actually in the game, as brief as that usually is. JVZ can block some shots but he is one of the most unskilled big men I have ever seen, and he makes Shaq look like Larry Bird at the charity stripe.

    I honestly don’t think this team will win another game this season. I realize that funds are limited for getting a new coach, but we’re officially in Ricky Stokes territory. Here’s to hoping Babcock wants to make a big splash with his first big move as AD; we need some life injected into this program.

  6. hooleyhoopty says:

    It’s not just that we are losing, it’s the way that we’re losing. We are getting destroyed. Even in Seth’s worst year, which was his last, we were very close in our losses and had tough luck go our way.

    • Niemo says:

      Correct – Seth’ last year most of our losses were 1 or 2 possession games. And keep in mind, we would have definitely gotten Harrell had Seth stayed (we wouldn’t have released him from his LOI). Not sure if Doo Doo would have stayed or not, and Green might have left, but either way, we’d at least be playing defense now. That said, I would have been in favor of us letting him go after last season had we not made the NCAAs (just once in 10 years).

      • Les says:

        It’s funny how Green instantly became a bad defender once Greenberg left and the excuse was he needed to conserve himself for offense. The guards don’t stop dribble penetration and don’t fight the screens. What more is there to do?
        I would’ve kept Greenberg if he could win 8 ACC regular season games the next year. Odds of that were probably much less than 50-50 and odds of winning at least 10 to make the NCAA’s was virtually nil. Hence, the coaching staff flew the coop with that latter ultimatum issued by Weaver.
        If the next coach turns out to be a real success, Weaver may have inadvertently stumbled into fast program rebuild by forcing it to crash and burn in 1-2 years.

        • hooleyhoopty says:

          Yeah, Seth had turned VT into a respectable program. One in which people were actually interested in coaching. I’m not so sure it will be nearly as attractive the next go around.

        • Niemo says:

          Les, IMO Green was never a good on-ball defender. He was good at being a “free safety” — reading passes and intercepting them. So I wouldn’t say he became worse under JJ. I’d say his lack of on-ball defense became more visible because the help defense is so much worse under JJ.

  7. Blue Collar Hokie says:

    you drank a whole bottle of salad dressing? what kind? i’m hoping it was something like italian or vinagrette and not ranch or thousand island. either way that probably didnt make you feel as bad as covering this team.

    • Niemo says:

      It was Italian. The bet was to drink half, but I doubled up my winnings. It was Hokie Celebration Day so I believe spirits were flowing, so you are right, I doubt it was more painful than this (and at least that pain went away after a night).


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