The Hokies completed their regular season by setting the record for most ACC regular season losses, falling 62-51 at georgia tech. Tech notched their 16th ACC loss, the first time an ACC team has lost that many in the regular season. Granted, this is just the 2nd year of an 18-game ACC regular season, and past ACC teams have gone 0-14 and wake went 1-15 three years ago, but this still is obviously not a record you wish to own. Tech is now just 1-16 in 2014.
Joey van Zegeren notched a career high 21 points for the Hokies but it wasn’t enough. It was to see the big Dutchman playing well. He had surpassed his previous career high of 14 (set against maryland earlier this week) with more than 15 minutes still to go in the game! Heck, he even hit 3/5 FTs, well above his 36% FT%! But Joey had absolutely no help offensively for the first 30 minutes of the game and that ultimately did in the Hokies as the jackets started to shred their 2-3 zone.
For the most part, this looked like a game between two teams with no postseason aspirations walking through the motions and killing time until they get eliminated from the ACC Tournament. Tech and tech both played uninspired ball until a couple of alley-oop dunks got the jackets, and their crowd, into the game in the 2nd half. The simple fact was their lifeless effort was more productive than ours, and so they won.
Ben Emelogu was back and played 27 minutes, but clearly wasn’t at full strength. He rarely attacked the basket and settled for 3-pointers (3/8 on FGs, 2/6 on 3s for 6 points). Barksdale, Raines, and Smith were all out with injuries and VT only played 7 guys until the last minute.
|FGs||20/53 (38%)||24/49 (49%|
|3s||6/23 (26%)||6/19 (32%)|
|FTs||5/9 (56%)||8/11 (73%)|
|Scorer||JvZ – 21||Carter – 16|
|Longest FG Drought||Final 4:30 of the game|
Note: The Hokies finished with a Points Per Possession (PPP) of better than 1.0 just once this season in their 18 ACC games. According to Cvillehoops13 of TSL, that’s some kind of a record. I do know this, in a season where points are as high as they’ve been in years, that’s not a good thing. Tech had a PPP of 0.77 in the first half before a nice run midway through the 2nd half pulled it up to at least a non-embarrassing 0.91 for the game, but still well below 1.0.
Well, when you are right 23% of the time, it means you are either a below average baseball hitter or a terrible predictor. I’m the latter. I picked the Hokies to win this game largely because:
- georgia tech isn’t good and hadn’t won consecutive ACC games all year (they won earlier this week at syracuse)
- VT has owned the jackets, going 10-4 vs gt before today in ACC games, including 4-2 in the ATL
- I’m dumb (and didn’t account for how much better this gt team is with big man Robert Carter back — he had 16 points on 7/9 FGs to lead the jackets)
For the 2nd game in a row, VT gave up a layup in the final seconds of the first half when they should have had the last shot. Today marked the 9th straight game the Hokies have failed to reach the 30 point mark in the first half. georgia tech led 29-22 at the half. And just like on Tuesday, this game was lost in the first 10 minutes after the break.
the Hokies’ “offense” completely fell apart in the 2nd half:
- Tech had 8 points in the first 7:45 of the 2nd half… all 8 were on Joey van Zegeren dunks. That’s right, 0 points not on dunks through almost 8 minutes of play.
- No one other than JvZ had more than 3 points through the first 27:45 of the game (like I said, JvZ had no help)
- Tech started just 2/14 from 3-point range
- georgia tech, up 32-26 with 17:57 left, went on a 12-2 run to blow the game apart and take a 44-28 lead with 13:27 to go.
Tech did not shoot well other than van Zegeren:
- Jarell Eddie started 1/8 on FGs for the game and finished 2/10 for 5 points (and 8 rebounds)
- Devin Wilson started 1/7 on FGs and finished just 2/8 for 6 points
- Only two Hokies made more than 2 FGs for the game… Ben Emelogu with 3 FGs and JvZ with 9
- Only 3 Hokies shot FTs for the game — Wilson 1/2, Thompson 1/2, and JvZ 3/5 (you know it is bad when Joey has your highest FT% for a game)
- Tech shot 4 airballs in this game, including two on the same possession that led to a shot clock violation
One particular stretch was really a microcosm of the entire season. With VT down 13 and 11 minutes to go, here’s how it played out:
- VT had the ball for an inbounds under their own hoop — Marshall Wood made a horrible pass that forced Devin Wilson to fall out of bounds and turn the ball over. An inbounds!
- gt got an alley-oop dunk on the resulting possession (by Georges-Hunt)
- VT came up the court and fumbled the ball, resulting in another turnover.
- gt pushed the ball and got an alley-oop dunk (this time by Carter)
- VT, down 17, had to launch a fadeaway 3-pointer as the shot clock expired on the next possession. It bricked, leading to another turnover.
- gt got an easy baseline jumper to go up 19
After that, the Hokies finally woke up (or perhaps gt fell asleep). Tech scored on four straight possessions to cut the jackets’ lead to 10 at 54-44 (an 11-2 run). But again, when you go down by 19 with under 10 minutes to go, it is just too late.
The Hokies would later get it down to 8 at 58-50 with 4:30 to go, but could manage just 1 point in the final 4:30. Heck, they almost went a full game without a 4 minute FG drought, but alas, this is the Hokies.
And you just scratch your head at the lack of urgency from this team down the stretch…
- Coming out of the under-4 timeout at the end of the game and with the Hokies down 11, they held the ball until finally losing the ball out of bounds with 4 left on the shot clock — Tech hadn’t even gotten the ball inside the 3-point line at that point!
- Down 12 with gt in possession of the ball and 2:19 to go, VT didn’t trap or foul
- Same scenario with 1:45 to go, same result (Dino Gaudio, calling the game, even commented he didn’t understand this)
In other words, the Hokies had given up and couldn’t get to their plane fast enough and get to the bars of Blacksburg.
The game actually started out going just the way VT needed it to. georgia tech started just 1/10 from 3-point range, settling for outside jumpers against the zone. But VT couldn’t really take advantage of the slow jacket started and led just 18-16 with 4:24 to go in the first half.
Finally gt started hitting 3-pointers and made 4 of their next 5 from deep to start pulling away. But the biggest difference was their inside presence. Their two biggest low post players, Daniel Miller (who has been at gt since the Bobby Cremins era) and Robert Carter combined to shoot 13/16 from the field and score 30 points. They found the soft spots in the zone at the high post or on the baseline underneath the hoop to beat Tech’s defense.
With miami’s win over wake forest, the Hokies will get to face the canes for a third time on Wednesday at 3:30 PM in the #10/#15 game of ACC Tournament Opening Day. Tech swept miami in the regular season for their only 2 ACC wins.