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Highlights: Hokies 65, alabama a&m 55

The Hokies snap their two game losing streak and defeat the bulldogs 65-55 in front of fewer than 3,600 fans at the Cassell.  Since most of us weren’t there, here are the highlights!

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Game Post: HOKIES (5-4) 65, alabama a&m (1-6) 55

Recap:

Boxscore

Score at each media timeout

Score at each media timeout

It wasn’t as easy as hoped for, but the Hokies managed to hold on and win 65-55 over an alabama a&m team that hasn’t beaten a NCAA team this season in front of fewer than 3,600 fans at the Cassell.

Buzz sent a message in this game, sitting Devin Wilson, Malik Muller, and Jalen Hudson for the first 29 minutes of the game.  In their places, walk-ons Christian Beyer and Will Johnston got the nod, each playing the first 25 minutes of the game (I was wondering if Buzz was waiting for them to ring the bell to say they needed a break).  And Joey van Zegeren played just 2 minutes in the first half and just 10 for the contest.  Bibbs, Hill, Johnston, and Beyer all played the entire first half, with just starter Adam Smith subbing out.  In fact, Tech’s 3 returning players from a season ago totaled just 9 minutes of action in the first half.

Beyer responded in a big way with 13 points (5/7 FGs) and 9 rebounds, just missing a double-double but leading the Hokies in both columns.  Justin Bibbs was the only other Hokie in double digits with 11 and led VT with 4 assists.  Johnston added 8 points of his own.

van Zegeren and Wilson scored just 1 point each, and Smith added 7, meaning Tech’s 3 returnees had just 9 of their 65 points, while walk-ons went for 21.

The game was way too close for anyone’s liking (from a Tech standpoint) for the first 15 minutes.  With Tech trailing 20-19 with 5:49 to go in the first half, the Hokies went on a 17-0 run to close the half and take a 36-20 lead to the break.  The Hokies added a 3 to start the 2nd half and make it a 20-0 run.

The bulldogs fought back with a 9-2 run to close the gap to 43-31.  The game would stay around that margin most of the rest of the way.  alabama a&m was able to cut the lead to 6 at 52-46 with 7 minutes to go, but layups by Muller and Bibbs helped put some distance on the scoreboard.

Again, the bulldogs clawed back within 6 with 1:50 to go, but layups by Muller and Pierce put the game away and closed the scoring.

The Hokies dominated on turnover margin (+10) but were horrible from the line (10/20) and below average from deep (5/17 – 29%).  Luckily the bulldogs had all those turnovers and shot under 40% from the field and just 21% from deep.

Tech returns to action next Saturday at 1 PM vs the citadel from the Cassell.

Preview:

The Hokies are going to win Sunday!  I gare-uhn-tee it!  Hey, that’s exciting.  So expect highlights some time Sunday evening.

No, I’m not going to promise I’ll wear uva gear if we lose, or donate money to an American eagle preservation fund, but I am 99% sure we will win this game.  Bear Fight?  No way I’m predicting that, especially since I don’t drink on Sundays.  But the Hokies will win!

Tech may look rusty early given they haven’t played in a week and have been mired in finals, but expect the Hokies to have some hunger and come out fired up after several slow starts lately.  If this game isn’t over by halftime, that’s not a good sign.

Keys to the Game:

  • Show up (that’s about it for Tech to win)
  • but, we’d also like to see improvement with…
    • Rebounding: Tech has had a positive rebounding margin is just 2 games (both wins).  And VT is near the bottom of the ACC in almost every rebounding stat (14th in Defensive Rebounding % and 15th in Offensive Rebounding %).  If they can’t win the battle of the boards in this game, they’re in big trouble the rest of the season.
    • Turnovers: While Tech has had a positive turnover margin in 3 of their 4 losses and a negative one in 1 of their wins, it has been critical turnovers late in games that have bitten them, even in blowouts.  Since this game will be a blow-out, this likely won’t matter in the outcome but it would be nice to see guys like Jalen Hudson do a good job protecting the ball late in the game while Devin Wilson is sitting.  That will give him confidence as the season goes on.
    • I’m not mentioning free throws as this isn’t going to get much better over the course of the season.  I would like to see more front ends of one-and-ones made, but again, that probably won’t improve much.
    • Malik Muller: since scoring 24 points in his first 2 games, he’s scored just 19 total in the last 6.  He has a good shot and the physicality to attack the tin.  He needs to be more aggressive.  His defense (he’s great at intercepting passes) could help with this.
    • Adam Smith: Averaging 17 PPG in wins, and less than half that (8.25 PPG) in losses.
  • Note:
    • Joey van Zegeren: Has scored in double digits in 3 straight games.
    • Justin Bibbs: Has scored 8+ in all 8 games.  Is #1 in the ACC in 3-Point % at an amazing 64% (16/25)… Smith is 5th at 45% and 2.4 made per game.
    • Tech is #1 in the ACC in 3-Point % (44%) and 3rd in FG% (49%).  They aren’t in the top half of the league in any other stat other than Turnover Margin (6th).

The Opponent:

alabama a&m (I have no idea what their mascot is… oh, the bulldogs!) is a member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), made up of historically black colleges much like the MEAC (southern and grambling state are also members).  This conference is, well, not very good at basketball by D1 standards this year.  Of their 10 teams, none have a winning record.  Only one is better than 2-5 (that’s alabama state at 3-3).  And 7 of the 10 teams have exactly 1 win.  Heck, let’s pile on some more… the 10 teams combined are 14-61 (19%).  Hence why I guaranteed a victory.

The bulldogs have not beaten a D1 team this season.  In fact, they haven’t beaten a NCAA team yet.  Their lone win was over the oakwood (AL) ambassadors of the United States Collegiate Athletic Association.  In their 5 D1 games, they’ve:

  • Lost at dayton by 24
  • Lost at ga tech by 20
  • lost to jacksonville state by 6
  • lost at southeastern missori state by 34
  • lost at bowling green by 17

So they are coming off one of their better games of the year, only losing by 17!

Last season the bulldogs went 14-16 (10-8 in the SWAC + 1 win in the conference tourney… so 11 of their 14 wins were vs SWAC teams).

Key Players:

  • Ladarius Tabb – 12.2 PPG, 6.2 RPG – 6’5″ junior guard – had 24 vs bgsu and made 5/8 threes
  • Nicholas West – 11.5 PPG, 6.7 RPG – 6’10” junior forward

That’s it.  They average just 56 PPG and everyone else averages fewer 6 PPG and 3.5 RPG.  The bulldogs are two ‘threats’ (one inside, one outside) and a bunch of space fillers.

Tabb is the only bulldog with more than 4 made three-pointers (he’s 10/27 for 37%).

They commit 17 turnovers per game (that’s a high number).

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A Look at Former Hokies

Two weeks ago something very peculiar happened — two former college teammates played against each other in a college game where both players were their team’s leading scorer, but neither played for the school where they were teammates at.  I know, pretty confusing.  I’m referring to when florida (Doo-Doo Finney-Smith) met uab (Robert Brown) in a Thanksgiving tournament game in Atlantis.  Brown outscored Doo-Doo 12 to 6 that day, but flordia won as expected.

That game got me thinking about how all these various graduates, transfers of three head coaches in four years, and signed/un-signed guys are doing.  There were a few surprises for me, too.  Like, can you guess which former Hokie Dutchman is still playing professionally?  And which former Hokie is playing D2 basketball in Charlotte?

Hokies Playing Professionally in the United States:

Let’s start with the guys that are the easiest to track and that we don’t resent (i.e. transfers) — the former Hokie players that are earning dough continuing their basketball careers here in the USA:

  • Erick Green (NBA! Denver Nuggets): Just the 2nd Hokie to play in a NBA regular season game (Dowdell) in quite a while, Green has been towards the end of the bench for the Denver Nuggets but has seen some action… like in mop up duty of a Bear Fight loss to the Wizards here in DC last weekend.
    • 5 games played (out of 21): 3.2 PPG in 6.2 minutes per game and shooting 61.5%
  • Jarell Eddie (NBA D-League: Austin Spurs):  After playing with the Atlanta Hawks in the preseason, the Boston Celtics picked up Eddie off waivers and then assigned him the the D-League.  He started out red hot, hitting 60% of his 3-pointers and averaging 25 PPG.  That has tapered off a bit of late though (he was always Mr November at VT).
    • 19.3 PPG (16th best in the league… in case you are wondering, Brad Heslip (undrafted guard from baylor) leads the league at 33.3 PPG and makes more than 8 threes per game on average at a 55% clip!  Seth Curry is 3rd in the league at 25 PPG.)
    • Making 90% of his FTs and 52% of his 3s (3.7 makes per game)

Hokies Playing Abroad:

There were the guys I could find data on…

  • Malcolm Delaney (Russian league: Lokomotiv Kuban  — Krasnodar, Russia): After playing for Bayern Munich last year, Delaney won the Basketball Bundesliga MVP award (Dirk Nowitzki won this back in 1998-99 for the league’s best player).  Bayern won the German title and Delaney won the Finals MVP award.
    • 13.3 PPG
    • Makes almost 2 three-pointers per game at a 36% clip
    • Gets to the line 5 times per game (84%)
    • 4.8 APG and an almost 3:1 assist to turnover ratio.
    • Hitting almost 2 threes per game at 36%
  • Jeff Allen (Israeli league: Maccabi Haifa):
    • 14.6 PPG through 10 games (2nd on team)
    • 7.2 RPG (leads team)
    • 3 steals per game (leads team)
    • Team is in 10th place out of 12 teams
  • Zabian Dowdell (Belgian league: Belgacom Spirou, Charleroi): Since having a cup of coffee with the Phoenix Suns at the end of the 2011 season (24 games played), the Hokie from Pahokee has bounced around Europe the last four years (Spain, Russia, Lithuania, and now Belgium).  He was a Lithuanian league all-star last season.
    • 12.0 PPG in 6 games (4 starts)
    • 3.8 APG
    • 2 Steals per game
    • Team is in 5th place out of 11 teams (6-4)
  • Jamon Gordon (Turkish league: Darussafaka Dogus, Istanbul): The 2007 ACC Defensive Player of the Year has been a Hokie in Turkey (no pun needed) for a while, last season for Anadolu Efes Istanbul.  I’ve seen him  listed with Darussafaka in the Turkish league as Jamon Lucas (his middle name?) perhaps so as not to confuse him with Jamont Gordon of mississippi state, not Jamon, who is also on the team.
    • Scored 15 points, had 7 assists, 4 rebounds, and 2 steals in his 1 game to date I’ve seen stats for
    • Team is 7-2 and tied for first out of 16 games (Turkey loves basketball)
  • Robert Krabbendam (Dutch league: Challenge Sports Rotterdam): Yes, he’s still playing!  Winner of two Dutch titles and an Estonia title, Robert is still playing in his home Amsterdam.
    • 12.1 PPG in 12 games (7 starts)
    • 7.2 RPG
    • Team is in 6th place out of 9 teams
  • Deron Washington (No current team listed): After getting drafted in the 2008 NBA Draft in the 2nd round and bouncing around the D-League, NBA preseason, and NBA Summer Leagues (but never making it in a NBA regular season game), he headed to Europe to continue his career.  He played for Pistoia in the Italian A League last year
  • Dorenzo Hudson (No current team listed): Played for Science City Jena in the German A League last year, averaging 17.4 PPG in 31 games.

Former/Almost Hokies in College:

  • Montrezl Harrell (louisville, Team Record 7-0, ranked #4): The one time VT signee was granted a release after Seth was fired.  Since then signing with Pitino, he’s become a National Champ and this year, as a junior, was a preseason National Player of the Year top candidate.
    • 16.1 PPG and 9.4 RPG (both lead the team)
    • Shoots higher from the field (61.5%) than the line (60%) — he’d have fit right in at Tech!
    • Has a double-double in 3 straight games
    • Had 30 points in the opener vs minnesota (it was Pitino vs Pitino coaching-wise) on 9/12 FGs and 9/10 FTs (he’s just 7/20 on FTs in his last 3 games)
  • Ben Emelogu (smu, Team Record 6-3): Tech’s captain of a year ago was granted immediate eligibility near his hometown and is playing for legendary Coach Larry Brown:
    • Played in all 9 games and averages 19 minutes
    • Just 3.7 PPG (8th on the team) and shoots under 30% from the field and 3-point line (he averaged 10.5 PPG and shot 40%/37% last year)
  • Robert Brown (uab, 3-6): In his first year being eligible to play for the now football-less blazers
    • 11.7 PPG (leads team)
    • Was 7/9 from deep and scored 27 points in their recent win over illinois state
  • Doo-Doo Finney-Smith (florida, 4-4): It has been a disappointing start to the season for florida who lost two of three in Atlantis and blew a huge first half lead at kansas over the weekend
    • 10.3 PPG — Dorian led the team in scoring early in the year but Frazier has since overtaken him
    • 4.7 RPG and 6/17 on 3s
    • Missed two games with a fracture in his left hand
  • Marquis Rankin (queens university of Charlotte (D2), 2-5 (not counting their 31 point loss to nc state)):
    • 10.3 PPG in 26 minutes, 3rd best scoring average on the team.
    • Just 28% from deep (so that hasn’t gotten any better)
  • Marshall Wood (richmond, 3-4): Sitting out per the transfer rules
  • Trevor Thompson (#12 ohio state, 6-1): Sitting out per the transfer rules and watching the Hokies beat osu in football and wrestling

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Game Post: radford (5-3) 68, HOKIES (4-4) 66

Recap:

radford-VT-Trend

Boxscore

The Hokies put together a solid comeback in the 2nd half, only to collapse in the final 2 minutes and blow a 66-60 lead, falling 68-66 to radford at the Cassell.  Buzz now joins ricky stokes as the only Hokie coaches to lose to the highlanders (VT leads the series 6-2).

It would be nice to say VT played horrible and radford out of their minds (they did shoot extremely well in the first half), but quite frankly the veteran radford team that returned all 5 starters from last year’s 22 win team was the better squad for most of the game.  And that’s the state of affairs right now — there are Big South teams that are better than us.  Our goal is to change that in as few years (yes, years) as possible.

The Hokies jumped out to a 5-0 lead but radford responded with a 13-0 run (including three 3-pointers from R.J. Price) to take a 13-5 lead.  radford controlled the rest of the first half and took a 39-30 lead into the break.   The lead was thanks in large part to radford shooting 7/12 on 3-pointers in the first half, with Price going 4/8 and Ya-Ya Anderson hitting all 3 of his attempts.

After the break, Justin Bibbs scored 8 straight points for Tech but radford maintained their lead until Tech finally jumped ahead on an Adam Smith 3-pointer with 6:20 to go, snapping a string of 30 minutes where radford had led.

The game went back and forth for a bit but Tech seemingly iced the game on a Devin Wilson layup with 2:03 to go, putting VT up 66-60.  The run was spurred by Buzz’s switch to a zone in the 2nd half that seemed to befuddle the highlanders.  But the Hokies would not score the rest of the way.

radford got a dunk to cut the lead to 4, then after a missed front end of a 1-and-1 (heard that before), Rashun Davis hit a 3 to make it a 66-65 Hokie lead with 41 seconds to go.

Devin Wilson lost control of the ball near midcourt trying to beat a 10 second backcourt violation, leading to a Price layup to put radford up 67-66 with 27 seconds to go.

Adam Smith rushed the ball up the court and missed a floater, and radford responded with 1/2 from the line.  Tech missed 2 three-point attempts to take the lead in the final 10 seconds and a mad scramble for the rebound ended the game.

The Hokies had a balanced attacke with 6 players scoring 8+ points, led by Smith with 12, Wilson with 11, and van Zegeren/Bibbs with 10.

Tech shot 50% from the field and 47% from deep (7/15), usually their formula for a win.  And they were +3 in turnovers (12 for Tech, 15 for radford).  The Hokies were their usual 5/10 from the line, including that critical one-and-one miss late.

radford was just 2/10 from deep in the 2nd half, but their hot first half shooting and critical turnovers and offensive rebounds late helped radford pull off their Super Bowl victory.  radford shot 52% from the game and 41% from deep.

Price led radford with 25.

Random Note: The Hokies hoops team continues to pattern football (2 wins, 2 losses, 2 wins, 2 losses).

Preview:

The Hokies battle their nearby neighbors on Sunday when the radford highlanders take the short trip up Route 11 and 460 to Cassell Coliseum.  The Hokies are 6-1 all-time vs radford (if you need me to tell you who the coach was when we lost to them, this must be your first time reading this site — welcome!).  Tech throttled the highlanders by 25 last year, 81-56.  Adam Smith had his career high of 28 points in that contest along with 5 assists and 0 turnovers.  We’ll see if the highlanders focus on him Sunday. (JvZ had 1 point and fouled out, Devin Wilson had 8 points but 4 turnovers).

The Hokies are coming off a tough loss at penn state where both teams were horrible shooting the ball.  But the most glaring stats were Tech’s 4/14 numbers (from 3-point range AND the foul line).  When the Hokies shoot over 40% from deep, they win.  When they don’t, they haven’t.  And the dividing line on free throws seems to be 56% (>56% – win, <56% – loss)… and VT has been under 40% in two of their losses.  Hard to win when you can’t hit free throws or 3-pointers.

The good news Wednesday was Tech committed just 8 turnovers after losing 14+ turnovers in 5 straight games.  And JvZ had his 2nd double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but also fouled out for the 2nd time this season.

This is the 2nd of three Big South teams VT will play (beat liberty, play presbyterian later this month).

The Opponent: radford

  • 2014-15 Record: 4-3
    • Wins: howard, catawba college, nc a&t, texas-a&m corpus christi
    • Losses: richmond, jmu, tcu
  • 2013-14 Record: 22-13 (10-6 in the Big South; beat oregon state in the CBI postseason tourney before losing to odu)
  • Best Player: #2 Javonte Green – 6’4″ senior forward –
    • 13.1 PPG and 10 RPG (both lead the team)
    • Had 15 points and 6 boards vs VT last year
    • Scored in double digits in 37 of his last 41 games
    • Has not made a 3-pointer this season (only attempted 2)
  • Other Key Players:
    • #10 R.J. Price – 5’11” senior guard – 11.3 PPG
    • #5 Rashun Davis – 5’11” junior guard – 10 PPG, 3.4 APG
    • #11 Ya Ya Anderson – 6’2″ junior guard 5.3 PPG
    • Everyone else is under 5 PPG — #55 Brandon Holcomb (6’7″ junior center) grabs 6.1 RPG

This is a veteran radford team that made the postseason last year, and returns their top four scorers.  Of their 11 guys that play each game, 10 are juniors or seniors.  Two of their losses were without Ya Ya Anderson, who averaged 11.5 PPG last year (but just 5.3 this year).

radford’s offense has been missing in action this year, though.  They averaged 78 PPG last year and will all their key cogs returning, you’d expect the same.  But they are down 15 points per game to 63 this year despite only playing one Big 5 foe so far (tcu).  They’ve only eclipsed the 65-point mark twice and one of those was against a non-DI opponent.  Their FG% is down from 48% last year to 39% this season, and 3-Pt% from 36% to 29%.  Given Tech’s strong defense so far this year (opponents are shooting 39% from the field and 31.5% from deep), the Hokies could help continue the highlanders’ shooting woes.

Despite Green being only 6’4″, he does his damage inside.  He’s only attempted 2 three-pointers this season.  Green will crash the boards and attack the tin, and gets to the line a lot (43 attempts this year, 229 last season).  Obviously VT has the type of players that can guard him, but we’ll see how they actually do at it.

Overall, this is a short team.  They have just three players over 6’4″ that play, and they are just 6’7″, 6’7″, and 6’8″.  So expect big numbers again for Joey van Zegeren if he can avoid foul trouble.

Forecast: We know the Hokies are inconsistent, and that’s what you expect with so many new faces and youth (2 wins, 2 losses, 2 wins, 1 loss…).  The formula this year has been simple — if Tech is hot from deep and at least respectable from the line, they win.  Keep an eye on those variables.  And Tech has shot well against the lower league opponents for the most part.  Given radford’s lack of size, they should be able to get their shots Sunday, the question is if they’ll hit them.  And JvZ should been able to have his way inside, unless they imploy the hack-a-Dutch method.

The better question Sunday might be which radford team shows up.  The one that won 22 games last year and shot the ball well, or the one that has struggled offensively this year.  Plus, the Hokies blew them out by 25, up 20 at the half.

Most importantly, ricky stokes isn’t coaching this team.  So you have to give Tech the W here… don’t you?  Heck, we’ll see.

Spread: [check back for this — it should be posted on Saturday]

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Highlights: penn state 61, Hokies 58

Here are the highlights from Virginia Tech’s 3rd loss of the season, a 61-58 defeat to the nittany lions in the ACC/Big(14)Ten Challenge.  Tech is now 0-6 vs teams not named ‘iowa’ in the Challenge, and 3-0 vs the hawkeyes (can we request them for next season?).

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Game Post: penn state (7-1) 61, HOKIES (4-3) 58

Recap:

Boxscore

Note: JvZ’s Plus/Minus for last night was +6 (so VT was -9 when he wasn’t in).  I’d have thought it would be much higher given he scored more than half the team’s points in the first half and they fell apart after he left with his 4th foul midway through the 2nd half.

The formula was pretty simple: when Joey van Zegeren was in the game for the Hokies on Wednesday night, Tech was able to go on some runs, score some points, and build a couple of small leads.  When he wasn’t, they were abysmal.  Unfortunately, he was in foul trouble most of the final 24 minutes and the result was a 61-58 loss to penn state in the ACC/Big(14)Ten Challenge, despite getting a desperation 3-point attempt at the buzzer to tie.

A couple of critical shooting flaws did in the Hokies tonight:

  1. Tech was 4/14 on free throws, including 0/8 in the first half with 2 missed front ends of one-and-ones (JvZ was 0/7 from the line).
  2. The Hokies were just 4/13 on 3-pointers tonight.  In their 3 losses they’ve shot poorly (under 40%) each time.  In their 4 wins they’ve shot close to, or better than 50%.

And if you are keeping track, the Hoopin’ Hokies are following the football team to a T (win 2, lose 2, win 2, lose 1).

The Hokies dominated the first 16 minutes of the first half, but after JvZ went to the bench with his 2nd foul, Tech was outscored 9-0 and trailed 30-27 at the break.  JvZ had 14 at the half and they held penn state’s top scorer, D.J. Newbill (25 PPG — 3rd in the nation) to just 5 halftime points (all were in the final 4 minutes).

Tech responded with a 15-4 run to start the 2nd half and took a 42-34 lead.  But a few plays later, JvZ picked up his 4th foul and had to go to the bench.  penn state responded with a 19-2 run.  Yes, 19-2.  Tech did not make a field goal for over 7-1/2 minutes.  The result was a 42-34 lead turned into a 51-44 deficit that the Hokies could not overcome.

Tech did battle down the stretch (after van Zegeren fouled out), but with Tech down 3 a prayer of a layup and a BS foul call put psu up 5 with 18 seconds to go.  Tech continued to chip away and had a 3-pointer at the buzzer to tie from Ahmed Hill that bounced softly on the rim… and out.

Joey van Zegeren fouled out with 18 points, 14 of which were in the first half.  He had 10 rebounds… and was 0/7 from the ‘charity stripe’.

Justin Bibbs continued his great start to his college career with 16 before fouling out with 10 seconds to go.  He was 3/5 from deep and has now hit 12/15 from deep over his last 3 games.

Adam Smith, who had 24 PPG in 2 games last week, had just 4 points tonight and was 0/4 from 3-point range.

Newbill finished with 18 points, 7 below his average but he was the star of the 2nd half.

There are a few ways to look at this game:

  • Glass Half Full: Tech shot horrible from deep and the line, yet lost by just 3.
  • Glass Half Empty: psu shot horribly from deep, the field, and the line but won.
  • Glass Half Full: Tech won the turnover margin by 9!
  • Glass Half Empty: See points #2 and #3 yet VT lost.
  • Glass Half Full: The ACC team picked to finish dead last battled a tough 6-1 team in their first road game of the season.
  • Glass Half Empty: Tech lost to a bottom feeder in the Big(14)Ten, and if they can’t beat psu on a night like this, who are they going to beat in the ACC?

The Hokies are now 3-6 all-time in the ACC/Big(14)Ten Challenge with all 3 wins against iowa.

Preview:

The Hokies return to the ACC/Big(14)Ten Challenge after a year hiatus to face the nittany lions of penn state in State College, PA on Wednesday night. Tech is 3-5 all time in the Challenge, but keep in mind all 3 wins were against iowa.  Tech is 0-5 against the field, including a 66-61 loss at penn state on 11/28/2007.

This is Tech’s first true road game of the season (they only play two out of conference with the other in Morganhole on December 30th). We’ll see how the Hokies respond to a hostile, eh, let’s call it mildly excitable crowd.

penn state entered this season as a team some considered ready to make the leap and be a NCAA Tournament team (they’ve made it just once since 2001, that was in 2011 — so similar futility to the Hokies).  They haven’t disappointed record-wise, starting 6-1 with their lone loss a 106-97 Double OT outcome against charlotte in the Charleston (SC, not WV — though that would be cool — Hollywood Casino!).  It should be noted though that they trailed by as many as 17 in the second half, so they were fortunate to get the game to OT.  And the nittanies haven’t exactly impressed since.  They’ve won 4 straight but by a combined 17 points against cornell (1 point win), southern cal (2), akron (6), and bucknell (8).  usc is pretty average this year, though obviously psu will take that win, but psu’s strength of schedule has been just 228th so far (VT’s is in the 300s).

The lone common opponent between the teams is morgan state.  psu beat them by 13 in their opener while the Hokies just Bear Fought them 83-63.  Can’t judge too much from that.

penn state has shown an ability to score this year and their 76 PPG is 61st in the nation (aided, obviously, by the 97 in 2 OTs).  But it shows they do have more talent than the teams VT faces a few years ago, especially with their star player…

Key Players:

  • #2 D.J. Newbill – 6’4″ senior guard – 25 PPG (#3 nationally), 5.6 RPG, 3.1 APG. 50% on 3s (over 2 makes per game), gets to the line a lot and hits 82%
  • #33 Shep Garner – 6’1″ freshman guard – 10.9 PPG, 46% on 3s (over 2 makes per game)
  • #10 Brandon Taylor – 6’6″ junior forward – 10.4 PPG, 6.7 RPG, 1.6 Blocks PG, chucks 3s but shoots under 30%
  • #13 Geno Thorpe – 6’3″ soph guard – 9 PPG
  • #1 John Johnson – 6’1″ senior guard – 7.4 PPG
  • #43 Ross Travis – 6’7″ senior forward – 6.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG
  • #5 Donovon Jack – 6’9″ junior forward – 3.4 PPG, 3.6 RPG
  • #32 Jordan Dickerson – 7′ junior center – 11.4 minutes but doesn’t do much (space eater)
  • #44 Julian Moore – 6’10” freshman forward – no relation to the actress of almost the same name

This team, like VT, is heavily guard oriented.  Their “bigs” are mostly just space eaters inside.  Brandon Taylor is a very athletic forward, but he’s just 6’6″ so Tech can put one of their wings on him.

But the conversation and who to focus on for psu starts and ends with D.J. Newbill.  In his 3 years at State College he’s averaged 16.3, 17.8, and 25 PPG and has almost 1,300 points (top 17 all time at psu).   His 25 PPG are 3rd best in the nation this year out of ~3,500 D1 players.  The biggest difference this year for D.J. is he’s gone from a 33% 3-point shooter to 50% (16/32).  Since scoring 17 and 18 respectively in two blowout wins to start the season, he’s gone for for 22 or more in each of the last five games, including 35 in that 2 OT loss to charlotte, but he was just 4/11 from deep in that game (he’s 12/21 on 3s in their 6 wins).

If you extend out to guard him on the perimeter (which VT will do as always), you better have good help defense.  D.J. can penetrate with the best and attempts more than 7 free throws per game.  He’s not a great passer (3.1 APG compared to 2.4 turnovers) so stopping him is the first priority.  Force the other cogs to beat you.  He will play almost the entire game so multiple Hokies will have to handle this assignment.

Shep Garner has provided psu with another long range bomber.  The 6’1″ freshman is 16/35 from deep on the year, but he, too, can drive and score (i.e. he’s not a Will Johnston).  Garner and Newbill are the main deep threats, no one else shoots over 33% and makes that many (they hit about 7 per game as a team with more than half from Garner/Newbill).

For the Hokies, it will be interesting to see if they can stay hot.  In their two straight wins, they’ve hit 22/37 three-pointers (an insane 59%).  Adam Smith has scored 48 points in those two games and hit 11/17 3s.  Justin Bibbs scored 30 combined points and drained 7/8 threes!  But do the math, and you see those two have hit 18 of the Hokies’ 22 made three-pointers, and have accounted for 78 of Tech’s 161 points (48%).

If either, or both, of those guys are off or taken out of the offense, where will VT find points?  Three-pointers have been to the key in Tech’s wins and losses.  In the loss to appalachian state, VT was just 3/17 from deep (17%).  Against northern iowa Tech was a solid 39%, but lost by 19.  In Tech’s four wins they’ve shot 43% or better each time, and better than 52% three times!

Tech also lost to appy state because of the glass — asu was able to collect 50% of their misses (19 offensive rebounds).  Luckily, psu isn’t great in this area (normally).  They get between 30-40% of their misses.  And usc was able to dominate them on the boards, gathering 29 offensive rebounds compared to just 23 defensive rebounds for psu.  While I don’t expect Tech to exploit that, at least they may be able to avoid getting dominated in that area.

Inside, Joey van Zegeren has been solid on offense in every other game (4, 17, 8, 15, 8, 13).  He could do well given the relative lack of talent psu has in the post.  His hook and dunks have helped him to a 64% FG%.

Tech has been much better from the line in their two latest wins.  After shooting under 60% in each of their first 4 games, they’ve hit 75% and 68% since.  One thing they will need to clean up is turnovers — they’ve had 39 combined in their last two games.  You can’t win long term with that many giveaways.

Spread: penn state -10

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Highlights: HOKIES 83, morgan state 63

Here are your moving pictures from Virginia Tech’s 83-63 Bear Fight victory over the bears of morgan state on Sunday at the Cassell.  Watch Wilson giveth, Smith light it up, and van Zegeren send it back.

 

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Game Post: HOKIES (4-2) 83, morgan state (1-6) 63 | Sunday at 3 PM | ESPN3

RECAP:

Boxscore

The Hokies wrapped up the Cancun Challenge in Blacksburg on Sunday (hey, it was pretty warm) with a Bear Fight Victory over the bears of morgan state, 83-63.  For the second game in a row, Tech absolutely controlled this game thanks to red hot 3-point shooting from Adam Smith.  Smith was 6/10 from deep and scored 22 points.  He had 48 points and 11 made 3-pointers in Tech’s last two games.

The other big story was Devin Wilson.  It is more blessed to give than to receive and he had 10 assists at halftime!  But thanks to the Hokies’ big lead, he played sparingly in the 2nd half and finished with 11 assists, 1 short of Bimbo Coles’s Tech record.  Devin added 10 points for his first career double-double.

Joey van Zegeren had a solid outing with 13 points on 6/8 FGs, and added 8 rebounds and 6 blocks!  Tech had 12 blocks as a team for the game.

After trailing 7-6 at the first media break, the Hokies took and increased their lead at every subsequent media timeout until the final 5 minutes of the contest.  The real kicker came in the final 2 minutes of the first half and beginning of the 2nd half.  The Hokies went on a 12-0 run, all on 3-pointers, and pushed a close game out to an 18-point lead, 45-27, right after halftime (Tech led 42-27 at the break).

Tech would go up by as many as 24 and led 72-49 with 7 minutes to go.  But with most of Tech’s key players on the bench, morgan state went on a 12-1 run and cut the lead to 12 with 4:30 to play.  VT re-entered their starters and rolled after that point.

This game featured one of the worst shooting teams in the nation in morgan state (34%) and one of the best in the Hokies (51%) and both played out as expected.  The bears shot just 32% from the field while VT hit 56% of their field goals.  And behind the arc Tech was unconscious, nailing 12/18 (67%).

The only down spots were the Hokies allowed the bears 19 offensive rebounds and Tech committed 17 turnovers compared to just 8 by morgan state.

VT returns to action on Wednesday night, facing penn state at 7:15 in the ACC/Big(14)Ten Challenge from State College, PA.

Shooting Stats:

  • Field Goals: 28/50 (56%)
  • In the Paint: 15/26 (58%)
  • Midrange Shots: 2/6 (33%)
  • 3-Pointers: 12/18 (67%)
  • Free Throws: 15/22 (68%)

Scores at the Media Timeouts:

Under-16 Under-12 Under-8 Under-4 End
1st Half morgan state 7 8 13 27 27
HOKIES 6 14 24 39 42
2nd Half morgan state 31 39 48 63 63
HOKIES 48 58 69 75 83

PREVIEW:

The Hokies wrap up the Cancun Challenge (yep, still playing in ‘that’ despite the fact we left Cancun and the ‘tournament’ part several days ago) with a contest against the morgan state bears from the MEAC, Tech’s 2nd MEAC opponent this season (maryland-eastern shore).

[This is where I’d normally blast our opponent as being ‘terrible’ and ‘awful’ and ‘awfully terrible’ but after losing to appalachian state as a 15-point favorite, I’m going to be more glass half full]

morgan state has no where to go but up!  Sure, things looked bleak after starting the season 0-5 losing to penn state (13), towson (5), northern iowa (20), houston (15) and elon by 1 in Cancun, but this team is riding high after a 1-point win over liberty on Wednesday in Cancun in the Losers Bracket of the Lesser Tier!

And as those margins of defeat show, they haven’t exactly been slaughtered in many of those games, so like I said, the Hokies need to be ready to play.  Tech beat liberty by 10, the bears beat them by 1.  Both lost to uni by ~20.

morgan state is to offensive basketball what Tech is to offensive football.  The bears average just under 55 PPG — that’s 338th in the nation out of 351 teams.  They shoot just 34% from the field.  Their leading scorer, #22 senior guard Blake Bozeman, averages 12.8 PPG but shoots just 36% from the field and 27% on 3s.  No one else averages double digits.  They have a 7-footer (Zech Smith) who plays half the game but scores just 5.2 PPG and blocks ‘just’ 1.2 shots per game.  They also have a 7’3″ kid that barely plays.  Other than that, they don’t have a ton of height but are a decent rebounding team.

The Hokies are looking to build on their last outing, a 15-point domination of miami-ohio that wasn’t that close.  Adam Smith and Justin Bibbs combined for 48 points on 10/13 three-point shooting.  Tech shot just under 50% from the field, 53% from 3s, and hit 75% of their free throws!  While that will be hard to match, it was nice to see the Hokies hitting some midrange jumpers/runners (Adam Smith) and be that good from deep (albeit two players) and the line.

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HIGHLIGHTS: HOKIES 78, miami-ohio 63

The Hokies bombard the redhawks 78-63 to capture the Bronze Medal of the Cancun Challenge.  Note: 3 of Tech’s last 6 wins have been against schools named “miami” with 2 others vs maryland-eastern shore, and 1 against liberty.  Go Hokies!  Beat the hoos XI!

Posted in 2014-15, 2014-15 Season, Highlights6 Comments

Recap: HOKIES (3-2) 78, miami-ohio (2-3) 63

Fun Fact: Of the Hokies last 6 wins, 3 have been against schools named ‘miami’ and 2 have been against maryland-eastern shore.

Boxscore

The Hokies turned the tables from a night ago and absolutely took the miami of ohio redhawks behind the woodshed, pounding them 78-63 in the Cancun Challenge Bronze Medal game.  Adam Smith was the star of the show, exploding for 26 points, just shy of his career high of 28.

Justin Bibbs also had a fantastic game, setting his career high with 22 points (albeit in his 5th collegiate game).  Bibbs and Smith were a combined 10/13 from behind the arc!

Tech shot 49% for the game, were 10/19 (53%) on 3s, and 18/24 on free throws.  That 75% from the line has to excite all of us.  The only downside was VT committed 22 turnovers, but so did the redhawks.

You’ll also want to check out the highlights to see two of Joey van Zegeren’s incredible dunks, especially the alley-oop from Muller.

The game was close for the first 10 minutes and after a VT turnover (that was a problem early) allowed miami to cut Tech’s lead to 4 at 15-11, Buzz called a timeout and went absolutely medieval on Malik Muller.  The Hokies responded by closing the half on a 24-6 run, including 10-0 in the final 4 minutes.  That allowed Tech to go into the half up 39-17.  Adam Smith had 15 points in the first half.

Give credit to the Hokies.  On Tuesday, northern iowa took advantage of the plethora of whistles, shooting 11 first half free throws (making 10) compared to just 1 for VT.  Tonight, Tech went to the line 14 times in the first half, making 11, well above their 58% FT%, while miami had just 1 free throw attempt.  The Hokies were very aggressive going to the rim, even off make miami baskets and were rewarded with the trips to the charity stripe.

After the break, VT pushed the lead to 25. miami cut the lead to 15 but Tech responded with a 9-0 run to put the game on ice.  Tech struggled down the stretch, hence them not winning in Bear Fight fashion.  But all in all this was a very positive win and game against another young team.

Tech returns to action on Sunday at home vs morgan state.

Shooting Stats:

  • In the Paint: 11/24 (46%)
  • Midrange Jumpers/Runners: 4/8 (50% — Smith made 3 of those)
  • 3-Pointers: 10/19 (53% — Smith and Bibbs made all 10)
  • Free Throws: 18/24 (75%!)

Go Hokies!  Beat the wahoos XI!

Posted in 2014-15 Season, Games, Home1 Comment

Highlights: northern iowa 73, HOKIES 54

Here are the highlights from Virginia Tech’s (2-2) 73-54 loss to northern iowa (5-0) in the Cancun Challenge semi-finals from Cancun, Mexico.

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Game Post: HOKIES (2-2) 54, northern iowa (5-0) 74

Update: Tech will face miami of ohio tonight.  They are also 2-2 and had an 11-point win over liberty, so very comparable to the Hokies.  northwestern beat the redhawks by 9.

Recap:

Boxscore

The Baby Birds of Virginia Tech were thoroughly blasted by the experienced northern iowa panthers, 54-73.  The only question was would it be a Reverse Bear Fight (20-point loss) for the Hokies, but a late Satchel Pierce bucket helped Tech avoid that indignation.

The panthers returned all 5 starters and about 92% of their points from a year ago, compared to the Hokies who returned about 9% of their points on a last place club.  And the experience levels proved vital.  northern iowa came out unconscious from the field and line, hitting 6/8 three-pointers to start and 10/11 free throws in the first half (compared to just 1 free throw and 4/9 on threes for VT).

Also give uni credit for being aggressive early while the officials were calling the game tight and getting to the line.  The Hokies had been called for 5 fouls before a single one was called on uni, leading to Buzz’s first technical as a Hokie 4-minutes into the game.

The panthers used their hot shooting to take a 40-31 lead into the break.

After halftime, a Justin Bibbs jumper cut the lead to 40-33.  That’s when the wheels came off as uni destroyed the Hokies with the pick-and-roll, plus their guards off the dribble, and went on a 17-2 run to put the game away at 57-35.

Joey van Zegeren led Tech with 15 points and 6 rebounds on 7/10 shooting.  No other Hokie reached double digits.

uni shot 50% for the game, the first Tech opponent to surpass 42%.  They only hit 1 of their final 10 threes, but it didn’t matter.  The panthers nailed 18/20 free throws (90%) and had just 9 turnovers compared to 14 for VT.  The previous 3 opponents all had at least 15 turnovers and VT had a +15 turnover margin (+5 per game) coming in.

Tech shot a respectable 48% from the field and were 7/18 on threes just like uni, but the Hokies had just 8 FTAs and hit just 3 (JvZ was 1/5 from the line).  As you’ll see below, this team really has no midrange jump-shooters right now.  It is either a layup, a JvZ hook in the paint, or a 3-ball.  The Hokies have to be able to find more points in that huge space.

On defense, the Hokies did show some full court trapping, and did get a turnover out of it, but the half court defense was pretty lousy tonight.  Guys looked like they had tired legs and weren’t getting through screens (and got elbows from their teammates when they did), weren’t moving quick enough on help D on the picks, or just got burned off the dribble.  They better sleep fast tonight.

The Hokies will play the loser of northwestern and miami (Ohio) at 7 PM on Wednesday, also on CBSSN.

Shooting Stats:

  •  In the Paint:  12/17 (71%)
  • Midrange Jumpers/Runners/Hooks:  3/11 (27%)
  • 3-Pointers:  7/18 (39%)
  • All Field Goals:  22/46 (48%)
  • Free Throws:  3/8 (38%)

Preview:

For those of you that don’t get Watch ESPN, you’ll finally be able to see the Hokies play on regular TV Tuesday night when Tech takes on the 4-0 northern iowa panthers in the semi-finals of the Cancun Challenge from Mexico.  The panthers finished just 16-15 last year but had been to the postseason 5 years in a row before that (2 CITs, 1 NIT, and back-to-back NCAA Tournament trips in 2009 and 2010 — and in 2010 they beat #8 seed unlv AND #1 seed kansas before falling to michigan state in the Sweet 16.  That team went 30-5… but like I said, that was now 5 seasons ago.

This panther club out of the Missouri Valley Conference is off to a 4-0 start, but they haven’t exactly beaten name opponents unless you consider nd (north dakota, not notre dame), stephen f. austin, morgan state, or north florida a name program.  Their closest game was a 2-point win at stephen f. austin in overtime that snapped Stone Cold’s 34-game home winning streak, so that’s mildly impressive (the list of teams they beat in that 34 game streak isn’t much to look at other than jmu).

That said, Vegas (and now Atlantic City since sports gambling is legal there) see northern iowa as the clearly better team in this match-up…

The panthers opened as 8.5-point favorites (and already been bet up to 10).

The Hokies are coming off their first loss in the Buzz Williams Era, a 65-63 heartbreaker on a lucky shot with a second to go (though, to be honest, appalachian state deserved to win given their huge rebounding margin — they grabbed 50% of their misses which is inexcusable given that appy state wasn’t very big or tall).

I was a little hard on the Hokies.  That was because:

  1. I was pretty ticked about the simultaneous Hokie football loss to 2-8 wake
  2. See #1 and repeat it about 1,000 times

Reality is I never expected to run the table on our 12 out of conference games leading up to Breakfast at Morgantown on December 30th.  I didn’t expect to a team that went 9-21 last year and had lost to ohio and furman by almost Bear Fight-fashion in both games, but I digress.  We knew there would be growing pains with a team that returned just 3 scholarship players with experience and has just 9 scholarship players available this year (with 0 seniors).  Perhaps I stated that appalachian state was “awful” one too many times in my preview, maybe the guys looked past the mountaineers.  And I can give the guys a pass — they were hours away from leaving frigid Blacksburg and heading to Cancun for an early Spring Break.  I assume visions of beach balls and sand already danced in their heads.

That said, this is one of Tech’s best out of conference opponents (I know, that is sad considering this team went 16-15 and plays in the MVC) and they have tons of experience, featuring 4 seniors and 2 juniors out of their main 9 players.  They have oodles more experience than the Hokies, especially in terms of playing together.  Let’s hope we see a better effort on Tuesday and start to see what Buzz-Ball really is.

Hokie Leaders:

  • PPG: Bibbs 11.7 (Smith 10.3)
  • RPG: JvZ 5.3 (Muller 4.3)
  • APG: Wilson 6.0 (Bibbs 2.0)
  • SPG: Wilson/Muller 2.0
  • FG%: Wilson 80% (Tech has 5 guys at 50% or better with at least 10 attempts!)
  • 3-PT%: Muller 4/9 (44%), Bibbs 3/7 (43%), Smith 5/12 (42%)

The Opponent: northern iowa

  • Location: Cedar Falls, Iowa
  • Enrollment: 13,168
  • Conference: Missouri Valley
  • Colors: (think jmu)
  • Famous Alums: Kurt Warner
  • Last Year: 16-15 (10-8 MVC), no postseason
  • Best Player: #10 Seth Tuttle – 6’8″ 240 lbs. Senior – 17 PPG and 7.3 RPG (both lead the team) — shoots an amazing 74% from the field!!! (23/31 FGs)  Has also made all 3 of his three-point attempts though he does a lot of his work inside.  Tuttle was 7/7 from the field and 4/4 from the line in their last game (think Laettner vs kentucky).
  • Other Key Players:
    • #11 Wes Washpun — 6’1″ junior guard — 12 PPG off the bench — shooting 76% from the field!!!; 3 APG.  Doesn’t shoot the 3 much though.
    • #4 Paul Jesperson (yep, that one from uva) — 6’6″ Soph wing — 8.3 PPG, 50% on 3s
    • #1 Deon Mitchell — 6’1″ senior point guard — 8.3 PPG, 4.3 APG, 1.3 SPG
    • #12 Marvin Singleton — 6’6″ senior forward — 6.3 PPG and RPG
    • #20 Jeremy Morgan — 6’5″ Soph guard — 4.8 PPG
    • They go a legit 5 deep on their bench with 10 guys seeing 9+ minutes and 8 seeing 15+ minutes

Key Match-Up: VT allows opponents to shoot just 38% on the season, but northern iowa shoots 49%, including their two best scorers who shoot over 74%!!!  Yeesh.  Of course, if you allow a 50% offensive rebounding percentage, misses don’t matter as much.   Tech must limit Tuttle and Washpun and secure the rebounds/loose balls.  This panther team has no real 3-point threats (Jesperson, a uva transfer, has hit 7/14 but that’s about it).  VT can pack it in.

Prediction: Hokies lose by 8, barely covering the spread.  The panthers experience is just too much and they keep a close, but safe margin and put it away with good free throw shooters.

Posted in 2014-15 Season, Games, Home10 Comments

Game Post: appalachian state (1-2) 65, HOKIES (2-1) 63

RECAP:

BOXSCORE

Gambler’s Note: If you had bet appt state and wake to win straight up and bet $100 per, you’d have won ~$2500 and probably feel a lot better about today. I didn’t.

If you thought the wake/VT football game was bad, you obviously weren’t watching the basketball team.  Today is officially the most embarrassing day in VT history (both teams were 15-point favorites).  The football team and the basketball team lost as 15 point favorites to teams in western NC.

The basketball Hokies lost on Saturday at home to an 0-2 appalachian state team that lost by 26 to ohio and 19 to FURMAN.  Yes, I capitalized an opponent’s name.  appy state scored with 1 second to go after a missed JvZ free throw to win 65-63.  Tech has shown progress under Buzz, but clearly this team was already on the plane to Cancun today before tip-off.  appy state was 9-21 last year, by the way.

No highlights are coming… you’ll thank me.

PREVIEW:

Before hoping on a plane to head to Cancun, Mexico (BRRRRR-I-BAAAAAAAAH!), the Hokies take on a strug-a-ling appalachian state team at 1 PM in the Cassell (yes, that is during the Hokies’ football game vs wake and the game will be on in the concourse level — not sure which game is more of a mismatch).

Through two games, Tech has displayed solid defense, holding both opponents below 43% shooting and forcing 36 turnovers (leading to 47 Points off Turnovers and 28 Fast Break Points).  On the flip side, the Hokies have shot over 52% in both games, including a blistering 61% vs liberty!

Offensively, in the first game it was the freshmen who led the way, scoring 52 of Tech’s 71 points (73%).  On Wednesday, the three veterans decided to get into the act, tallying 43 of the Hokies’ 73 points (59%).  Against appy state, they are so bad, the freshmen might score 60% of the points and the veterans might go for 72%.  It could happen, they are that awful.

appalachian state had enough troubles in the Southern Conference last year, finishing 9-21 (5-11 in conference play), and now they’ve moved to the Sun Belt.  But this move wasn’t about basketball, it was about allowing them to participate in the FBS for football after doing very well at the FCS level (remember that win in the Big House?).  And it is a better conference.

But, back to today — this is a very, very bad basketball team, possibly even worse than the 9-21 team from last year.  The mountaineers in their first two games lost to ohio by 26, and then to furman by 19.  That’s, uh, that’s not good.  ohio was decent last year and made the CIT (a step down from the NIT), but they just lost to florida golf course by 17.  And furman lost to college of charleston by 35.  By transitive properties, this isn’t a good match-up for appy state.  And this is a small team, so they will not present size issues inside like we worried liberty might (they didn’t — VT was too athletic).

FYI: if you are keeping track, Tech’s first 3 opponents had a combined record of 26-66 (28% win %).

The Opponent: appalachian state in Boone, NC

  • 2014-15 record: 0-2
    • ohio 73, asu 47
    • furman 84, asu 65
  • Top Player:
    • #15 Tommy Spagnolo – 6’7″ forward is averaging 13 PPG and 9.5 RPG.
  • Other Starters:
    • #21 Frank Eaves – 6’2″ Junior Guard – 13.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 2.0 APG, 1.5 APG
    • #10 Chris Burgess  – 5’8″ Junior Point Guard- 10 PPG, 2.5 APG
    • #0 Mike Kobani – 6’8″ Freshman Forward – 7.5 PPG
    • #3 Dustin Clarke – 6’3″ Junior Guard – 5.5 PPG
  • 2013-14 record: 9-21 (5-11 in the Southern but they are now in the Sun Belt)
  • Series History: VT 7-1
    • Last Hokie win: 87-76 almost exactly two years ago
    • Last VT loss: 1969 (VT has won 6 straight in the series)

Spread (our first of the year!  hopefully the hoops team does better against the odds than football has):

VT opened as 17.5 point favorites, but are now showing around -15.5 (football is at -15 — who will win by more?!)

Prediction:

Tech…. big.  Stock up on your Jager, Red Bull, Baileys, Jameson, and Guinness.  You’ll need it, possibly twice on Saturday.

Posted in 2014-15 Season, Games, Home4 Comments

Video Highlights: HOKIES 73, liberty 63

Here is a 4-minute montage of the highlights from Wednesday’s Virginia Tech win over liberty 73-63 at the Cassell…

 

Posted in 2014-15, Games, Highlights0 Comments

Game Post: HOKIES (2-0) 73, liberty 63

RECAP:

Boxscore

It wasn’t pretty, but the quick, young Baby Birds took care of the taller flames 73-63 at the Cassell and move to 2-0 in the Buzz Era.  I haven’t seen that many turnovers since I walked by the Entenmann’s rack at the grocery store: liberty committed 21 turnovers while the Hokies (who didn’t have a turnover in the first 30 minutes of Friday’s game) had 19.  But Tech won because of their athleticism (16 fastbreak points, many off turnovers, to just 4 for liberty).  And Tech scored 16 points from the line (but just 57% unfortunately) compared to just 7 for liberty despite Tech playing 4 guards most of the game (again, quickness).  In fact, liberty didn’t have a made free throw until less than 10 minutes remained in the game.

While it was the freshmen that led the way vs maryland-eastern shore, the Hokie ‘veterans’ stepped up tonight.  Joey van Zegeren led 4 Hokies in double figures with 17 points (7/9 FGs and a respectable for him 3/6 from the line, including the front end of a one-and-one in the final minute).  JvZ had a double-double, adding 10 boards.

Adam Smith and Devin Wilson added 13 each.  Wilson, who struggled from the line most of last year and Friday, was 9/10 from the line!  Devin just missed a double-double, finishing with 9 assists.  Smith hit 3/4 three-pointers.

Justin Bibbs hit double figures for the 2nd straight game to start his career with 10, while Jalen Hudson added 7 and Ahmed Hill 4.

Tech shot a blistering 61% from the field for the game, better than their FT% (57%).  And Tech was 7/13 (54%) from behind the arc.  Had it not been for turnovers, the Hokies would have won by a much more comfortable margin.  VT led 31-28 at the half but pulled away early after the break and liberty would never get closer than 6 down the stretch.  The Hokies shot 74% (14/19) from the field in the 2nd half.

Gielo, who had 23 in liberty’s win over delaware, had just 13 tonight on 4/12 shooting and the flames shot just 43% from the field.

PREVIEW:

(check back to this same post after the game for a brief recap and other stat-data-stuff)

The Hokies drive for a Big South title took a critical blow now that vmi has moved from the Big South back to the Southern Conference.  But Tech will play three Big South teams this year (liberty, radford, and presbyterian)!!!  Tech’s Big South slate kicks off Wednesday with a home tilt against the liberty flames at the Cassell at 7 PM.  This is the Hokies’s warm-up act as part of the Cancun Challenge, which they will participate in next week.  Win or lose on Wednesday, Tech is still in the higher end bracket of things and will face northern iowa next Tuesday in Mexico after playing appy state on Saturday during the VT/wake football game.

The Opponent:

liberty university in Lynchburg, VA

  • 2014-15 record: 2-0 with wins over randolph college (DIII and also in Lynchburg — Did you know their enrollment is just 576 and their mascot is Wanda Wildcat?  Neither did I.) and delaware (61-55)
    • They beat delaware?: the blue hens went 25-10 last year and won the CAA!
    • Oh, they beat the 2014-15 blue hens: delaware’s top 4 scorers from last year are gone (two of which averaged 19+ PPG) and the their 5th leading scorer from last year didn’t play
  • Top Player:
    • 6’9″ senior forward Tomasz Gielo (he’s Polish!) scored 23 against delaware and is averaging 18.5 PPG.  Tech will need to D him up well without getting their thin front court (literally and figuratively) in foul trouble.  Gielo is a duel threat — a face-up shooter who can also battle inside — half his FG attempts have been 3-pointers so Tech’s athletic bigs will need to go out with him and avoid the shot fakes — he’s already attempted 18 FTs (and made 15) so he does get to rim and has 19 rebounds through two games (just 1 block though so he isn’t a force on the defensive end outside of rebounding)
    • Gielo was 4/7 from deep and 7/8 from the line with 10 rebounds vs delaware
  • Other Players:
    • No one else averages double digits so far but they do have some decent post players
    • Their top 2 scorers from last year are gone (Gielo was 3rd at more than 10 PPG)
    • David Andoh is a 6’7″ transfer from san jose state that has averaged 9.5 PPG so far and 1.5 blocks
    • 6’10” James Johnson is their 3rd leading scorer — Johnson started at uva, then played 2 years at san diego state, and now is at liberty.  He’s averaging 8.5 PPG so far but never averaged even 2 PPG in any of his past 3 seasons.
  • 2013-14 record: 11-21 and 5-11 in the Big South (2nd to last in the North Division ahead of longwood)
  • Series History: VT 13-3
    • Last Hokie win: 58-46 in 2007-08
    • Last VT loss: 61-56 in 2000-01 (you know who was our coach… “Program Bomb, Part I”, aka “JJ Sr.”)  Mr. stokes actually went 0-2 vs liberty in his career.  All other VT coaches are 13-1 vs the flames.

Posted in Home11 Comments

Highlights: HOKIES (1-0) 71, umes 46

Highlights from Virginia Tech’s season opening, Bear Fight victory over the maryland-eastern shore hawks 71-46:

Posted in 2014-15, Games, Highlights2 Comments

The Wild Hokie Club!

The Hokies experienced their worst season since the ricky "program bomb" stokes era. Sure, it would have been easy to quit on you, but did we quit when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? HELL NO!

 

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2014-2015 Schedule/Results

November

11/14 - Hokies 71, md. eastern shore 46
11/19 - Hokies 73, liberty 63
11/22 - appalachian state 65, Hokies 63
**********
Cancun Classic
11/25 - n. iowa 73, Hokies 54
11/26 - Hokies 78, miami ohio 63
**********
11/30 - morgan state | 3pm, ESPN3

December

12/03 - @ penn state | 7:15pm, ESPNU
12/07 - vs. radford | 3pm, ESPN3
12/14 - vs. alabama a&m | 3pm, ESPN3
12/20 - vs. the citadel | 1pm, ESPN3
12/22 - vs. vmi | 7pm, ESPN3
12/27 - vs. presbyterian | 7pm, ESPN3
12/30 - @ west virginia | 2pm, ESPNU

January

01/03 - vs. syracuse | Noon, RSN
01/06 - @ fsu | 7pm, RSN
01/13 - @ louisville | 7pm, RSN
01/18 - @ unc | 6:30pm, ESPNU
01/22 - vs. notre dame | 7pm, RSN
01/25 - vs. uva | 1pm, ACCN
01/27 - vs. pittsburgh | 7pm, ESPNU
01/31 - @ wake forest | 2pm, RSN

February

02/03 - @ syracuse | 9pm, ESPNU
02/07 - vs. fsu | 3pm, ACCN
02/09 - vs. georgia tech | 9pm, ESPNU
02/14 - @ clemson | Noon, RSN
02/18 - @ miami | 7pm, RSN
02/21 - @ nc state | 6pm, ESPN2
02/25 - vs. duke | 9pm, ESPN2
02/28 - @ uva | 4pm, ACCN

March

03/02 - vs. boston college | 9pm, ESPNU
03/07 - vs. miami | Noon, RSN
**********
ACC Tournament
03/10 - 1st rd.
03/11 - 2nd rd.
03/12 - quarterfinals
03/13 - semifinals
03/14 - championship

Photos on flickr