It was the T.J. Warren Show at Saturday at Cassell Coliseum as the nc state wolfpack evened their record in ACC play at 7-7 behind 31 points from the ACC’s leading scorer. state was simply too athletic for the short-handed Hokies.
With the loss in front of 5,268 at the Cassell (VT’s 2nd largest crowd in ACC play), Tech is now 8-9 at home on the season with one game to go next Saturday versus the red hot unc tar heels. The Hokies have now clinched not having a winning record at home for just the 3rd time in the 53 year history of the Cassell. One other time they finished .500, which they could do with an upset next Saturday, or they’ll produce their 2nd ever losing season at home with a loss, matching the 2000-01 Hokies.
|FGs||26/64 (41%)||18/42 (43%)|
|3-Ptrs||4/24 (17%)||6/18 (33%)|
|FTs||15/25 (60%)||22/37 (60%)|
|Leading Scorer||Warren – 31||Wilson/Eddie – 14|
|Longest FG Drought||8:08|
|Pts Per Possession||1.02||0.99|
T.J. Warren, a sophomore and former 5-star recruit that was a bit of a disappointment last year, came in leading the ACC in PPG at 23 per contest (almost 4 points ahead of #2) and he was too much for Tech to guard. After hitting two early 3-pointers, he shredded the Tech 2-3 zone with runner after runner from 6-12′ on his way to 31 points on 12/21 shooting, 3 short of his career high 34 he had at home vs (shocker) wake forest.
Warren was the recipient of many of Tyler Lewis’s 11 assists (he had 9 assists just in the first half). Lewis looks like he belongs on The Big Bang Theory more than an ACC basketball court, but beat the defensively challenged Hokies off the dribble easily today.
The Hokies came in having playing three great games in a row, but winning just one. Today was not a fourth straight great effort. We should note that Tech was without Adam Smith as usual, but also Ben Emelogu and Cadarian Raines were out with ankle issues. That left Tech with just one scholarship guard available today. Will Johnston had to play the off-guard and logged 33 minutes (he’d sit whenever he got as red as the state uniforms). Jarell Eddie ran point for the 1 minute Devin Wilson sat today.
Don’t let the final score fool you — nc state was in control of this game for the entire 25 minutes, usually leading by 8 to 12 points. The Hokies never got closer than 6 after the 5-minute mark of the first half until the final minute of the game, with state leading by as many as 15 with 7:23 to go. Tech simply didn’t have the energy they had on Tuesday versus uva and played pretty lethargic basketball (JJ included who on at least two occasions should have either gotten a T or let the refs know they made a bad call). While the final margin was just 7, nc state simply is not a good team outside of T.J. Warren. They have some athletes but they are not very skilled. They have almost no shooters — after Warren hit his first two 3-pointers, state went 2/22 from deep the rest of the game and were just 4/24 (17%) overall from deep). Tech simply had no one who could guard the 6’8″ Warren (who is basically a ‘3/wing’).
Tech did scrap until the end, though, but just couldn’t take advantage of late chances. They missed a layup under the basket down 7 with 2:30 to go, then after getting an offensive rebound the next possession, missed a 3 that would have cut the lead to 3 with 1:40 to go. Barksdale had an open look at a 3 with Tech down 5 and 30 seconds to go, but again, the Hokies couldn’t hit and state put the game away from the line.
Tech lost for a few key reasons:
- No one athletic enough to guard T.J. Warren. Devin Wilson was on him a lot when Tech wasn’t in the zone, but Devin gives up several inches and just is not a good on-ball defender (no one is on VT).
- Tech was just 22/37 (59.5%) from the foul line. Even worst, their bigs were a combined 7/17 including 3/9 by van Zegeren. Eddie and Wilson were 14/17 while everyone else was 8/20.
- The Hokies committed 17 turnovers. It marked just the 2nd time they’ve had more than 14 in their last 8 games.
- Tech shot very poorly outside the charge circle in the paint for the first 29 minutes…
Tech did not shoot well early today. Here are a few (not so) fun facts:
- With 11 minutes to go in the game, Tech had just 3 made FGs outside of the paint for 8 total points.
- Tech went more than 8 minutes without a field from the final 6 minutes of the first half through the first 2 minutes of the 2nd half.
- The Hokies went more than 11-and-a-half minutes without a field goal that wasn’t a dunk in that same span.
Here is the scoring breakdown for VT:
- Free Throws: 22
- 3-pointers: 6 for 18 points
- Dunks: 4
- Tip-ins/layups: 5
- Other shots in the paint: 2
- (Total points in the paint: 11 FGs for 22)
- Midrange shots: 1 for 2 points
Some bright spots for Tech:
- Devin Wilson had 14 points and 9 assists. For the 3 game home stand he had 39 points and 23 assists (13/8 per game — pretty darn good). He already owns the VT freshmen record for assists in a season. He did have 5 turnovers though.
- Trevor Thompson had 9 points and 9 rebounds, including a couple of monster dunks over nc state defenders (one 2-handed, one 1-handed). Unfortunately, he added 4 turnovers.
- Jarell Eddie hit 3/6 three-pointers and 5/6 FTs and had 6 rebounds for 14 points.
- Tech actually got what they wanted on defense from the 2-3 zone. nc state shot 24 three-pointers, well above their season average, and made just 4.
- Also, Tech barely missed averaging a point per possession. In fact, with just one more made free throw, they’ve have surpassed it. According to Cvillehoops13 on TSL, they’ve surpassed 1 point per possession in ACC play just once this season.
- From Cvillehoops13: “The Hokies have only reached 1 point per possession in 1 ACC game this year. If that holds the remainder of the schedule they will be the first ACC team in the shot clock era to not get to 1 ppp in at least two conference games – that despite playing more conf games than many of those teams and in a year when points per possession is at an all time high since the shot clock.”
Tech trailed 35-25 at the half.
The Hokies return to action on Tuesday at duke at 7 PM on ESPNU.