Archive | Game Recaps

miami (17-15) 57, Hokies (9-22) 53

Big thanks to Cathy F!

The Hokies put a bow on one of the worst seasons in program history Wednesday afternoon, losing to miami in the first round of the 2014 ACC tournament, 57-53.

Virginia Tech finished 9-22 on the season and just 2-17 in ACC play – the 17 losses are an ACC single-season record. The Hokies’ only two wins were against the hurricanes, so they had a shot today. But beating a team three times in one season proved too difficult for VT. Or rather free throws proved too difficult, as VT made just 9/17 and Joey van Zegeren missed both free throws with VT down 1 with 10 seconds to go.

As if VT’s overall and conference records weren’t depressing enough, here’s a little stat for you: the Hokies finished the season with just one, solitary win in 2014. That’s it. Since Jan. 1, 2014, some 70 days ago, head coach James Johnson and his battered and bruised team are 1-17. That’s it.

Niemo likes to break down the game and go through the key moments, but at this point, I’m done. I’m sure you, the fans, are done, too. The Hokies, despite not committing a turnover for the first 23 minutes of the game, couldn’t get out of their own way. They went through their typical scoreless/field goalless drought. They missed critical, must-have, free throws when the game was on the line. More specifically, Joey van Zegeren missed critical free throws with the game on the line.

You can’t pin the loss on JvZ, though. He’s actually played pretty well down the stretch this season. And the team had more than had its fair share of opportunities to win this game. But, as we’ve seen all season, the Hokies just didn’t have what it took.

After the game, JJ said he feels “optimistic” about being back next year. You think? He can do the math and so can we. The athletics department is one of only a handful in the country that are in the black each year. That’s not by accident.

Coach JJ is the lowest paid men’s basketball coach in the ACC. He still has three years left on his contract, so call me skeptical if I don’t think new AD Whit Babcock is going to shell out Frank Beamer-type money to bring in a Shaka Smart. Remember, Tech is still paying Seth Greenberg and Jim Weaver a hefty sum of money. I don’t see Whit paying two former coaches and going out and getting a big name.

JJ is going to get another year whether you think he deserves it or not. Personally, I don’t think he does, but he’ll get at least one more year. Gone are seniors Cadarian Raines (who was what, a 4-point guy at best?) and Jarell Eddie. Aside from that, everyone else should be back. Unless they transfer.

There’s enough hope (and hope is a dangerous thing don’t forget) that with the guys coming back next year, as well as some rookies coming in, the Hokies can improve next season. Ben Emelogu, Devin Wilson, and Trevor Thompson look like they could turn into solid players. JvZ needs to be more consistent and Adam Smith needs to stay healthy.

I’d say that next season couldn’t get much worse, but it could. The canes should be much better with transfers from texas and kansas state becoming eligible, so don’t chalk up wins against the u just year.

So there’s your nice pretty little bow on one of the most forgettable seasons in Virginia Tech basketball history. Now excuse me while I go get a damn drink.

Niemo’s Notes (I’ll keep it short):
- Tech reached the 30 point mark in the first half for the first time in 10 games, leading 32-31 at the break. They led by as many as 9 in the first half, 19-10.
- miami went on an 8-0 run early after the break to take control, up 39-34. But VT did battle back and led with less than 2 minutes to go in the game.
- The Hokies scored 53 points on 54 possessions. They finished the ACC season reaching 1.0 in points per possession just once. Not good. And the easy culprit today was FT shooting. 9/17 (52%) is not satisfactory. Wilson missed 4/5 at the end of the first half. And of course, with VT down 1 and 10 seconds to go, JvZ missed both free throws. He was a 36% foul shooter on the season.
- Tech’s 3 turnovers were easily a season low, eclipsing the 6 they had against wake.
- miami’s 57 points were the most scored in regulation in this series this season. Needless to say it was not a point friendly 3-pack of games.
- Devin Wilson had 5 assists, ending his season with 148, easily the VT freshmen record. He had 19 assists vs miami this season.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, ACC Tournament, Game Recaps, Games, Home9 Comments

georgia tech 62 (6-12), HOKIES 51 (2-16)

Boxscore

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.

KEY STATS:

HOKIES gt
FGs 20/53 (38%) 24/49 (49%
3s 6/23 (26%) 6/19 (32%)
FTs 5/9 (56%) 8/11 (73%)
PPP 0.91 1.12
Turnovers 11 8
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.

GAME SUMMARY:

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:

  1. georgia tech isn’t good and hadn’t won consecutive ACC games all year (they won earlier this week at syracuse)
  2. VT has owned the jackets, going 10-4 vs gt before today in ACC games, including 4-2 in the ATL
  3. 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.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps3 Comments

maryland 64 (8-9), HOKIES 47 (2-15)

Boxscore

The Hokies got absolutely obliterated in the 2nd half and lost 64-47 to the maryland terps in the final meeting between the schools as ACC foes.  After leading by a point, 29-28 at the break, Tech was doubled up after the half by a 36-18 margin.  Sad as it is to say, at least the Hokies avoided their 2nd straight Reverse Bear Fight defeat to the terps thanks to 3 late free throws after VT fell behind by 20.

Tech fell to 9-20 overall and 2-15 in the ACC, setting a new mark for most conference losses by VT (in any conference — the previous mark of 14 had been done in 2000-01 in the Big East and last year in the ACC).  This is also the first time Tech has lost 20 games in almost 60 years, dating back to the 1954-55 season when the Hokies finished 7-20.

In front of a mostly empty and pretty much dead Communist Center in college park, md, Tech actually played exciting, interesting, and fun to watch basketball for the first 12 minutes of the game and led 23-17.  But the final 28 minutes of the game marked the worst Hokie basketball I’ve maybe (maybe) ever seen, scoring just 19 points and going on three different stretches of 5 minutes and 30 seconds or more without a point.  Granted, Tech was reduced to five scholarship players due to a C.J. Barksdale ankle injury early in the game, but it was Hokie fans’ eyes that hurt the most having to watch this hot mess. The Hokies would finish with more turnovers (17) than made field goals (15).

While Tech struggled in the 2nd half to even get up a shot (they had 5 turnovers on their firsts 6 possessions of the 2nd half), maryland got blazing hot from deep.  They hit 5 three-pointers in a 3:15 span early in the 2nd half to blow the game open.

Jarell Eddie and Joey van Zegeren each had 14 points to lead the Hokies (no one else had more than 6).  maryland had a balanced attack as 5 different guys scored between 8 and 13 points.

The attendance was announced as 10,517 at the center that holds just under 18k, but most of those people were dressed as empty red seats.  Not good for Coach Turgeon, though he’ll take the win.  And give him credit — he held Tech to just 12 combined field goals in the 2nd halves of the two games against Virginia Tech (7 in the first meeting, 5 today).  Tech was just 12/45 in the 2nd halves vs maryland this season (27%).

Tech is now just 1-15 in 2014 with one regular season game remaining, a Saturday tilt with the other tech who won at syracuse tonight.

Game Stats:

  HOKIES terps
FGs 15/39 (31%) 24/60 (40%)
3s 6/18 (33%) 10/32 (31%)
FTs 11/16 (69%) 6/7 (86%)
Turnovers 17 5
Pts Per Poss 0.76 1.04
Top Scorer JvZ/Eddie (14) Layman (13)
FG Droughts 5:35  
  7:32  
  5:59  

Game Summary:

Tech started their final game at maryland as icy cold as the weather, missing their first 5 shots.  But the Hokies rebounded to hit 5 of their next 7 shots to pull within a point (13-12) after the under-12 timeout. Unfortunately, Tech who was without Smith, Emelogu, or Raines for the game, lost C.J. Barksdale with an ankle injury at this point, leaving them with just 5 scholarship players for the final 30 minutes.

Joey van Zegeren was playing like a man possessed early.  He dunked over Seth Allen of maryland and shouted towards the maryland bench.  He blocked shots.  He snared offensive and defensive rebounds.  He made sweet back-door-cut passes.  Unfortunately his 2nd foul forced him to the bench later in the first half.

After a maryland layup, the Hokies and their 2-3 zone put the clamps on maryland, holding them to just 2 points over the next 5 minutes.  Tech went on an 11-2 run thanks to a pair of three-pointers by Jarell Eddie and another by Will Johnston to take a 23-17 lead!  They were pushing the ball up the court when they had the opportunity.  They were shooting the ball on their first good look, even if, gasp, there were more than 15 seconds left on the shot clock!  Tech was pounding the offensive glass!  The Hokies were playing, dare I say it, basketball!  They had 23 points in less than 12 minutes!  And then… (death, taxes, and…)

[INSERT RIDICULOUS SCORING DROUGHT DESCRIPTION HERE, PART 1]

maryland started going to a passive full court drought.  To JJ’s credit, Tech handled it much better than they did at duke and advanced the ball easily (except for a travel/10-second violation on Johnston at the end of the half).  But, it slowed Tech down and they reverted back to their “offense” of the last several weeks — taking the air out of the ball.  The result was ZERO points for the next 5:35 (0/5 FGs and 4 turnovers).  maryland responded with a 7-0 run to go back on top 24-23 with 3 minutes to go in the half.

After 335 seconds without a point, Virginia Tech answered with 5 points in 24 seconds culminated on a transition 3-pointer by Jarell Eddie, his third triple of the half.  Tech regained the lead at 28-24 with 2:20 to go in the half.

[INSERT RIDICULOUS SCORING DROUGHT DESCRIPTION HERE, PART 2]

The Hokies would have the ball for the final shot of the half up 29-26… or so it seemed.  But this is Virginia Tech, and the Hokies saw Trevor Thompson get stripped of the ball with 8 seconds to go, leading to a breakaway dunk by Nick Faust just before the halftime buzzer.  Tech led 29-28 at the break but Uncle Mo had shifted back to the terps.

This game marked the 8th straight Tech has failed to reach the 30-point mark in the first half (they’ve done it just 3 times in 17 ACC games), despite being 5/10 from deep in the first half to help power their lead.

Virginia Tech opened the 2nd half like they ended the first, with a turnover leading to a maryland dunk.  That would be the story of our life in the final 20+ minutes.  Check out some of these facts:

  • No points in the first 4:16 of the 2nd half… coupled with no points in the final 1:36 of the first means a scoreless drought of 5:52
  • Between the final 8 seconds of the first half and the first 3 minutes of the 2nd half, Tech committed 6 turnovers (in 7 possessions) while getting just one FG attempted
  • maryland went on a 10-0 run to go ahead 34-29
  • Tech had just one FG attempt in the first 5:10 of the 2nd half that even hit the rim (they had 2 bricks to go along with the one miss on target)
  • The Hokies would end up going 7:32 before they made a field goal, finally making a bucket for the first time in the 2nd half with 14:48 to go.
  • All told, between the 8:19 mark of the first half and the 14:48 mark of the 2nd, Tech would make just 2 FGs and score just 8 points over that stretch of 13:31.  And those 2 FGs were 24 seconds apart.

At that point, maryland turned the game into a Shoot-Around.  The terps hit 5 three-pointers in a 3:15 span to turn a 31-29 lead into a 46-34 cushion (5/6 during the stretch from deep).

The rest of the game looked like a layup line for maryland.  Perhaps JJ figured uncontested dunks were better than 3s (since it is one less point).  maryland had 4 dunks in the final 10:03 of the game.

[INSERT RIDICULOUS SCORING DROUGHT DESCRIPTION HERE, PART 3]

Even with the game over, Tech still couldn’t muster any field goals.

Between 8:19 to go in the game and 2:20 Tech would not score a point, a run of almost 6 minutes.  This was their third stretch of 5:30+ without a point in the game!!! Between the 8:19 mark of the first half and the 2:20 mark of the 2nd, Tech would make just 6 field goals and score just 14 points in that stretch of almost 26 minutes.

  • Tech only made 5 FGs in the entire 2nd half (23% on FGs, 1/8 — 12.5% on 3s)
  • The Hokies made just 7 FGs in the final 28 minutes of the game
  • The Hokies had more turnovers (17) than made FGs (15) for the game
  • Tech has surpassed the 1.0 mark on points per possession in just one ACC game this season (which would be a record according to Cvillehoops13 of TSL).  They posted a horrendous (anemic, whatever adjective you like) 0.76 tonight.

At the end, Tech cleared their bench… that meant bringing in one player, Greg Donlon, that’s all they had left.

Worst of all, the team quit.  At least up to this point you could say they had fought all the way all year.  But they quit in the 2nd half.  They weren’t fighting over screens and weren’t hustling after loose balls or on help defense.  What made me the most upset was Jarell Eddie was clearly fouled on a 3-pointer with 4:30 to go but no call was made.  We were down 17.  It was the chance for JJ to get T’d up and show he still cared.  That he was still “playing” hard.  But he just softly spoke to the refs as maryland went down for a dunk and we slept walk to the media break.  So I quit on them at the under-4 timeout.  Our tee time for next Thursday can’t come soon enough.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps1 Comment

unc (11-4) 60, Hokies (2-14) 56

Hope is a dangerous thing. The Hokies, who fell to 9-19 after today’s 60-56 loss to north carolina, have given fans hope in the last five games by playing tough defense and keeping games close, or at least interesting, for the most part.

However, despite much improved play over the last several games, the Hokies have only one win to show for their efforts. Today’s loss was an even tougher pill to swallow because it means a losing record at home (8-10) for the Hokies for only the second time in the 53 year history of Cassell Coliseum.

Tech started slowly (shocking, we know), but so did the tar heels. After falling behind 11-6, the Hokies used a 10-0 run to take a 16-11 lead. Freshmen Devin Wilson and Trevor Thompson played particularly well against the heels. They didn’t seem intimidated or overwhelmed. They still made some freshmen mistakes, but they’re showing the league’s best that they can compete.

Wilson finished with 15 points and 7 assists, while Thompson had 8 points and 6 rebounds.

Back to the game. After taking that 16-11 lead, unc woke up and closed the half with a 17-5 run that put them up 28-21 lead at the break.

The Hokies, remember, were without Adam Smith, Ben Emelogu, and of course, Cadarian Raines, who did not see a single second of action in his final home game ever as a Hokie. Officially, Raines was out because of an ankle injury, even though he warmed up before both halves and didn’t seem to be favoring either ankle.

In the second half, unc’s James McAdoo finally came to life and started gashing Tech’s defense with a seemingly endless supply of thunderous (and uncontested) dunks. He scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half.

Still, the Hokies didn’t quit. Late in the game, despite trailing by nine thanks to a bad offense charge call against Jarell Eddie that negated a bucket, which then led to a McAdoo dunk, Tech managed to keep it close and even cut the lead to three late.

Eddie, who led all scorers with 18 points, converted a layup with 5.6 seconds left to make it a 59-56 game. Leslie McDonald made one of two free throws to seal the four-point win for the tar heels, who have now won 11 straight games, their longest winning streak since the 2008-09 season.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has lost 14 of its last 15 games and have only one win in 2014. With two games left, the Hokies are in dead last in the ACC standings. Tech has clinched the 15th seed in the ACC tournament (i.e. last place for the third straight year), and they’ll play on Wednesday, March 12, against the No. 10 seed, which is miami right now.

One other note on this game: As we mentioned earlier, senior Cadarian Raines, who hasn’t played much at all this season, didn’t see one minute of playing time today. It was his last appearance in a Hokie uniform at the Cassell, and he didn’t get in the game. That just seems odd, but then again, this whole season has been odd in terms of players disappearing on the bench for unexplained reasons. Remember that guy Marshall Wood?

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps, Games1 Comment

#6 duke 66 (12-4), HOKIES 48 (2-13)

Boxscore

In the land of NERDS the Hokies fell by a score of 66-48 to #6 duke.  The Hokies entered as 21 point underdogs and fell behind by 20 points in the first 10 minutes and 10 seconds of the game (24-4), but battled back and only trailed by 8 with 14 minutes to go in the game.  But an 8 minute FG drought did in the Hokies, who narrowly avoided their 7th Reverse Bear Fight of the season (however this is the 8th time VT has lost by 18+).

Considering the 20-point deficit early and the fact VT lost by 28 and 32 points to duke last year (VT has lost by 35, 35, and 28 in the past at duke), this game could have really gotten ugly, but Tech battled throughout.

The Hokies actually shot for a higher FG% and FT% than duke, were just -2 in FTs made (even though this game was at Cameron Indoor), and held duke to just 30% from 3-point range.  Yet Tech lost by 18.  How?

  • -6 in turnover margin
  • Tech had an offensive rebounding % of just 15% while duke was at 35%, meaning duke got a LOT of extra possessions and 15 extra FG attempts.
  • VT hit just one 3-pointer in each half
  • Tech got out-coached (more on that below)

KEY STATS:

VT duke
FGs 20/47 (43%) 24/62 (39%)
3s 2/9 (22%) 10/33 (30%)
FTs 6/7 (86%) 8/11 (73%)
Pts Per Poss 0.78 1.06
Lead Scorer Thompson – 15 Hood – 21
Long FG Drought 7:05 (1st) 4:14 (1st)
8:21 (2nd)

GAME SUMMARY:

If you had any illusions of the Hokies winning on Tuesday night, those thoughts pretty much evaporated in the first few minutes.  A few things told me early on Tech had zero chance of winning:

  • duke came in as the #1 three-point shooting team in the ACC in terms of makes and %, and that is the weakness of a zone.
  • On the first possession of the game, duke missed a 3-pointer and Devin Wilson did a great job of boxing out his man.  However, he was called for a foul for rooting out/under-cutting the duke player even though the dukie clearly jumped over his back.
  • The blue devils came out in a full court trap.  Keep in mind the Hokies had just one scholarship guard on the trip, so pressing was pure genius (seriously, why don’t more teams do this?).  The result was an exhausted Devin Wilson from expending energy just to advance the ball into VT’s offense.
  • The Hokies were completely unprepared at the start (shocker).

This game started as poorly as possible for the Hokies.  Check out the opening 12 minutes:

  • VT trailed 15-2 at the first media timeout (15:05 to go in the 1st half)
  • duke was up 17-4 at the 2nd media break (11:59)
  • The Hokies were down 24-5 at the under-8 media timeout (7:47 to go)… And VT trailed by 20 at one point, 24-4.  This marked the 8th time in 15 ACC games Tech has trailed by 10+ in the first half and
  • Tech was 2/14 (14%) on FGs to start the game and went more than 7 minutes without a FG in the first half (yet this wasn’t their longest FG dry spell of the game)
  • duke had a 45% offensive rebounding percentage in the first 12 minutes (10 offensive rebounds in 22 opportunities).

I don’t care for Coach K but he is #1 in wins all time for a reason:

  • He exploits a team’s weaknesses: pressing the Hokies really exposed Tech’s lack of guards and forced numerous early turnovers
  • He pushed the tempo via primary and secondary breaks, further wearing down the VT starters.
  • He found the soft spots in the VT 2-3 zone.  At first this was shooting the 3-pointer, but duke was missing early.  So he focused on finding the other soft spot in the zone, the player at the high post (usually Rodney Hood) who flashed to the foul line and got a lot of open 12-16 foot jumpers.  Once that got going and VT had to collapse their defense, duke moved the ball along the perimeter (or kicked it out from the high post) and got open 3s.

The Hokies responded very admirably, though.  After ‘spotting’ duke that 24-4 lead, the Hokies went on a 8-0/12-2 run to cut the lead to 10 at 26-16 with 4 minutes to go in the first half.  C.J. Barksdale went 4/4 during that run for 9 points.

Barksdale is clearly Tech’s best shooter right now, even as a big man.  He started the game, right?  Nope, he came in 4 minutes into the game after VT was already down 9-2.

The rest of the first half went back and forth like that the rest of the way and Tech entered the locker room down ‘just’ 12 at 32-20, but all considering, that wasn’t a bad thing.

The Hokies came out firing and opened the 2nd half on a 7-2 run, cutting the duke lead to just 7 at 34-27 with 18 minutes to go.  But Tech would get no closer.

duke, who started 4/18 (22%) from 3-point range, got hot after that.  They hit 4 of their next 6 triples and pushed the lead back up to 14 (54-40) with 10:48 to go.

As mentioned above, with Tech trailing by 13 with 11:06 to go, Tech embarked on an 8-minute field goal drought, scoring just 4 points from the line during that stretch and allowing duke to go up by 19 at 63-44.  In fact, Tech scored just 6 points in the final 10 minutes of the game.  At least they avoided the Reverse Bear Fight thanks to a Trevor Thompson layup with a minute to go, setting the final margin at 66-48.

There were some real positives for the Hokies:

  • Trevor Thompson keeps getting better and better.  He tied his career high with 15 points (most in an ACC game) on 6/9 FGs and did a great job on Jabari Parker on defense.  Trevor limited the ACC POTY candidate (and lock for Frosh of the Year) to just 11 points on 3/11 shooting.  Jabari did have a double-double with 12 rebounds, but all in all TT did a great job on him.  Trevor had a nice block on a Jabari dunk attempt and had 3 steals.
  • Frosh evolution — early in the year it was Emelogu.  Then Wilson.  Now Thompson.  All three of those freshmen have shown streaks of brilliance and a bright future for the Hokies.  Trevor has averaged 9 points and 7 rebounds per game over the last 5 games, all as a starter.
  • Joey van Zegeren also improves with each game.  He had 8 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks tonight.  His play of the game was after his missed a shot, he stripped the duke player of the ball and then flushed it for a BRRRRAHHHH.  Just as importantly, he committed just 3 fouls in 27 minutes, allowing himself to stay aggressive on defense.
  • Together, TT and JvZ are turning into a shot-blocking force inside.
  • Barksdale was 4/4 from the floor but scored all 9 of his points in a 2 minute and 30 second span in the first half.  He played just 12 minutes for the game.  C.J. played less than 4 minutes in the 2nd half.  Why?  No idea.
  • Tech held the best shooting 3-point team in the league (better than 40%) to just 10/33 from deep 30%… the problem was they gave up 14 offensive rebounds.

Random Thought:

Seriously, are there bigger losers than the duke student body?  A crowd shot of a L.A. Lakers home game is a who’s who of celebrities (or at least it used to be).  A crowd shot of the duke student section looks like a Big Bang Theory casting call (not including the duke female who is a porn star — true story). I mean, if these nerds went to any other school, they’d never leave their room.  I went to the game at duke two years ago and I was tempted to start doling out wedgies and I was 36 at the time.  These people would be the face of bullying if they went to, say, florida state.  Yet they go to duke and actually think they are cool.  Seriously, you get dates because you’ll earn money some day, not because you pop your back zits with a protractor.

The Hokies return home on Saturday at 2:30 to face the ranked unc tar heels in the final home game of the season.  It’s a Maroon Monsoon, people!

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps2 Comments

nc state 71 (7-7), HOKIES 64 (2-12)

Boxscore

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.

KEY STATS:

ncsu VT
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.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps, Home7 Comments

uva 57, HOKIES (2-11) 53

Boxscore

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

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.

KEY STATS:

  uva VT
FGs 20/51 (39%) 19/43 (44%)
3-Ptrs 9/25 (36%) 6/17 (35%)
FTs 8/15 (53%) 9/15 (60%)
Leaders:    
Scoring Brogdon – 12 Wilson/JvZ – 13
     
Score Trend: 1st Half 2nd Half
Under-16 uva 10-8 VT 35-27
Under-12 uva 14-13 VT 40-34
Under-8 VT 22-14 VT 45-42
Under-4 VT 22-18 VT 46-42
Half/Final VT 28-21 uva 57-53

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 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.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps5 Comments

HOKIES 52 (2-10), miami 45 (3-9)

Boxscore

VICTORY!!!  And for yours truly, victory Scotch! (see picture — in honor of our 10 game losing streak it is a 10 year old Scotch… nah, let’s move on up to 18 year old Johnnie Walker Platinum!)

Victory Scotch!

Victory Scotch!

I had a good feeling about tonight (although this isn’t the first time I’ve said that), and it proved right!  The Hokies snapped their 10 game losing streak and picked up their first win of 2014 with a clean sweep of the miami hurricanes, 52-45 at the Cassell on Saturday (won if football – check; won in bball twice — check).  With the win, VT avoids falling below .500 at home this year (8-7).  Tech must win 1 of their final 3 home games to avoid just their 2nd losing season at the Cassell in 53 years.

First of all, let me say how proud I am of the guys and happy they won tonight in front of 5,105 of the best fans in the world (there was a spirited student crowd there — but I’m sure it had nothing to do with the chance to win a free Spring Break trip).  Last Saturday was a heartbreaker and I’m glad the Baby Jakes could feel the sweet taste of victory tonight.  And congrats to JJ.  Yes, I want him fired at seasons end, but I’m glad he got the guys focused again tonight and got a win.

The Hokies won largely due to one reason: miami put on the worst shooting exhibit I have ever seen for the first 29 minutes (and despite the fact Tech wasn’t lighting it up, VT kept a comfortable lead throughout):

  • miami started the game 1/14
  • miami went almost 8 minutes in the first half without a point (VT went on a 9-0 run to go up 17-5)
  • The u shot 18.5% on FGs in the first half
  • The canes were 3/17 from 3-point range (17.6%) in the first half
  • The u went more than 6 minutes without a point in the 2nd half
  • miami had just 3 points (all on the same shot) in the first 9 minutes of the 2nd half
  • With 11 minutes to go in the game they were shooting 15% from the field
  • miami shot 26% from the field for the game and 21% from deep (7/34)

Keep in mind VT was dead last in the ACC in 3-point % defense in ACC play coming in (39%) but held miami to almost half that.

And if you had the under you were sitting pretty:

  • It was 19-15 at the half.
  • Tech led 27-18 with 11 minutes to go
  • VT went scoreless from the 14:45 mark of the 2nd half for more than 4 minutes… and yet miami didn’t score either.

I.e. it wasn’t pretty, but we’ll take it.

C.J. Barksdale was the key tonight.  He’s been Tech’s best plus/minus player for the last two years, and tonight he went 5/9 from the field (including 2/3 on 3s) for 12 points in his first game in almost 3 weeks. He had 7 points in a 4 minute span after entering the game midway through the first half to help Tech jump out to their lead.

Oh, and I guess because CJB was back, Raines didn’t play.  (Can’t have more than one upperclassmen big play, right?!)

The Hokies went ahead 17-5 early, marking their first double-digit lead in ACC play this season.

The two teams were ice cold in the first half — they combined to shoot 55% (if you combined their individual FG%s).

The Hokies did NOT make a free throw in the first half for the third straight game (0/1).  But Tech was 12/19 in the 2nd half from the line, good enough to hold onto the win.  miami was 8/17 (47%) from the line.

Jarell Eddie did not score in the first half as the Hokies went young but finished with 7 points.

Devin Wilson had 12 points to match Barksdale’s 12, although Devin was 2/9 from the field (8/11 on FTs).  Wilson just missed a double-double with 9 assists and now just needs 5 assists to set the VT freshman record.

Here’s how the Baby Jakes did:

  • Wilson (12 points, 9 assists)
  • Thompson (8 points, 12 rebounds)
  • Emelogu (9 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block)

The Baby Jakes had a very good game and combined for 96 minutes.  JJ is trying to sell his futures.

The Hokies shot 37% for the game but were 6/15 (40%) from deep.

Tech led wire to wire, the canes never led in the game.

Garrius Adams (miami) had 13 points to lead all scorers (albeit on 4/12 shooting and 0/5 on 3s).  Rion Brown, their best player, had a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards, but he was just 4/16 on FGs and 3/12 on 3s.

Random Thought: This game was a Blackout. Did we wear black? No. They did. That’s as poor of planning and as dumb as can be.

I’ll say in one more time — WINNING IS AWESOME!  Now let’s beat those dang 12-1 hoos on Tuesday night at the Cassell at 9 PM!

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps7 Comments

#25 pitt 62 (8-3), HOKIES 57 (1-10) – 2 OT

Boxscore

The first meeting in 10 years, and first ever as ACC foes, was a memorable one between the Hokies and panthers.  But the Hokies would drop their 10th in a row in heartbreaking fashion, falling 62-57 in double overtime.  Major props to the guys for battling their rear ends off today at a tough environment in the Oakland Zoo.  It’s too bad they couldn’t have pulled this out.

Tech had every chance to win this game but just couldn’t get it done.  The Hokies led by 4 with less than a minute to go in regulation, but committed a dumb foul and gave the panthers a 4-point play to tie the game with 40 seconds left.  Even after that, VT would have the final possession of regulation and overtime, but in both cases the Hokies were unable to get a shot off and let the game continue.

And the biggest killer for the Hokies was they went both overtimes without making a field goal:

  • 0/13 on field goals in the two overtimes
  • Just 2 made field goals in the final 20 minutes of the game (and both were on consecutive possessions).  Tech was just 2/20 on FGs from the 10-minute mark of the 2nd half on.
  • Tech did hit 9/10 free throws in the overtimes
VT pitt
FGs 17/53 (32%) 18/48 (38%)
3-Ptrs 7/22 (32%) 6/21 (29%)
FTs 16/20 (80%) 20/28 (71%)
VT pitt
Leading:
Scorer Eddie 15 Wright 18
Rebounds Raines 11 Zanna 7
Assists Wilson 4 Patterson 5

Crazy stat of the game: The teams combined to go 1/19 from the field in the overtimes.  pitt had the only make, a layup to start the 2nd OT.  The other 21 points of overtime were all free throws.

The Hokies did a lot of things good in this game:

  • Tech’s much maligned senior class (Raines and Eddie) both had solid games.  Jarell Eddie hit 5/12 three-pointers for 15 points after going 1/12 from deep in his previous two games.  And Cadarian Raines had 8 points and 11 rebounds, narrowly missing his 3rd career double-double and forcing JJ to update his zings.  Raines had NINE offensive rebounds and really got after it on the glass.  He played hard.
  • They held pitt’s leading scorer, Lamar Patterson (17.7 ppg), without a point for the first 43 minutes and 32 seconds of the game and he didn’t make a field goal until the 2nd overtime.  He finished with just 5 points on 1/9 shooting.
  • Devin Wilson, who entered this game hitting just 57% of his FTs in ACC play, went 8/11 from the line including two to tie the game with 43 seconds to go in overtime.
  • Free Throws: The Hokies hit 16/19 FTs between the 2nd half and overtimes.  They hit 80% for the game, well above their 56% average in ACC action.
  • Tech had 17 offensive rebounds (44%) compared to just 6 by pitt (19%).
  • I was going to give JJ credit for taking the air out of the ball and shortening the game, but our possessions at the end of regulation, the end of the first OT, and with a minute to go and down 4 in the 2nd OT were horrendous and 2 of those 3 were after timeouts.  But slowing the game did help, largely thanks to our defense.
  • No Reverse Bear Fight, avoiding a 5th straight (which would have been a VT record).

Game Summary: There were a couple of times in the first half where you said to yourself, “Here we go again.”  The first was right out of the gate.  pitt started 5/6 from the field including hitting 3 three-pointers to jump out to a 13-5 lead before the first media timeout, causing Coach JJ to burn a timeout.

For once, the Hokies responded to a timeout, holding the panthers without a point for just over 6 minutes, and took a 14-13 lead thank to a 9-0 run.  Yes, the Hokies actually flipped the script holding the opponent scoreless.

pitt responded with a 5-0 run of their own to go back up 18-14 and you wondered again if the VT of the last month would surface.  They didn’t.  The Hokies of the early part of the season make an appearance and continued to battle, and at the break, Tech trailed by just 1, 27-26.  Keep in mind VT had been outscored by 80 combined points in their previous 6 games, so this was a great sign.

Would the Hokies roll over and play dead after the half?  Nope.  Ben Emelogu drained a 3-pointer to start the 2nd half and put the Hokies back in the lead at 29-27.  It marked the first time Tech has led in the 2nd half since the clemson game (7 games ago).

Virginia Tech increased their lead to as much as 5, going up 34-29 with 16:28 to go.

Tech’s defense was absolutely stellar in the 2nd half, holding pitt to just 11 points in the first 13 minutes after the break, thanks to a couple of blocks by van Zegeren and Raines each.

James Robinson hit a 3-pointer for pitt to put them ahead 41-39 with 6:50 to go, pitt’s first lead since 40 seconds into the 2nd half.

After Tech tied it at 41, perhaps the play of the game came when the Hokies should have had a layup in the paint but the ball was fumbled away and was about to go out of bounds on the left sideline, but Cameron Wright of pitt tipped the ball up the court as he jumped over the scorer’s table and Josh Newkirk grabbed it and sailed ahead for a right-handed dunk to give pitt the lead with 5:01 to go at 43-41.

Once again you wondered if Tech would pack it up and head for the airport after the panthers extended their lead to 44-41.  At that point, Tech hadn’t made a field goal in more than 6 minutes and had just 2 points during that stretch.  But Jarell Eddie hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game to tie it at 44 with just under 4 minutes to go.  Then Devin Wilson hit an acrobatic layup, switching the ball from his right hand to his left hand mid-air (ala Michael Jordan in the NBA Finals vs the L.A. Lakers), to put the Hokies up 46-44 with 3 minutes to go.

After a couple of stops, Joey van Zegeren went to the line for a one-and-one with 40 seconds left and VT up by 2.  The 26% foul shooter in ACC play BANKED the first one in, then like Ollie in Hoosiers, calmly swished the second free throw to put VT up 4.

Four points should guarantee you keep the lead for your next possession, right?  Wrong.  This is the 0-for-2014 Hokies.  Jarell Eddie giveth, and he taketh away.  And on pitt’s next possession he fouled James Robinson from the left corner as hit nailed a 3-pointer.  Robinson made the subsequent free throw to tie the game and give the Hokies the ball with the game tied at 48 and the shot clock off.  In pitt’s last game in a similar situation, they lost on a shot in the final second by uva.

The Hokies milked the clock for the final shot of regulation, but that would never come.  Jarell Eddie was stripped of the ball by a help defender (James Robinson again), and a jump-ball gave the panthers possession with 2.7 seconds left.  After a timeout, pitt’s 40-footer at the buzzer (anyone have flashbacks to the duke/Dockery shot nine years ago?) bricked harmlessly off the backboard and the Hokies were headed to overtime.

In overtime, neither team scored in the first 2 minutes until Raines hit a couple of free throws to put VT up 50-48.  After a Tech turnover, Devin Wilson had a flashback to his football days in nearby McKees Rock, PA and tried to tackle Lamar Patterson and was called for an intentional foul.  Patterson, all alone on the line, missed both attempts but pitt got the ball back.  Two Robinson free throws tied the game back up at 50 with 100 seconds to go.

After each team hit a couple of free throws, and a Hokie stop on defense, Tech again would have the last shot.  This time JJ elected not to take a timeout, and the result wasn’t any better than in regulation.  Again, Tech would turn it over without getting a shot off, this time Devin Wilson lost possession of the ball going up for a jumper in the paint and overtime ended with the game tied at 52.  Neither team made a field goal in overtime, with both teams hitting 4 free throws.

The 2nd overtime saw the Hokies start to run out of bodies.  After playing the first 45 minutes with just 7 guys, Joey van Zegeren and Trevor Thompson both fouled out early in the 2nd extra session and pitt made the Hokies pay from the line.

Random Notes:

  • First Half FT Woes: Tech has not made a free throw in the first half of their last 2 games.  They had just one attempt before the break today (which is the equally large concern – the lack of aggression on offense).
  • Flurry of Fouls: Trevor Thompson and Joey van Zegeren both fouled out for the 2nd game in a row.
  • Turnovers: Tech committed 20 turnovers (7 by Wilson), their 2nd most of the season (27 vs vcu) and most in ACC play.  pitt committed just 11.
  • Devin Wilson, in his return to his hometown, continued to struggle from the floor.  He was just 1/9 and is now 7/36 (19%) on FGs over the last 5 games.

Hokies Respect Moment of the Game: With pitt about to miss their first free throw of the game, Trevor Thompson stepped in the lane early so that the panther would get another try, which he made.  Hokies respect, that’s what it’s all about!

Tech has their “bye” during the week this week and don’t return to action until next Saturday, facing the miami hurricanes at 6 PM in the Cassell.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps6 Comments

florida state 70 (5-5), HOKIES 50 (1-9) – noles Complete Hokie Hat Trick

Boxscore

“Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffin’ glue.”  -Airplane

It was not a good day for the Hokies in terms of head-to-head competition with the seminoles.  Let me recap:

  1. fsu got a commitment from 4-star DT derrick nnadi, arguably Tech’s highest profile recruit (of guys we had a shot with)
  2. Next, the noles got 4-star Javon Harrison (a WR who will end up playing defense for the noles because they have better WRs) to flip to fsu after being committed to the Hokies for more than 18 months.
  3. Finally, in the least surprising of the three, the noles defeated the Hokies in hoops 70-50 late Wednesday night in front of about 500 people.  The Hokies are now 0-7 at fsu since joining the ACC, the only venue Tech has not won at of the schools that were in the ACC before this year.  FYI: The noles had lost 4 of 5 coming into this game, but what cures your ails more than the Hokies!  This marked Tech’s 4th straight Reverse Bear Fight loss.

SHOOTING STATS:

VT fsu
FG% 21/61 (34%) 20/46 (44%)
3-Pt% 5/21 (24%) 9/16 (56%)
FT% 3/9 (33%) 21/25 (84%)

GAME LEADERS:

Leading VT fsu
Scorer Raines – 13 Thomas – 24
Rebounder van Zegeren – 9 Bookert/White – 8
Assists Wilson – 3 3 guys – 3

 

In order to make these recaps more efficient, I’m going to try out a new template.  Here’s how it will work:

  • Tech was without [insert rotating laundry list of players hurt, suspended, sitting out, or abducted by aliens]
  • The Hokies were horrendous from the free throw line [insert crazy stat]
  • Jarell Eddie couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.  He started 0-for-[insert really high number here]
  • Tech was completely unprepared for their opponent and got destroyed in the first half, falling to an [insert a double-digit number here] deficit at the half
  • The [opponent] shot really, really well; hitting [insert FG% and 3-Pt% that were probably at 50% or above] and Coach JJ made ZERO adjustments to correct it — [insert Head-Scratcher]
  • The Hokies were horrendous shooting the ball — [I can pretty much just put in numbers under 35% on FGs and under 30% on 3-Ptrs and under 60% on FTs and not even have to sweat it]
  • Tech would make a valiant run to start the 2nd half.  They cut an [insert huge halftime lead] to [insert closer number] before [insert analogy to pooping your pants and continuing to make people money that bet against VT].
  • [Insert random thing that you've never seen before that VT screwed up or allowed to happen tonight]
  • [Some random opponent went nuts]
  • Tech lost by a Bear Fight; Tech’s [insert ridiculously high number] straight loss by 20+…

OK, so let’s fill in the above for Wednesday night…

  • Tech was without C.J. Barksdale (groin – 3rd straight game missed), Marshall Wood (???), and Adam Smith (calf, stress fracture, anything else???).  But keep in mind fsu was without Ian Miller, their leading scorer, so again, this is just an excuse.
  • The Hokies did not make a free throw until 2:07 was left IN THE GAME.  They started 0/5 from the stripe and finished 3/9 (33%) from the foul line.
  • Jarell Eddie couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat.  He started 0-for-7 from the field.  In fact, he was 0/16 between the maryland game and the first half of this game before hitting his first 2 shots at the start of the 2nd half.  FYI: they didn’t stop the game to give him the ball.  Later in the 2nd half he broke his streak of 11 straight missed 3-pointers (which had included 94 minutes of play).  Jarell finished 3/14 from the field and 1/7 from deep.  He’s now 25/96 (26%) on FGs since the start of 2014 and 13/52 (25%) on 3-pointers.  That’s VT’s leading scorer.
  • Tech was completely unprepared for their opponent and got destroyed in the first half, falling to an 11-point deficit at the half, down 31-20.  VT has been outscored by 80 points in the first half of their last 6 games, trailing by double-digits in all but one of those games (they were down just 8 to maryland)
  • The seminoles shot really, really well; hitting 44% of their FGs and 56% (9/16) of their 3s and Coach JJ made ZERO adjustments to correct it — despite fsu shooting 4/7 from 3-point range in the first half, JJ stayed in a 2-3 zone (which is vulnerable to 3-point shooting), allowing fsu to hit 4/5 (all by Aaron Thomas in a span of less than 4 minutes) from deep to start the 2nd half and jump to an 18-point lead by the midway point of the final stanza.
  • The Hokies were horrendous shooting the ball — Tech shot 34% from the field and 24% from deep (Will Johnson made 4 of Tech’s 5 three-pointers… the rest of the team was 1/14).
  • Tech would make a valiant run to start the 2nd half.  They cut an 11-point halftime deficit to 7 right at the start of the 2nd half before completely crapping the bed and falling behind by 20.
  • The seminoles had a 5-point play.  Yep, that’s not a typo.  Montay Brandon hit a 3-pointer late in the first half as Jarquez Smith was fouled under the hoop.  He hit both free throws to give the noles a 5-point play and turn a 5-point lead into a double digit advantage.
  • Aaron Thomas has 24 points for fsu, his 2nd highest point total of his career.  He was 6/8 from 3-point range.
  • The Hokies lost by a Reverse Bear Fight, Tech’s 4th straight loss by 20+ and 6th time in 12 games… LOL.  A walk-on, Brandon Allen, hit a fadeaway jumper with 11 seconds left to put fsu up 20 and give them the Reverse Bear Fight win.

Some other things of note:

  • Props to Ben Emelogu:  He re-injured his ankle in Fight Club… I mean practice the other day but still battled his way through this game playing mega minutes and scoring 8 points.
  • Cadarian Raines led the Hokies with 13 points on 6/11 shooting.
  • Will Johnston, a walk-on, was 4/7 from 3-point range for 12 points.  The rest of the team was 1/14 from long range.
  • Devin WIlson was 1/8 from the field for just 4 points.  He’s averaging just 5 points in his last 3 games after averaging 18 in the previous four games.  Devin is just 6/27 (22%) on FGs and 0/6 on 3s in his last 4 games.
  • Joey van Zegeren and Trevor Thompson both fouled out before the final media timeout.  They combined for 15 rebounds but just 6 points (all by Trevor Thompson).  Tech was called for 26 fouls compared to 21 for the noles (not complaining, just saying they were more aggressive).  The biggest discrepancy was fsu shot 25 free throws and hit 21 of them (84%), including a perfect 14/14 in the 2nd half.  Tech was just 3/9.
  • The Hokies were dominant on the offensive glass… again.  Tech snagged 16 offensive rebounds in 43 opportunities (37%) while allowing fsu just 6 of 27 (22%).

Shout out to LeeRay Seamon!!!

JJ Head-Scratcher: Leonard “Happy” Hamilton is a coach that has built his team behind tough defense.  Yet when the opponent misses or commits a turnover, the noles look to get out and run and get easy buckets in transition.  The Hokies, meanwhile, pull the ball out and setup in the halfcourt, eliminating fast break opportunities.  One prime example was a backwards pass Devin Wilson intercepted, yet our best ballhandler slowed the ball up and waited for everyone else to catch up.  Given our offensive struggles… WHY?!

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps9 Comments

maryland 80 (5-4, 13-5), HOKIES 60 (1-8, 8-13) – Welcome to the Quarry!

Boxscore

The Hokies (1-8, 8-13) dropped their 8th straight game and fell to 0-5 at home (Quarry Coliseum) in ACC play in front of 5,110 fans by a 80-60 score to maryland (5-4, 13-5) in the final meeting in Blacksburg between the teams as ACC foes.  Just when you think VT has hit rock bottom, they get out their shovels and dig some more Hokiestone to make the quarry a little deeper.  Whit – you aren’t in the Queen City anymore, enjoy your Skyline chili while you can because these turkey legs are tasting rotten.

The Hokies actually came out and played with some life in the first half for the first time in five games and it looked like Tech might have a chance at their 2nd ACC win, perhaps inspired by the fact AD-to-be Whit Babcock was seeing the team in person for the first time.  But any thoughts of a Hokie ‘W’ quickly faded after the break.

The Hokies trailed by 8 at the half (43-35) and cut the lead to 47-40 in the first couple of minutes.  After that, the terps went on a 15-1 run over the next 6:40 and closed the book on this game, going ahead 62-41.  The Baby Jakes (Wilson, Emelogu, and Thompson) spurred a brief run to cut the lead to 16.  Hopefully you stopped watching then because  maryland used another 13-4 run to make it 79-54.  The Hokies went more than 8 minutes with just 1 field goal in the latter part of the game until Ben Emelogu hit a 3-pointer with 27 seconds left, allowing maryland to get up by as many as 25.

What is Rock Bottom?  It is this…

  • The Hokies went 6:40 without a FG early in the 2nd half and then made just 1 FG from the 8:40 mark to go until 27 seconds to go.  That’s against the ACC’s 14th ranked defense.
  • This game marked the 4th straight game VT has trailed by 20+ points
  • This was the 3rd straight game VT has lost in Reverse Bear Fight fashion (20+).
  • Tech has lost 5 of 11 games by 20+
  • Tech has shot 60% or worse from the free throw line in 8 of 9 ACC games (JvZ was 2/7 today which actually raised his FT% in ACC play)
  • VT has shot under 38% from the field in 4 straight games and in 7 of 9 ACC games
  • The Hokies were 12/46 (26%) combined on FGs in the 2nd half of their two games this week… against the two worst defenses in the ACC

The lone bright spot today for Tech was Ben Emelogu.  He had 21 points (just short of the 22 he had vs wvu) on 7/12 FGs, 3/6 three-pointers, and 4/4 FTs.  And his points weren’t all in garbage time, he had 12 in the first half when the game was close.

The flip side of Emelogu was Mr. Eddie.  Some days Jarell Eddie is good, and some days he isn’t.  Today was Bad Eddie: he went 0/9 from the field and 0/5 from 3-point range (and just 2/4 on FTs), finishing with 2 points.  Apparently his 23 point outburst at boston college was a one-time thing.

Devin Wilson also had a second straight rough game.  He was just 2/6 from the floor for 6 points.  After averaging 18 ppg in the 4 games before this week, Devin scored just 11 total points this week and had just 5 total assists.  Hopefully he gets back on track this week.

After playing the ACC’s two worst ranked defenses this week (bc and maryland), I think the Hokies left no doubt who actually has the most abysmal defense.  The Hokies allowed the terps to shoot 52% from the field for the game and 53% from behind the arc (8/15).

Meanwhile, maryland came in ranked last in the ACC in FG% allowed (47%) and 3-point % allowed (40%).  Tech shot just 37% from the field and 4/16 (25%) from 3-point range.  And to boot, VT hit just 16/27 free throws (59%).

The first half did have some excitement on offense for Tech.  The Hokies used 3 steals and 5 maryland turnovers to get 8 fast break points in the first 8 minutes of the game.  To put this in perspective, VT only had 13 combined fast break points in their four home games in all of January.  But, then the Hokies returned to form.  They scored one more fast break bucket an acrobatic Will Johnston layup late in the first half, but scored 0 fast break points in the 2nd half (maryland had 15 for the game).

Devin Wilson finished an and-1 with 9:30 to go, putting Tech up 21-15, tying their largest lead in an ACC game all season and you saw life in the team and crowd.  But maryland responded with 12 points in a span of 2:17 to take a 27-21 lead.  Yep, another 12-0 run, and on just five possessions by the terps.

The Hokies had a chance to tie the game at 37 with a minute to go before the break, but Joey van Zegeren missed two free throws (making him 1/5 from the line in the first half… plus he missed the front end of a 1-and-1 so really 1/6).  The terps drained two 3-pointers in the final minute and took an 8 point lead to the locker room.

The Hokies have now been outscored by 69 points in the first half of their last five games.

At least the Hokies won’t lose at home this week, Tech is on the road for both games, at fsu Wednesday (where VT has never won in ACC play) and at pitt Saturday.

Tip for JJ: People often think a press forces the game to be up-tempo, but that isn’t always true and depends on the type of press.  I know we don’t have much depth, but with a semi-soft three-quarters court press, you don’t expend a ton of energy.  Plus it would take advantage of our length on defense.  That’s why it is frustrating to never see Tech pressure despite JJ’s claims VT would be a pressing team when he got the job.  maryland used their three-quarters court trap to slow down the Hokies offense.  On 4 of Tech’s first 8 possessions the Hokies took the shot clock under 10 seconds before getting into their offense and getting the ball inside the 3-point line.  Don’t you think that would help the defensively challenged Hokies on that end?  TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT!  If we are getting blown out giving up wide open 3s every game, maybe try a press, even if it isn’t an aggressive full court press.  Just give the opponent a different look and slow them down.  And even if they shred the press, at least they’ll only get a 2-point dunk and not an easy 3.  I mean, how much more could we lose by?

JJ in over his head moment of the game: With 9:30 left and VT down 16 (and the game decided), Evan Smotrycz swung an elbow and then tried to girl-push Trevor Thompson (after Trevor accidentally put Evan in a headlock… trust me).  It wasn’t that bad but it still looked unsportsmanlike.  Tech had just made a mini-run, and needed to know their coach had their back.  It was time for JJ to make a scene.  I’m not talking stomp around a child and throw a temper tantrum, especially in front of your new boss.  But at least get a ways out on the court and tell the refs point blank we won’t take that crap.  Maybe you get T’d up, maybe you don’t.  Either way, we were going to lose.  But at least it would have sent a message, like Seth did when he got ejected at Cameron Indoor in our first season in the ACC (and our team took off in the following games).  JJ did talk with the refs and plead his case, but he’s too passive.  If you want your guys to play with fire in their bellies, you have to show some at times, too, and this was the chance to do it (and for them, not at their expense).  He just isn’t a head coach.  Period.

Random Thought: Can we go a week without having an announcer crew that features an alum of our opponent?  Corey Alexander last week and tim brant this week.  brant actually said “10,000 people bought tickets for this game” at one point and “it’s a late arriving crowd” earlier.  Um, yeah, we know.

Also, I’m now 0-for-TechHoops.com on guarantees (I guaranteed Tech would win a game this week).  I clearly overestimated this bunch.

Favorite maryland @ VT Memories from the ACC:

I actually have two, and neither were today.  I’ve always hated maryland and their obnoxious fans who are often just plain dumb when it comes to talking trash.  It stinks to think we lost to them at home in football and basketball in their final ACC season, but at least these two memories were awesome:

  1. HOKIES 86, maryland 76 – 3/5/2005.  In the regular season finale of Tech’s inaugural ACC season, Tech defeated the more talented terps and evened their ACC record at 8-8 to clinch the #4 seed and a bye in the ACC Tournament.  What a shocking season it had been, and this was the capper.
  2. The Ice Bowl: HOKIES 67, maryland 64 (OT) – An ice storm crippled SW VA but the game went on – on Sunday Night Hoops.  The Tech Administration let students flood the arena and it ended up being closed to capacity and loud as can be (imagine that — having students in the best seats).  The Hokies took this game in overtime on their way to a NCAA Tournament invite.
  3. Honorable Mention: maryland 104, VT 100 (2 OT) — a beer truck hit a fire hydrant and this game was delayed about 4 hours.  And with overtime, it went well into the night.  There was no water in the building so I had to pee outside at halftime… on a TV truck… next to a current VT football assistant coach.  I also drank a whole bottle of salad dressing before the game on a bet (I won, but I paid).

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps, Home18 Comments

boston college 76 (2-5, 6-14), HOKIES 52 (1-7, 8-12)

Boxscore

The Good News for everyone going to the game Saturday: The Hokies are going to win because I guaranteed Tech would win a game this week!

The Bad News… That’s because the Hokies got absolutely tarred and feathered by a boston college team that is 0-5 in ACC play and 4-14 overall in games against teams other than Virginia Tech (but swept the Hokies in their two meetings).  The eagles won 76-52 on Wednesday night, giving Tech their 2nd straight Reverse Bear Fight loss and 4th of the season.  VT is now 1-11 all time at bc  since joining the Big East in 2000.

This game came down to one stat: 3-point shooting.  In the preview it was mentioned that in Virginia Tech’s last 10 games they had won both games where they made more 3s than their opponent, and were 0-8 when making the same or less.  So here’s the only stat you need to know about this game: The eagles made 14 three-pointers to just 4 for Tech.  That says it all.  And consider this — bc started 11/17 (65%) from deep but shot 3/20 (15%) the rest of the game and still increased their lead.  The Hokies were 0/7 from deep in the 2nd half and finished just 4/14 for the game (29%).  bc was 14/36 (39%) despite missing their final 10 three-point attempts.

boston college absolutely blistered the nets in the first half.  After Tech took a 7-5 lead in the first 3 minutes, boston college went on an 11-0 run to take a 16-7 lead.  The eagles stretched that out further to a 23-12 advantage just short of the halfway point of the first half.  At that point, bc was 7/9 from the field, 5/7 on 3-pointers, and 4/4 from the line.

The eagles didn’t cool off much the rest of the half.  Check out these first half numbers:

  • FGs: 13/19 (68%)
  • 3s: 7/12 (58%)
  • 2s: 6/7 (86%)
  • FTs: 13/16 (81%)
  • bc came in averaging just 65 ppg in ACC play but had 43 at the break

The only reason VT was down *just* 13 at the half was their offensive rebounding.  Tech had 8 offensive boards and 12 Second Chance Points compared to just 1 offensive rebound and 2 Second Chance Points for the eagles.

Jarell Eddie snapped out of his shooting slump with 18 first half points on 7/10 shooting.  The rest of the team was just 6/20 (30%) in the first half.

But Jarell could muster just 4 2nd half points, finishing with a game-high 22 on 8/13 shooting.  He also led Tech with 9 rebounds for the game.  No other Hokie hit double digits for the game and, other than Eddie, everyone else was just 10/40 (25%) for the game.

The Hokies have now trailed by 15, 16, 17, and 13 (way to buck the trend slightly) at halftime of their last 4 games, and trailed by as many as 15 in the first stanza of this contest.

Unlike in the past three games, there was absolutely no run by the Hokies in the 2nd half to make it interesting.  If you thought the eagles’ arms would be tired after the break, you were dead wrong, at least at the beginning.  bc started the 2nd half on a 14-3 run to go ahead 60-36 before Tech had even made a single field goal.  This included a 4/5 start from long range for the eagles.

The eagles had eclipsed their average points per game in ACC play (65) with 10 minutes to go in the game.  It got so bad that boston college was up 30 (76-46) with 6:39 to go.  Did the eagles let up?  Nope.  boston college increased their lead during each of the first 8 (of 10) media timeouts of the game (including halftime).  Finally Tech won the under-8 to under-4 stretch by outscoring bc by a single point (to cut the lead to 25) and again by 1 point to finish the game.

The Hokies shot just 5/23 (5 made field goals for an entire half?!) in the 2nd half (22%) against, I’ll say it again, the worst defense in the ACC and scored just 19 points after the break despite the fact the outcome was all but decided.

A few other notes:

  • Every Hokie except for Jarell Eddie (8/13) and Christian Beyer (3/5) shot under 50% from the field.
  • Tech was 12/21 from the foul line (57%).  They have shot better than 60% from the line in just 1 ACC game.
  • bc had 24 points off turnovers to just 1 for VT.
  • The Hokies shot 34% for the game against the worst defense in the ACC, that was allowing opponents to shoot 47% in ACC games coming in.
  • bc had 4 guys in double figures (Rahon 20, Anderson 18, Hanlan 11 (he had 4 fouls, including a technical, in the first 3 minutes of the 2nd half), and Heckmann 14) to just 1 for Tech (Eddie – 22).

Crazy stat of the night: Since VT beat bc on January 23rd, 2010, the eagles have gone 26-41 in ACC regular season games.  During that stretch they are 7-1 (88%) vs the Hokies and therefore 19-40 (32%) vs everyone else.

Point/Shot Distribution:

Shots VT bc
Paint 12/35 34% 8/14 57%
Midrange 2/4 50% 2/3 67%
Threes 4/14 29% 14/36 39%
Free Throws 12/21 57% 14/18 78%
2nd Chance 14 5
Fastbreak 1 3

Inside Niemo’s Head:

  • Dare I say it is safe to state we are rock bottom?  Would losing to a team by 24 points that was 5-14 and 1-5 coming in, with the one win against you qualify for that (and this being a week after losing to a team that hadn’t won an ACC road game in over 2 years).
  • Is boston college our Kryptonite or what?  We are 1-7 at bc since they joined the ACC in basketball, and just 2-3 at bc in football (and believe me, that’s awful for Tech — we’ve been amazing in ACC road games in football over the years).  The Hokies have now lost 7 of 8 to bc in hoops.
  • JJ is really making is easy for the AD.  He is apparently attending the hoops game on Saturday.  JJ better hope we get more than this or he is really playing the AD’s hand for him.  I mean, in all honesty, if we had a stable AD who wasn’t coming in on March 1st, would JJ have any chance of surviving?
  • I am never, ever picking us to beat bc again.  Ever.
  • Thank goodness I’m done with the anti-biotics I was on last week because tonight was made for Michelob!… and Wild Turkey!… and anything else you can drink.  Cheers, y’all.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps12 Comments

uva 65 (6-1, 15-5), Hokies 45 (1-6, 8-11)

Boxscore — On behalf of all of us here at TechHoops.com, we welcome Virginia Tech’s new athletics director Whit Babcock to Blacksburg. We’re sure he was watching the game today and the only thing we can offer is a heart felt “good luck with that.”

Once again, the Hokies failed to cover the spread (18 points) and once again, they lost to uva. Today, the Hokies fell on the road in reverse bear fight fashion, losing 45-65. The last time the Hokies lost to uva by more than 20 points was 1990, 61-86.

True freshman Devin Wilson was the only Tech player to score in double figures, but they were all in garbage time in the second half.

There’s nothing really to recap. Virginia Tech didn’t have any semblance of a game plan. They didn’t defend. They couldn’t penetrate. They couldn’t shoot. They couldn’t do anything against Tony Bennett’s stingy defense.

The Hokies scored 17 points in the first half and had their usual 10-minute streak without a field goal. From the 14:33 mark to the 4:20, Virginia Tech didn’t hit a single basket. Their only point during that stretch was a single free throw.

The Hokies trailed by 17 at the half, getting double 34-17. Tech has now trailed at the break by 15, 16, and 17 points in their last three games. If that doesn’t tell a story, then I don’t know what does.

After starting 3/3 from the field, Tech went 3/19 the rest of the first half. At the break VT was 27% from the field, 27% on 3s, and 25% from the line (2/8). At least they are consistent! And here are the Hokies’ abysmal stats for the game: field goals 14/42 (33.3%), 3-pointers 3/18 (16.7%), and free throws 14/25 (56%). What else do you need to know?

What’s left to say? No one played well and if there was a game plan, it was abandoned at the opening tip. One good thing was Ben Emelogu returned to action after missing the last two games with an ankle injury and played most of the game.

Here’s a quote from Niemo that pretty much sums up this game and this season:

“If this is the first Virginia Tech basketball game Whit Babcock has watched, he probably just threw up in his mouth a little bit and wonders what he’s gotten himself into.”

Next up, boston college in Chestnut Hill, where we haven’t won in eight years. Road trip?

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps, Games7 Comments

wake forest 83 (3-3, 13-6), HOKIES 77 (1-5, 8-10)

Dear Hokie Hoops Fan,

You have officially been admitted to Rock Bottom.  Population: Us

Sincerely,

JJ

Boxscore

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.

Positives:

  • 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.

Final Thoughts:

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.

Posted in 2013-14, Game Recaps, Home13 Comments

clemson 56 (3-1, 12-4), HOKIES 49 (1-3, 8-8)

Boxscore

Well, I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted, because tonight was probably the last time all season the Hokies will step on the floor with a winning record.  Tonight Tech lost their third straight game, all at home, to the team picked to finish 14th in the ACC.  c-l-e-m-s-ohhh-n defeated Tech 56-49 fueled by a 7-0 run to finish the game in the final 90 seconds.

Hey!  We broke the 4,000 attendance mark with 4,022 fans!  Seriously, though, major props to the fans going to the games.  (Joke: What’s the difference between a VT basketball crowd and an opera crowd… An opera crowd cheers at the end.)

I will say this, the Hokies (whom I predicted to win this game by a score of 5X to 4X instead of vice versa) actually played pretty well against the #1 defense in the nation in terms of points per game allowed (53 per coming in).  Tech shot over 40% for the game, well above their average in ACC contests.  And they fought back from a 49-43 deficit to tie the game at 49 on a Ben Emelogu 3-pointer with 1:49 to play.  But on the ensuing possession Adonis Filer-of-fish converted a controversial 3-point play (why controversial, you ask?  Well, Rod Hall caught the inbounds with both feet in the front court and then leaped into the back court to start the possession, then the refs gave Filer 2 steps of continuation on the 3-point play — JvZ’s 5th foul of the game).  But that’s besides the point — once again this JJ led team found a way to lose late… at home.

The Hokies are now just 7-5 in the Cassell this season.  While that may not sound that bad, keep this in mind — in the 50+ years of the Cassell, Tech has had a losing record at home just once.  ONCE.  And Tech just lost to a 4-11 team at home and the team picked to finish 14th.  With 6 home games to go, that doesn’t bode well for the Hokies to finish on the plus side of .500 (need 3 more wins) or even at .500 (need to go 2-4).

Anyway, back to this game.  How did we lose, you ask?  Well, here you go:

  • Devin Wilson: Swimming through a pool of sharks would be easier for him than hitting a free throw right now.  He went 2/8 from the line tonight… for the 2nd straight game.  Yep, he’s 4/16 (25%) from the line in the last two games… Games VT lost by 3 and 7 respectively.
  • Free Throws, Part 2: Tech was 4/14 from the line tonight, and one of them was banked in.  If I need to clarify why that’s bad then…
  • 3-Pointers: Tech was 2/8 from deep in the 2nd half and 5/16 (31%) for the game.  So much for #1 in the nation.
  • Did Senior Night already happen?  No Raines tonight (again) and Jarell Eddie was 1/6 (including 1/5 on 3s) for 3 points.  Jarell is now 6/29 (21%) on FGs and 3/16 (19%) on 3s for 19 points in his last 3 games (he was averaging 17 ppg before this stretch).
  • Speed Limit 59: Tech has yet to eclipse the 60 point mark in regulation in an ACC game.
  • Droughts:
    • After scoring 10 points in a span of 3:04 in the first half, the Hokies went more than 6 minutes and 30 seconds without a point (0/9 FGs).  A 9-0 run put clemson up 16-10.
    • In the 2nd half with Tech up 36-30, the Hokies went 5 minutes without a field goal (and just 1 point total) as clemson went on a 10-0 run to go up 40-36.  VT never led after that point.
  • Raines: 0 minutes; Wood: 0 minutes

Here are your shooting stats for the game:

  • In the Paint:
    • 1st half: 6/12 (started out 2/8)
    • 2nd half: 6/8 (at one point made 9 in a row!)
    • Total: 12/20 (60%)
  • Midrange Jumpers:
    • 1st half: 1/6
    • 2nd half: 2/6
    • Total: 3/12 (25% — that’s, um, not good)
  • 3-Pointers:
    • 1st half: 3/8
    • 2nd half: 2/8
    • Total: 5/16 (31% — you live by the 3, you die…)
  • FREE Throws (emphasis on the free):
    • 1st half: 1/2
    • 2nd half: 3/12
    • Total: 4/14 (29% — THIS is why we are the worst team in the ACC.  IT’S A FREE THROW, PEOPLE!)
    • Tech is 16/35 from the line (46%) in their last 2 games.
  • In short, last game we couldn’t make a layup to save our life.  Today, it was a free throw.  You become the worst team in the league by finding ways to lose by [stinking] at very simple things, like layups and free throws.

It wasn’t all bad, though:

  • Turnovers: just 9 total — 4th straight game with less than 10!!!
  • JvZ tied a career high with 11 points (8 in the first half) and showed the ability to hit a hook shot and create off the dribble!  But he was 1/4 on FTs and the one was a bank… the other 3 hit the back iron — maybe step back a foot?)
  • Love the ‘Logu: I really like Ben Emelogu more and more each game.  Now, K.J. McDaniels stripped him twice tonight, but that guy is the Dominique Wilkins of this conference.  He is a FREAK athlete.  On offense, it looked like K.J. was on a T1 and Jarell Eddie was on dial-up (nerd humor).
  • Beyer really contributes when he’s out there — he had 4 points and 7 rebounds in 26 minutes tonight but it is the 50/50 balls he helps Tech get that means the most.  Love this guy.

Devin Wilson led the Hokies with 14 points, including his 4th and 5th 3-pointer of the season.  Ben Emelogu and Joey van Zegeren added 11 each.

This was a very cleanly played game for the most part between two evenly matched terrible teams.  Neither team led by more than 6 (both led by that amount at some point), until the final margin when clemson went up 7.  And at one point in the 2nd half the game went 5 minutes and 30 seconds without a whistle.  The under-12 timeout in the 2nd half didn’t come until 6:37 to go in the game.

And, last but not least… JJ’s Head-Scratchers:

  • JJ called a timeout with 1:30 left in the 1st half and 15 on the shot clock.  What did VT do afterwards?  Smith dribbled until clemson knocked it out of bounds.  Then… he dribbled it some more until clemson forced a jumpball with 2 on the shot clock.  And Tech had to huck up a shot on the inbounds to beat the shot clock.  Great play design!
  • The Hokies, down 3, fouled clemson’s best foul shooter, K.J. McDaniels, 80-feet from the hoop with 55 seconds to go.  Uh, pressure and make him pass?

That said, I did like the 2-3 zone from JJ to start the 2nd half.  It seemed to throw off clemson a bit.  But let’s face it, losses are losses.  We aren’t at rock bottom yet… that could come next Wednesday.  In the mean time, see you at South Bend, IN on Sunday at 6 PM on ESPNU ACC Sunday Night Hoops!

Posted in 2013-14, Game Recaps13 Comments

No. 2 syracuse (2-0, 15-0) 72, Hokies (1-1, 8-6) 52

As expected, the Hokies fell to No. 2 ranked syracuse at the Cassell before a sparse crowd. The Hokies unexpectedly managed to keep it close and respectable for most of the game. However, the cuse slowly and surely pulled away in the second half to win comfortably 72-52 and remain undefeated.

Tech was within four points six minutes into the second half, 44-40, but the orange went on a 16-0 run to open up a 20-point lead and effectively put the game away. The Hokies, who shot 42 percent in the first half, went ice cold in the second half, and ended up shooting just 36 percent for the game.

Look, moral victories only seem to matter to teams that have low expectations, but if you’re a Hokie fan, you can’t be disappointed in the team’s effort tonight versus a clearly superior team.

Jarell Eddie scored the first points of the game for Virginia Tech when he drilled a three pointer, which gave him 1,000 points for his career. In doing so, the senior becomes the 44th player in Tech history to reach the 1,000 point mark.

Unfortunately, that opening three pointer were the only points in the first half for Eddie, who finished with six points for the game. As has been the case for most of the season, as Eddie goes, so goes the Hokies. And tonight, he wasn’t much of a factor. He struggled defensively and the cuse limited his offensive options and he scored just six points.

The only Virginia Tech player to score in double figures was C.J. Barksdale, who led the team with 12 points. Adam Smith added nine points, all three pointers and all in the first half. True freshman captain Ben Emelogu also had nine points.

The Hokies did an admirable job of defending the orange in the first half and didn’t allow a single fast break bucket in the opening stanza and just two points in the game. Rebounding, however, was a different story.

The Hokies, who led the ACC in defensive rebounding, were outrebounded 41-25 and allowed the cuse to pull down 17 offensive rebounds.

The Hokies, who trailed by 12 points in the first half, held the cuse scoreless for the final 5:50 of the first half and got a three pointer from Adam Smith, his third of the half, to cut the deficit to 35-29 heading into the break.

Smith was playing his first game since injuring his calf against vcu on Dec. 21. Offensively, he certainly contributed, but his calf injury was obviously still an issue defensively.

Notes and Nuggets:

  • Niemo and I were texting during the game and both noticed that when James Johnson switched to the 2-3 zone, syracuse had no trouble with it, scoring nine points on all four possessions until JJ switched back to man.
  • JvZ played at the high post vs. syracuse’s zone and struggled mightily.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps0 Comments

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