Posted on 18 February 2014.
First off, Happy 1st Birthday to my son (unfortunately his VT jumpsuit didn’t will us to victory and he hasn’t seen us beat the hoos in hoops yet). Second, go U-S-and-A! Beat the czechs! Third, big props to Mr. P. Shannon. Your generosity is overwhelming. THANK YOU! Ok, on to the recap…
Happy 1st Bday from Capt America/Niemo
In front of 5,316 fans (the most at a VT ACC home game this year) and a rowdy student section, the Hokies played their hearts out and led for 28 consecutive minutes (and were up by 11 with 14 minutes go go)… unfortunately, that run ended with 2:30 to play and the virginia flyin’ elbows, I mean cavaliers, escaped with a 57-53 victory at the Cassell. The win was uva’s 4th straight at VT, just the 2nd time they’ve ever had a winning streak at VT that long (and first since the 40s). Tech is now 8-8 at home on the season with two home tilts to go.
Hats off to the Hokies and I’m really proud of them. They played their guts out from the opening tip until the final horn. And believe me, uva was, too. Tech was on their game (as much as they can be) and had uva off theirs for most of the night.
The stars of the game were Joey van Zegeren (a career high 13 points) and Devin Wilson (13 points and 5 assists – giving Wilson the VT freshmen record for assists with 114). Those two were a combined 11/14 (79%) from the floor. Unfortunately, the rest of the team was just 8/29 (28%).
But really everyone was a star tonight. Will Johnston had two great defensive rebounds on long rebounds where he had to cover a lot of ground. Trevor Thompson had a couple of great blocks, including a left-handed pin on Joe Harris. Jarell Eddie was diving for loose balls, trying to make up for his 1/8 effort on FGs (1/7 on 3s). Ben Emelogu had a couple of huge 3s. In the end, though, it wasn’t enough.
While this did show a potential bright future for the Baby Jakes, there are no moral victories for coaches. Had we won, I honestly would have flipped my stance to the “Give JJ another year” side. But with the loss, VT has now lost 5 in a row to the hoos and stay firmly rooted in 15th place in the ACC. To be fair, though, this was the third straight game the Hokies have played well and forced their opponent to play down to their level, so to speak. If JJ can continue this trend the rest of the way, I may end up flipping my (meaningless) vote.
||Brogdon – 12
||Wilson/JvZ – 13
- Key to the Game: uva needed to be cold from the outside against the VT 2-3 zone
Zones are susceptible to 3-point shots because they are focused on stopping penetration and if you rotate the ball well, or kick it in and back out, you can get easy looks. So you have to hope the other team isn’t on from deep. Early on it looked like the hoos were hot from behind the arc. London Perrantes, who had just 14 made 3s on the season, hit two early triples and uva jumped to an 8-2 lead early. But uva would miss their next 9 attempts from deep and went into the half just 3/13 from long range (though more on that last one in a bit).
Meanwhile, the Hokies drilled 4/9 from 3-point range in the first half with four different Hokies (Johnston, Wilson, Eddie, and Barksdale) hitting one each.
In the second half, the hoos continued to be cold against the 2-3 zone, starting 3/8. But then trailing 46-42 with 3:30 to go they hit three straight 3-pointers to fuel a 9-0 run and all but put the game away up 51-46 with 1:46 to go. Their 9/25 for the game (36%) was right on their average (though way more attempts than usual, largely due to the zone).
- Flip the Script: Avoid the drought
Tech, who is notorious for long scoring droughts, turned the tables on their opponent for the 2nd straight game. The Hokies held miami scoreless for almost 8 minutes in the first half to fuel a 9-0 run. Tonight, again, Tech went on a 9-0 run in the first half, holding the cavs scoreless for 5:55 (and without a field goal for 7 minutes). VT used this to turn a 14-13 deficit with 12 minutes to go into a 22-14 lead with less than 6:00 left before the break.
Unfortunately, Tech followed with their own dry spell. The Hokies didn’t score from the 7:24 mark until 64 seconds were left in the first half, a sahara desert of more than 6 minutes. The hoos, however, could muster just 4 points during this stretch and with a 3-pointer by Barksdale and 3 free throws by Eddie, Tech took a commanding 10-point lead at 28-18.
In the second half, once again both teams would hit a rough patch. uva scored just 1 point from the 9:20 mark until 3:27 was left, a span of almost 6 minutes without a field goal.
Unfortunately, Tech was even worse during the latter part of that span. The Hokies scored just 1 point from the 7:34 mark until 31 seconds were left in the game, 7 minutes without a field goal. By that point, their 4-point lead had turned into a 6-point deficit.
- Uncle Mo: Momentum is Key
The crowd was going nuts with the Hokies up 10 and the hoos struggling to get a shot off at the end of the half, but Malcolm Brogdon hit a fallaway 25-footer at the buzzer (it left his hand with 0.1 left on the clock) to take some of the air out of the Hokies and the rowdy student crowd.
Tech had held uva’s two leading scorers (Brogdon and Harris — who average 24 ppg combined) scoreless for the first 19 minutes and 59.9 seconds until that late 3 Brogdon. Harris, who has torched the Hokies for more than 18 ppg in the last 2 years, was 0/6 for the half and missed the front end of a one-and-one and fouled Jarell Eddie on a 3-pointer. He was clearly off his game and rattled.
In the second half, it seemed like everything was going the Hokies’ way. Up 6 with 16 minutes to go and the shot clock running out, Ben Emelogu threw up a Hail Mary that bricked badly. But JvZ was there and put the miss as the shot clock ran out and got fouled (and actually made the free throw) to put VT up 9 at 36-27.
But Uncle Mo would change shortly after on a swing of an elbow by Joe Harris that started a uva 13-3 run at a time when they were down by 11 at 40-29. The refs somehow missed Joe Harris’s running elbow to Will Johnston’s head on the perimeter. That possession, instead of an offensive foul, turned into a uva 3-pointer and they’d go on a 13-3 run to cut the VT lead to one at 43-42 with 8 minutes to go.
Harris struggled most of the game but had the critical 3-pointer, from NBA range no less, that put the hoos up 48-46 with 2:40 to go after trailing for more than 28 straight minutes. He finished with just 7, though.
- Be Aggressive – B-E Aggressive
Tech, who hadn’t made a free throw in the first half of a game in over two weeks, got to the line 7 times in the first half and hit 6 of them. Unfortunately, they were just 3/8 from the line in the 2nd half and 9/15 (60%) for the game.
However, it was the hoos that got awfully aggressive in the 2nd half. With the Hokies up 40-29 and less than 14 minutes to go, Harris’s elbow came as mentioned earlier, starting a 13-3 run to get the hoos within 1.
Then, with VT in forced foul mode with 18 seconds to go, Devin Wilson fouled Brogdon in the back court as Brogdon swung his elbow and caught Wilson on the jaw. uva was up 54-50 at the time and things could have gotten interesting. But uva made both their free throws and VT’s Eddie could hit just 1 to make it 56-51. After a Wilson layup cut it to 3 at 56-53, Brogdon made just 1 of 2, but that put it away at 57-53 (unless of course the opponent fouls you shooting a 3… which they didn’t). Had Eddie made both free throws, the Hokies would have had a chance to tie at the end. Ifs and buts…
Random Officiating Whine:
- First of all, the missed call on Harris’s elbow.
- Secondly, they don’t give JvZ a timeout he’s asking for with the ball on the ground right in front of the official (they claim he was already out of bounds, which he wasn’t when he asked for the TO), but they give uva’s coach a timeout from 80 feet away as their worst foul shooter, Akil Mitchell (who earlier air balled one) was getting fouled. Really? How can you give a timeout when the player is being fouled while in the air getting a rebound?
- Those things didn’t cost VT the game, but the first couple definitely didn’t help.
Tech finishes their 3-game home stand on Saturday against the nc state wolfpack at 2 PM.