Dear Hokie Hoops Fan,
You have officially been admitted to Rock Bottom. Population: Us
To say the first half was an embarrassment would be an understatement. The Hokies were absolutely run off their own floor in the opening minutes by an inspired wake forest team led by Coach Bzdelik. Tech did put forth a noble effort in the second half led by Devin Wilson’s 25 2nd half points and got within 9 with 4:30 to go, but ultimately fell by an 83-77 score at the Cassell (the 6-point final margin marked the closest Tech was since the 14:40 mark of the first half — in other words, the game really wasn’t that close.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Bzdelik and his road woes, here’s some interesting numbers coming into tonight:
- wake had lost 17 straight ACC road games (19 if you count the ACC Tourney)
- The deacs hadn’t won an ACC road game in more than 2 full calendar years
- wake is 1-27 in ACC road games in Bzdelik’s 4 years (1-30 if you count the ACC-T)
- Bzdelik was 1-23 at colorado in Big 12 road games (including 23 in a row), for a grand total of 2-50 in conference road games over the last 7 years.
Give wake credit, because they got Bzdelik ACC road win #2 tonight with their inspired play. The deacons just flat destroyed the Hokies early, who granted were without their 2nd and 3rd leading scorers (Ben Emelogu – ankle and Adam Smith – calf). But excuses are like @ss holes — everyone has one and they both stink. And the “injury” excuse doesn’t hold water. We have injuries year after year after year. What are we doing in practice? Fight Club? And wake didn’t go 1-27 without finding ways to lose to teams dealing with adversity. Instead, we can safely say we are the worst of the worst now.
This game was a train wreck from the start for the Hokies. Here are a few telling details:
- So much for Tech’s 52% shooting on FGs at notre dame, Tech started 0/11 from the field, putting them in a 10-2 hole
- Travis McKie, who had just 15 points combined in his previous 4 games, had 15 points in the first 12 minutes, and put wake up 30-11 with 8:45 to go on his 4th three-pointer of the first half. (Note: McKie has owned the Hokies in his career. The senior from Richmond has averaged over 15 ppg against Tech in his time at wake. McKie finished with 24 points to lead wake.)
- McKie, who was just 16/58 (28%) on 3s on the season, was 4/4 from long range in the first half (and 5/6 for the game).
- Tech trailed by 20 (yep, Reverse Bear Fight) with 7:45 still to go… in the first half (34-14)
- wake scored on 15 of their first 19 possessions (and that includes their first 2 possessions, which they didn’t score on)
- Tech missed 2 dunks on the same possession at one point.
- wake only made 2 FGs and scored just 6 points in the final 7 minutes of the first half… yet Tech only 10 themselves, chipping just 3 points off the lead.
- wake, who came in shooting just 32% on 3s on the season (11th in the ACC), hit 7/10 (70%) in the first half.
- The Hokies trailed by 16, 43-27, to Bz-eff’n-delik on the road.
But this is Bzdelik and you knew he’d find a way to make it interesting. Tech opened the 2nd half on a 7-1 and cut the lead to 10 with 18 minutes to go. After the teams traded baskets, wake then went on a 9-0 run to push the lead back to 19 with just under 15 minutes to go.
Once again Tech battled and chipped away, getting the deficit down to 10 with 5 minutes to go and finally single digits (9) with 4:40 to go. But the Hokies just couldn’t get stops all night when then needed them, and Codi Miller-McIntyre put the game away with some driving layups and horrible help defense (the VT post players clearly didn’t find the ball).
Kudos to the Hokies for giving it their all in the second half. Joey van Zegeren laying out for a loose ball down 16 with 8 minutes to go was awesome effort. And the team did battle. But you cannot keep digging yourself into ridiculous first half holes and expect to win any games. Tech has trailed by 15 and 16 points at the half in their last 2 games respectively. Note to JJ: Whatever you are telling the team at halftime, TELL THEM BEFORE THE GAME!
While wake played with effort, with inspiration, with a gameplan, Tech played with nothing in the first half. JJ had to know he wasn’t going to have Emelogu or Smith, yet the guys that did play looked totally unprepared. And to boot, they were uninspired and gave almost no effort on defense. If a coach can’t prepare you to win, can’t inspire you to play hard, what good is he? Not much, in my opinion.
- There are none when you lose at home to a team that had lost 17 straight ACC road games. I’m surprised they didn’t cut down our nets afterwards.
Things that didn’t stink:
- Wilson’s 2nd halves: Wilson had 25 points in the 2nd half tonight (26 for the game), giving him 43 points in the 2nd half of our last 2 games. The problem is he’s only scored 3 combined points in the first half of those games. He also missed both FTs with VT down 9 and 3:30 to go and Tech having all the momentum.
- Jarell Eddie had 20 points tonight and was 4/10 on 3s. The problem is he was just 1/6 on 2-point shots and was just 5/16 from the floor overall (31%).
- Tech, who came in shooting just 50% on FTs in ACC play, hit 24/33 (73%) tonight.
- The Hokies had 22 offensive rebounds tonight (47% offensive rebound %). The problem is they allowed wake a 43% offensive rebound % themselves.
- Trevor Thompson had 10 points and 12 rebounds, his 2nd double-double of the year. But have you ever seen a 6’11” guy miss so many dunks?
- Just 6 turnovers.
- The students were back (and into the game pretty much the whole way), helping our attendance to 5,156, our best ACC game crowd yet.
Things that had a moderate to severe odor:
- JJ’s preparation of the team.
- Cadarian Raines — whatever magic in a bottle he found Sunday night, well, he must have drank it all. He was just 2/10 from the floor tonight for 5 points.
- Tech’s shooting — 0/11 to start and 22/65 (34%) for the game. Even taking away the 0/11 start that’s just 22/54 (41%) after that, which is slightly below average.
- 0 fastbreak points. We have a complete inability to push the ball. Guys get a steal and hold it until Wilson comes and gets it. And at one point Wilson passed it to Johnston who threw up a 3-pointer on the run that clanked off the rim.
- Any semblance of an offense — once again the ball would stay beyond the 3-point line until seconds were left on the shot clock, even when down 11 with a little over a minute to go.
- The fact we didn’t run a full court press until 1 minute to go (and promptly got a turnover — maybe should have thought of using it earlier — I know we were down several players, but still, what did you have to lose in the 2nd half?)
- Trailing by 21 in the first half.
- Trailing by double digits for 27 consecutive minutes until 4:40 to go.
- Staying in the zone until they had hit 6 three-pointers in the first half and were up 30-11… and our perimeter defense in general that let a 32% 3-point team hit 56% (9/16).
- Our defense period — they shot 54% from the field and over 50% in both halves. Horrible help and perimeter defense all night.
- Me being on anti-biotics and therefore unable to have some consolation Scotch.
Tech returns to action on Saturday at 3 PM against the red hot uva team (5-1 in the ACC) at uva. Let’s hope we show up at 3, not at 4.
I’m officially in the ‘we need to fire JJ after the season’ camp. I’m just not sure we will given that we still don’t yet have an A.D. and the season ends for us in less than 2 months.
And if you want me to rub your back and tell you everything is going to be OK, I can’t. We are about as bad as I’ve seen since the final days of the ricky stokes tenure. And even in his last year he pulled off a win over a ranked uconn team and uva at home, which this team is a far cry from doing. It’s time to blow up the operation and take some risks, and to me that means spending some money. I’m tired of worrying about living in the black on the Balance Sheet, I want to be naughty and push the red. Because it is going to take some money to get this thing turned around.
Also, I encourage people to donate more than ever. The truth is we have a very small Hokie Club population, and stopping donations will only make it that much harder to rationalize spending money on a new coach. Make your voice heard that you want change, just don’t close those wallets, please.