VICTORY!!! And for yours truly, victory Scotch! (see picture — in honor of our 10 game losing streak it is a 10 year old Scotch… nah, let’s move on up to 18 year old Johnnie Walker Platinum!)
I had a good feeling about tonight (although this isn’t the first time I’ve said that), and it proved right! The Hokies snapped their 10 game losing streak and picked up their first win of 2014 with a clean sweep of the miami hurricanes, 52-45 at the Cassell on Saturday (won if football – check; won in bball twice — check). With the win, VT avoids falling below .500 at home this year (8-7). Tech must win 1 of their final 3 home games to avoid just their 2nd losing season at the Cassell in 53 years.
First of all, let me say how proud I am of the guys and happy they won tonight in front of 5,105 of the best fans in the world (there was a spirited student crowd there — but I’m sure it had nothing to do with the chance to win a free Spring Break trip). Last Saturday was a heartbreaker and I’m glad the Baby Jakes could feel the sweet taste of victory tonight. And congrats to JJ. Yes, I want him fired at seasons end, but I’m glad he got the guys focused again tonight and got a win.
The Hokies won largely due to one reason: miami put on the worst shooting exhibit I have ever seen for the first 29 minutes (and despite the fact Tech wasn’t lighting it up, VT kept a comfortable lead throughout):
- miami started the game 1/14
- miami went almost 8 minutes in the first half without a point (VT went on a 9-0 run to go up 17-5)
- The u shot 18.5% on FGs in the first half
- The canes were 3/17 from 3-point range (17.6%) in the first half
- The u went more than 6 minutes without a point in the 2nd half
- miami had just 3 points (all on the same shot) in the first 9 minutes of the 2nd half
- With 11 minutes to go in the game they were shooting 15% from the field
- miami shot 26% from the field for the game and 21% from deep (7/34)
Keep in mind VT was dead last in the ACC in 3-point % defense in ACC play coming in (39%) but held miami to almost half that.
And if you had the under you were sitting pretty:
- It was 19-15 at the half.
- Tech led 27-18 with 11 minutes to go
- VT went scoreless from the 14:45 mark of the 2nd half for more than 4 minutes… and yet miami didn’t score either.
I.e. it wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it.
C.J. Barksdale was the key tonight. He’s been Tech’s best plus/minus player for the last two years, and tonight he went 5/9 from the field (including 2/3 on 3s) for 12 points in his first game in almost 3 weeks. He had 7 points in a 4 minute span after entering the game midway through the first half to help Tech jump out to their lead.
Oh, and I guess because CJB was back, Raines didn’t play. (Can’t have more than one upperclassmen big play, right?!)
The Hokies went ahead 17-5 early, marking their first double-digit lead in ACC play this season.
The two teams were ice cold in the first half — they combined to shoot 55% (if you combined their individual FG%s).
The Hokies did NOT make a free throw in the first half for the third straight game (0/1). But Tech was 12/19 in the 2nd half from the line, good enough to hold onto the win. miami was 8/17 (47%) from the line.
Jarell Eddie did not score in the first half as the Hokies went young but finished with 7 points.
Devin Wilson had 12 points to match Barksdale’s 12, although Devin was 2/9 from the field (8/11 on FTs). Wilson just missed a double-double with 9 assists and now just needs 5 assists to set the VT freshman record.
Here’s how the Baby Jakes did:
- Wilson (12 points, 9 assists)
- Thompson (8 points, 12 rebounds)
- Emelogu (9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block)
The Baby Jakes had a very good game and combined for 96 minutes. JJ is trying to sell his futures.
The Hokies shot 37% for the game but were 6/15 (40%) from deep.
Tech led wire to wire, the canes never led in the game.
Garrius Adams (miami) had 13 points to lead all scorers (albeit on 4/12 shooting and 0/5 on 3s). Rion Brown, their best player, had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards, but he was just 4/16 on FGs and 3/12 on 3s.
Random Thought: This game was a Blackout. Did we wear black? No. They did. That’s as poor of planning and as dumb as can be.
I’ll say in one more time — WINNING IS AWESOME! Now let’s beat those dang 12-1 hoos on Tuesday night at the Cassell at 9 PM!