Archive | Game Recaps

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

Boxscore — On behalf of all of us here at, 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




To say the first half was an embarrassment would be an understatement.  The Hokies were absolutely run off their own floor in the opening minutes by an inspired wake forest team led by Coach Bzdelik.  Tech did put forth a noble effort in the second half led by Devin Wilson’s 25 2nd half points and got within 9 with 4:30 to go, but ultimately fell by an 83-77 score at the Cassell (the 6-point final margin marked the closest Tech was since the 14:40 mark of the first half — in other words, the game really wasn’t that close.

For those of you that aren’t familiar with Bzdelik and his road woes, here’s some interesting numbers coming into tonight:

  • wake had lost 17 straight ACC road games (19 if you count the ACC Tourney)
  • The deacs hadn’t won an ACC road game in more than 2 full calendar years
  • wake is 1-27 in ACC road games in Bzdelik’s 4 years (1-30 if you count the ACC-T)
  • Bzdelik was 1-23 at colorado in Big 12 road games (including 23 in a row), for a grand total of 2-50 in conference road games over the last 7 years.

Give wake credit, because they got Bzdelik ACC road win #2 tonight with their inspired play.  The deacons just flat destroyed the Hokies early, who granted were without their 2nd and 3rd leading scorers (Ben Emelogu – ankle and Adam Smith – calf).  But excuses are like @ss holes — everyone has one and they both stink.  And the “injury” excuse doesn’t hold water.  We have injuries year after year after year.  What are we doing in practice?  Fight Club?  And wake didn’t go 1-27 without finding ways to lose to teams dealing with adversity.  Instead, we can safely say we are the worst of the worst now.

This game was a train wreck from the start for the Hokies.  Here are a few telling details:

  • So much for Tech’s 52% shooting on FGs at notre dame, Tech started 0/11 from the field, putting them in a 10-2 hole
  • Travis McKie, who had just 15 points combined in his previous 4 games, had 15 points in the first 12 minutes, and put wake up 30-11 with 8:45 to go on his 4th three-pointer of the first half.  (Note: McKie has owned the Hokies in his career.  The senior from Richmond has averaged over 15 ppg against Tech in his time at wake.  McKie finished with 24 points to lead wake.)
  • McKie, who was just 16/58 (28%) on 3s on the season, was 4/4 from long range in the first half (and 5/6 for the game).
  • Tech trailed by 20 (yep, Reverse Bear Fight) with 7:45 still to go… in the first half (34-14)
  • wake scored on 15 of their first 19 possessions (and that includes their first 2 possessions, which they didn’t score on)
  • Tech missed 2 dunks on the same possession at one point.
  • wake only made 2 FGs and scored just 6 points in the final 7 minutes of the first half… yet Tech only 10 themselves, chipping just 3 points off the lead.
  • wake, who came in shooting just 32% on 3s on the season (11th in the ACC), hit 7/10 (70%) in the first half.
  • The Hokies trailed by 16, 43-27, to Bz-eff’n-delik on the road.

But this is Bzdelik and you knew he’d find a way to make it interesting.  Tech opened the 2nd half on a 7-1 and cut the lead to 10 with 18 minutes to go.  After the teams traded baskets, wake then went on a 9-0 run to push the lead back to 19 with just under 15 minutes to go.

Once again Tech battled and chipped away, getting the deficit down to 10 with 5 minutes to go and finally single digits (9) with 4:40 to go.  But the Hokies just couldn’t get stops all night when then needed them, and Codi Miller-McIntyre put the game away with some driving layups and horrible help defense (the VT post players clearly didn’t find the ball).

Kudos to the Hokies for giving it their all in the second half.  Joey van Zegeren laying out for a loose ball down 16 with 8 minutes to go was awesome effort.  And the team did battle.  But you cannot keep digging yourself into ridiculous first half holes and expect to win any games.  Tech has trailed by 15 and 16 points at the half in their last 2 games respectively.  Note to JJ: Whatever you are telling the team at halftime, TELL THEM BEFORE THE GAME!

While wake played with effort, with inspiration, with a gameplan, Tech played with nothing in the first half.  JJ had to know he wasn’t going to have Emelogu or Smith, yet the guys that did play looked totally unprepared.  And to boot, they were uninspired and gave almost no effort on defense.  If a coach can’t prepare you to win, can’t inspire you to play hard, what good is he?  Not much, in my opinion.


  • There are none when you lose at home to a team that had lost 17 straight ACC road games.  I’m surprised they didn’t cut down our nets afterwards.

Things that didn’t stink:

  • Wilson’s 2nd halves: Wilson had 25 points in the 2nd half tonight (26 for the game), giving him 43 points in the 2nd half of our last 2 games.  The problem is he’s only scored 3 combined points in the first half of those games.  He also missed both FTs with VT down 9 and 3:30 to go and Tech having all the momentum.
  • Jarell Eddie had 20 points tonight and was 4/10 on 3s.  The problem is he was just 1/6 on 2-point shots and was just 5/16 from the floor overall (31%).
  • Tech, who came in shooting just 50% on FTs in ACC play, hit 24/33 (73%) tonight.
  • The Hokies had 22 offensive rebounds tonight (47% offensive rebound %).  The problem is they allowed wake a 43% offensive rebound % themselves.
  • Trevor Thompson had 10 points and 12 rebounds, his 2nd double-double of the year.  But have you ever seen a 6’11” guy miss so many dunks?
  • Just 6 turnovers.
  • The students were back (and into the game pretty much the whole way), helping our attendance to 5,156, our best ACC game crowd yet.

Things that had a moderate to severe odor:

  • JJ’s preparation of the team.
  • Cadarian Raines — whatever magic in a bottle he found Sunday night, well, he must have drank it all.  He was just 2/10 from the floor tonight for 5 points.
  • Tech’s shooting — 0/11 to start and 22/65 (34%) for the game.  Even taking away the 0/11 start that’s just 22/54 (41%) after that, which is slightly below average.
  • 0 fastbreak points.  We have a complete inability to push the ball.  Guys get a steal and hold it until Wilson comes and gets it.  And at one point Wilson passed it to Johnston who threw up a 3-pointer on the run that clanked off the rim.
  • Any semblance of an offense — once again the ball would stay beyond the 3-point line until seconds were left on the shot clock, even when down 11 with a little over a minute to go.
  • The fact we didn’t run a full court press until 1 minute to go (and promptly got a turnover — maybe should have thought of using it earlier — I know we were down several players, but still, what did you have to lose in the 2nd half?)
  • Trailing by 21 in the first half.
  • Trailing by double digits for 27 consecutive minutes until 4:40 to go.
  • Staying in the zone until they had hit 6 three-pointers in the first half and were up 30-11… and our perimeter defense in general that let a 32% 3-point team hit 56% (9/16).
  • Our defense period — they shot 54% from the field and over 50% in both halves.  Horrible help and perimeter defense all night.
  • Me being on anti-biotics and therefore unable to have some consolation Scotch.

Tech returns to action on Saturday at 3 PM against the red hot uva team (5-1 in the ACC) at uva.  Let’s hope we show up at 3, not at 4.

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)


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

unc-greensboro 55 (7-7), HOKIES 52 (7-5)


There are bad losses, really bad losses, embarrassing losses, and “Holy crap is the ESPN Bottom Line broken?!  There’s no way we lost to $h—– unc-g-spot!?”.  Well, this is the latter of those.  The Hokies, who were 15-point favorites in this contest, lost at home to the unc-greensboro spartans by a 55-52 score at the Cassell on Saturday.

The Hokies led 43-32 with 10:06 to go in the game and seemed to be in control.  But they would score just 6 points over the next 9:49 and unc-g led 52-49 with 17 seconds to go.  Marshall Wood made 1 of 2 free throws to tie his career high of 14 points (led VT today) and cut the lead to 2.  After unc-g’s Drew Parker made 1 of 2 free throws, Devin Wilson got fouled as he scored a layup and went to the line with a chance to tie the game at 52 with 10 seconds to go.  But the 67% foul shooter missed badly to the right.  White hit 2 free throws for unc-g to put them up 3.  Marshall Wood had a good look at a 3 with 5 seconds to go but missed and time ran out and the Baby Jakes had their second horrific home court loss of the season.

How bad was this loss?

  • It was just unc-g’s 2nd win in 52 tries against ACC teams.  Yep, they are 2-50 now.
  • unc-g-spot was 271st out of 351 teams in the RPI coming into the game.
  • The spartans were just 3-7 against Division I teams entering this contest.
  • To me, this loss is volumes worse than the 30-point loss to vcu.  It was that bad.
  • Even worse, this loss didn’t even phase me.  I didn’t curse once.  I didn’t punch a couch cushion.  I didn’t throw a liquor bottle at a neighbor.  Granted, my 10-month old son was watching with me, but that wouldn’t have stopped the Weekend Warrior.  Have I matured? Doubtful. I think I’m numb to these terrible losses now, almost as if I expect them (that’s not a good thing).  I hate to say it, but the ricky stokes era, Part 2 may be upon us.  I think JJ has 1.5 to max 2.5 years left and the new A.D. will go out and get a qualified coach.

I could add that unc-g was without their 2nd leading scorer, Saddler (12 ppg), but VT was without their 3rd leading scorer, Adam Smith (13 ppg), so I guess that’s a wash.

How did VT lose to the 271st “best” team in the nation?

  • After 27 minutes of action, Tech didn’t have a single point from their upperclassmen (Eddie, Raines, Barksdale, and Johnston).  In fact, they had 0 points to go with 6 turnovers at that moment.
  • For the game, Tech’s upperclassmen finished with just 5 points and 8 turnovers.
  • Jarell Eddie was 1/12 from the field for the game (started 0/9).
  • As I said above, VT scored just 6 points between 10:06 to go in the game and 17 seconds, allowing unc-g to go on a 20-6 run and take a 52-49 lead.
  • The Hokies, who were #1 in the nation in 3-point % coming in at 44%, hit just 3/15 (20%).  That’s more than 6 makes below their average of 9.3 made 3s per game (11th in the nation).
  • VT was 13/23 on FTs (57%).  unc-g was 14/16 (88%) — there’s your difference (I’m sure Slam Dunk will second that).

I predicted the Hokies would be rusty after just 1 game in 20 games, and they certainly were in the first half.  The game was tied at 22 at the break with the Hokies having 9 turnovers.  It looked like they had turned it around in the first 10 minutes of the 2nd half, outscoring unc-g 21-10, but that’s when the wheels came off.

Kyle Cain, a junior transfer from arizona state, led all scorers with 18.  He was clearly the best player on the floor for either team, hitting 8/14 shots and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Joey van Zegeren had a career high 11 points, and added 7 rebounds and 2 blocks.  Ben Emelogu also had 11 for Tech.  Jarell Eddie had scored in double figures in each game until today, held to just 4 points on that 1/12 shooting (and just 2 rebounds which is also surprising).

Adam Smith, as mentioned, was out with a calf injury.  C.J. Barksdale was limited to just 6 minutes due to his banged up knee.  And Cadarian Raines is clearly still in the JJ Doghouse, playing just 7 minutes for the game (1 point).

Both teams were awful from the floor, with each team shooting just 36% for the game.  Both teams hit just 3 three-pointers.  And turnover margin was close (unc-g had 13, VT had 15).  The difference, as I mentioned, was unc-g’s advantage from the foul line.

The Hokies return to action on Tuesday at 4 PM in the Cassell against maryland-eastern shore who is ranked 317th in the RPI.  They are just 1-6 against D1 teams (and 1-1 against lower division teams).  Since the Sun Bowl is going on at the same time, I’m sure there will be plenty of good seats still available!

Posted in 2013-14, Game Recaps6 Comments

Hokies (7-4) 52, vcu (10-3) 82 — Reverse Bear Fight!

For the first couple of minutes, there was a glimmer of hope for the underdogs. Virginia Tech jumped out to a 6-0 lead over heavily favored vcu behind a pair of threes from Marshall Wood and Jarell Eddie. But then the wheels came off so fast, it would have impressed a NASCAR pit crew.

The rams went on a 37-2 run. That’s not a typo. The Hokies went scoreless for 10 minutes, 14 seconds in the fist half, and scored just two points during vcu’s run, which lasted nearly 12 minutes, and included 31 straight points by the rams.

This game was never really in doubt for the rams, who pressured the Hokies the entire game. James Johnson’s young guys could not handle the press at all and committed 27 turnovers. TWENTY. SEVEN. TURNOVERS. That’s the only stat you need to know about this game.

But, since you’re here, we’ll throw a few more your way. Eddie, a senior, and freshman co-captain Ben Emelogu each scored 12. Wood was your next leading scorer for Tech with 6 points. After that, the pickins are slim.

What’s that? You want more abysmal stats? Sure! Tech shot 35 percent from the field, connecting on just 17 of 48 shots. And, as you might expect, the free throw shooting was so bad that Victor Davila cringed when he saw the box score. Tech made 9 of 18 free throws.

Look, we saw this coming. vcu is a veteran team with a recent history of success. They were playing in their home town, which essentially meant a home game, and the Hokies, relatively speaking, are just too young and inexperienced to hang with a team the leads the nation in steals (they had 22 tonight).

A lot of it was dumb mistakes by Tech players; poorly timed passed, ill-advised shots, jacking up threes, and the list goes on. You’d like to think these issues will work themselves out as the Young Jakes get some playing time, but these issues aren’t new to the program. It doesn’t seem to matter how veteran or young a Tech team is, they just can’t seem to outgrow it. Maybe this group is different, but only time will tell.

Other notes: C.J. Barksdale left the game in the first half with an ankle injury and did not return. Cadarian Raines did not play.

That’s it for now, Hokies.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps, Games5 Comments

HOKIES 61 (1-0, 7-3), miami 60 (0-1, 5-5) – OT


THE VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES, PICKED TO FINISH DEAD LAST IN THE ACC, ARE ALONE IN FIRST PLACE!!! Sure, this was the first ACC league game of the season of any team, but let’s enjoy the moment while we can!  The Hokies snapped their 6-game ACC Opener losing streak, winning on the road in 82-degree Coral Gables, FL, 61-60 in overtime.  And Coach James Johnson beat Coach Larranaga of miami, whom JJ used to work for at george mason (that’s gotta feel good for JJ).  Tech moves to 7-3 on the season (4 straight wins) while the c-a-n-e-s canes fell to 5-5.  This was Virginia Tech’s first ever win in an ACC Opener on the road (Tech is now 2-8 all time in ACC Openers).

Tech showed tremendous composure given their youth and the fact they were in a road arena for the first time.  The Hokies trailed by 13 with 15 minutes to go in regulation, and 10 with 4 minutes to go.  Trailing 55-45 with 4 minutes on the clock, Jarell Eddie scored Tech’s final 11 points of regulation and helped Tech tie the game at 56.  Unfortunately, his shot with 2 seconds to go was blocked that could have won the game in regulation.  An alley-oop to Joey van Zegeren with 0.3 seconds left was caught and banked in by JvZ… but you can’t catch and shoot the ball with 0.3 left, you can only tip it so the officials waved the shot off and the game went to overtime.

Jarell Eddie was once again the star of the game with 24 points (coming off a career high 34 earlier in the week).  His left-baseline fadeaway with 19 seconds left in overtime put the Hokies ahead 61-59.  miami’s Garrius Adams got fouled with 7 seconds left but could make just 1 of 2 free throws.  On the rebound, Tech nearly lost the ball out of bounds and Joey van Zegeren made a critical mistake, saving the ball into the hands of Donnavan Kirk.  But Kirk was too far under the hoop and his shot hit the basket support, giving the ball back to the Hokies with 2 seconds left.  VT was able to salt away the rest of the clock and capture the win in their first road game of the season.

It was a tale of three Eddies in this game.  In the first 10 minutes of the game, Jarell hit 3 three-pointers.  Then he scored just 2 points on 1/11 FGs over the next 25 minutes.  But once again Eddie got hot, scoring 13 points between the final 5 minutes of regulation (3/3 on 3s) and overtime.  In addition to his game-winner, he also hit the game tying 3-pointer with 46 seconds left in regulation to knot the game at 56 (which is the way the second half ended).

While Eddie was the Player of the Game, Joey van Zegeren had the Play of the Game.  With the game tied at 59 in OT and less than a minute to go, the Hokies turned the ball over near midcourt.  miami had numbers and it looked like Rion Brown would get an easy bucket to put the canes up.  But JvZ, playing major minutes for the injured C.J. Barksdale*, jumped around Devin Wilson to swat the shot off the backboard and give the Hokies possession, setting the stage for Eddie’s go-ahead jumper.  JvZ put out incredible effort, running the floor to get back on defense.

This game wasn’t exactly a thing of beauty between two teams picked to finish in the lower third of the league.  The Hokies, who came into the game 4th in the nation in 3-point %, hit just 5/16 in the first half.  In fact, Tech was just 9/30 (30%) on field goals at the break and hadn’t attempted a single free throw (Tech only attempted 3 FTs for the whole game).  VT scored just 8 points over a 13-minute span that overlapped the end of the first half and the start of the second half.  With 24 minutes gone in the game, the Hokies had just 24 points.  Get the picture?

miami, who is one of the worst shooting teams in the nation, weren’t much better shooting, but held a 31-23 lead at the break due largely to points in the paint.  They had an 18-4 advantage at the half in the paint, due largely to their ability to beat Tech off the dribble while the Hokies got nothing off the drive.  In fact, Tech didn’t have a fast break point until their were 5 minutes left in regulation.

Tech, who lives and dies by the 3, was dying for the first 36 minutes of the game. Virginia Tech was just 8/28 (29%) on 3-pointers until 4 minutes were left in the 2nd half, but VT hit 4/6 the rest of the way to fuel the comeback and win.


  • EDDIE!  EDDIE!  EDDIE! He has not exactly been Mr. Clutch at the end of games in the past, but his 11 straight points to close regulation (including 3/3 from deep), and that fadeaway late in OT were money!  He scored 58 points in 2 games this week and has to have a good shot at ACC player of the week.
  • We Got Wood!  I dogged Marshall Wood a few weeks ago but he’s been great from deep of late.  He hit 3/6 3s today and is 8/15 (53%) during Tech’s 4 game winning streak.
  • Turnovers – For the first time all season Tech won the turnover battle (committing 10 compared to 12 by the canes)
  • Craig Kimbrel – Another first today was the Hokies winning, and finishing, a close game.  VT’s previous 6 wins had come by an average of 16.7 points, and just one of those (wvu) was close at the end.  Today VT found a way to come back and then win.   This is a big moment for a young team.
  • 1-0: The Hokies haven’t been able to say they were 1-0 in the ACC since the 2006-2007 season, the last time VT went to the NCAA Tournament (no, no, NO, I’m not starting that line of thinking).  But for a team picked to finish 15th, it is critical to beat the other bad teams.  And to do it on the road is even more sweet, and VT did that today.  Congrats to the Baby Birds/Jakes!


  • Points in the Paint: VT has to figure out how to score inside.  Tech couldn’t get out in transition and they couldn’t get low post points with Barksdale out and Raines seemingly still in the doghouse (he played maybe 10 minutes and had just one FG attempt).  miami shut down Devin Wilson off the drive (just 1 point) and Ben Emelogu wasn’t much better (11 points but on just 5/14 shooting – and just 1/7 on 3s (he was over 50% from deep coming in)).  Tech has feaster on smaller teams, but against athletic teams like miami that have some length, you can see how much VT struggles to find points inside the arc.  This has to improve.  Even with Barksdale back he’s more of a spot-up shooter facing the basket. Also, VT must be more aggressive. 3 free throws for an entire, 45-minute game?
  • *The Curse of Greenberg: So Ben Emelogu and Adam Smith were back from injuries today.  (That’s good!)  But C.J. Barksdale was now out with a knee sprain. (That’s bad)  Seriously, can we go a week without a new injury?  There were rumors of the Hokies going to hard in practice when Seth was the coach and I wonder if that isn’t continuing.  I mean, who deals with this many injuries?!

The Hokies now go into their bye week on a high note!  Tech is off until Saturday, December 21st when they play vcu at the Richmond Coliseum.

Posted in 2013-14, Game Recaps12 Comments

HOKIES 81 (6-3), winthrop 63 (5-2) — The Bear Fight Streak is Over… Barely



No Adam Smith (15 PPG)?  No Ben Emelogu (14.3 PPG)?  No problem!  With just 8 scholarship players dressed (counting one former walk-on) and without their 2nd or 3rd leading scorers, Virginia Tech needed a huge game from their leading scorer, and they got it.  Jarell Eddie scored a career high 34 points (surpassing his previous high of 28) as the Hokies won 81-63 over winthrop at the Cassell for their 3rd straight win (by an average of over 21 points per win), just missing their third straight Bear Fight victory due to a missed 3 at the end by C.J. Barksdale.  This team is riding the gravy train with biscuit wheels heading into the ACC opener!

Don’t let the final score fool you, though, this game was really close most of the second half.  Tech led 42-33 at the break but opened up the second half with three straight turnovers and had 10 total in the final frame, and 18 for the game.  The Hokies mustered just 11 points in the first 11:30 of the second half.  Despite it feeling like Tech was in control the whole game, winthrop cut the VT lead to just 1 at 50-49 with 12 minutes to go, trailed by just 2 at 55-53 with 7:30 remaining in the game and by just 3 (57-54) with 7 minutes left.  But the Hokies went on a 13-2 run over the next 2 minutes to take a commanding 70-56 lead with 5 minutes to go and put the game on ice.

Jarell Eddie really did have the game of his life tonight.  After starting slowly, he lit fire midway through the first half, scoring 17 straight points for the Hokies on his way to 20 in the first half.  For the game, Eddie hit 6/8 three-pointers (the VT record for made 3s in a game is 7 by Malcolm Delaney in 2011).  He also had not one but TWO four-point plays in the game!  The latter was during that 14-2 run late in the game that put the game out of reach.

In addition to Eddie, Tech got great efforts from their low post players.  Their three main bigs combined for 30 points, 16 rebounds, and 6 blocks.  C.J. Barksdale had 13 points, Joey van Zegeren had 9 (all in the first half), and  Cadarian Raines, who had sat the last 87 minutes of action over the last three games, did return to the floor 10 minutes into the game and added 8 points.

The shot an eye-popping 60% from the field for the game.  That’s easily the highest percentage ever for the Hokies in the brief James Johnson era (they had never reached 53% before).  Tech who came in 4th in the nation in 3-Point %, didn’t hurt their average at all there, either.  The Hokies made 9/20 from deep (45%), just below their 46% average.  The only downside was Johnston was just 1/7 from behind the arc tonight.

Redshirt-sophomore guard Adam Smith was out with a calf injury while freshman guard Ben Emelogu missed his third straight game with concussion-like symptoms.  Add Marquis Rankin to the mix and Tech was really depleted on the perimeter.  Will Johnston got his fifth career start and first this season.  As a result, freshman point guard Devin Wilson played almost the entire game (37 minutes), and when he sat, Jarell Eddie ran the point of all people (hey, there wasn’t anyone else left).

Wilson had 11 points, all in the second half.  Thankfully someone told him at halftime that he had a 6 to 9 inch advantage on the guys guarding him, and he started aggressively attacking the tin off the drive and shooting that running layup from 5-8 feet off the backboard he likes to do from the right side.  Wilson had 8 assists but also had 5 turnovers.


For the third game in a row the Hokies came out of the gate blazing, while their opponent was ice cold.  Tech took a 13-5 lead to start behind 8 points from Joey van Zegeren in the first 5 minutes (note that he only averages 3.5 ppg), including a nice alley-oop slam on the break.  winthrop was just 2/10 from the field to that point.

winthrop showed some life after that and went on a 14-3 run to take a 19-16 lead.  Then, that’s when Eddie went nuts as mentioned.  Jarell Eddie scored 17 straight points for the Hokies, including a 9-0 run of his own at one stretch, to help VT take a commanding lead.

Tech, once again, was hot from deep.  The Hokies made just 1/5 three-pointers to start the game, but hit 6/9 to close the half and reach 50% at the break.

Jarell Eddie finished the first half with 20 points including 5/7 3-pointers.

The Hokies, who led by as many as 12 in the first stanza, took a 42-33 lead to the break, giving the Hokies 90 combined points in their last 2 first halves (vs radford and winthrop).

Note: In case you were wondering, Keon Johnson of winthrop was listed at 5’7″ and 160 lbs.  While I won’t argue the weight, if he was taller than 5’5″ then I’m 7-foot.  He looked like a pee wee guarding the 6’4″ Devin Wilson.  Keon had 15 points to lead the eagles.


  • A for Effort: I really like this team’s effort.  They play like a young, hungry team that has something to prove (as they should – they are young and every thinks they are the worst team in the ACC).  Guys really hustle after 50/50 balls which you have to love.  We’ll have to see if the team can keep this level of effort up all season, especially if they get on a losing streak in ACC play.
  • Shooting: 60% from the field?  Wow-za!  I guess that’s what happens when you get your bigs the ball, hit open 3s… and the other team has 3 main players at 5’10” or shorter.
  • The Bigs: 30 points, 16 rebounds, and 6 blocks from the low post guys?  That’s much more like it, albeit
  • EDDIE!  EDDIE!  EDDIE!  That’s all you had to say.
  • Craig Kimbrel: This team is learning how to close!  The 14-2 run with the game tight put this thing on ice.  Now VT just has to do it against a power conference team, something they couldn’t do against seton hall.  Could miami be the day?


  • Where Aren’t Though?  The Cassell, that’s where.  The Hokies came in averaging just 4,000 seats sold per game through six home contests.  While I’m not sure how many seats were sold tonight (actually, 3,888 to be exact), this was easily the smallest crowd.  Most disappointing was the student turnout, or lack-there-of.  The students aren’t on break and finals don’t start for more than a week, so why were there only a few hundred students there?  What else do you have to do on a Tuesday night?  And the team has been playing better.
  • Turnovers: 18 for the game and 10 in the second half.  This cannot continue, especially against a team that didn’t press.  How many will VT have against vcu?  Tech has lost the turnover battle in 7 games, and tied it twice (i.e. their opponent has never had more TOs than them).  That has to change at some point if you want to win games in the ACC.
  • Curse of Greenberg: Is the injury bug decimating another VT season?  Could this be another year where we don’t have enough healthy bodies to practice 5-on-5?  Tech was down to 8 guys tonight.  Smith and Emelogu are sorely needed soon (Muller we won’t have all year, Kirby is redshirting, and Rankin is TBD… so 10 is the max VT will have all year, and they really need that).


HOKIES vs winthrop

Tech returns to action on Sunday at 12:30 PM against miami in the ACC season opener on ESPNU!

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps9 Comments

HOKIES (5-3) 81, radford (4-2) 56 – Bear Fight #2!!


The Hokies absolutely pounded their neighbors on Friday afternoon in front of 5,200, woodshedding the radford highlanders 81-56 to move to 5-3 on the season and capture their 2nd straight Bear Fight victory (good thing most people have today off because it is time for some early drinking!!).  Tech now leads the all time series 6-1 but the schools hadn’t met in eight years (the Greenbergs didn’t want to play each other so after Brad left VT to be the radford head coach, the series stopped until Brad, and then Seth, were let go).

This is how you do it, this is how you debate!  When you play a team from the Big South, you have to come out and smack them in the mouth early and show them they don’t have a chance to win.  This game was over by the half, actually, even early than that.  With the scored tied 5-5 with 17 minutes to go in the first half, the Hokies went on a near Bear Fight run, outscored ru 18-0 over the next 4 minutes and jumping to a 23-5 lead.  Tech created turnovers and got out and ran well to blow the game open.  The Hokies were red hot from the field (started 14/21 – 67%) and dominated the glass (had a 16-6 rebound advantage early on).  Tech never looked back after that, leading by double-digits the rest of the game.

The Hokies, for once, didn’t do it with 3-point shooting.  Tech was 7/15 (47%) from deep on the day, which is remarkable, but that wasn’t the story early.  Instead, VT did a beautiful job of beating radford with pick-and-rolls, backdoor passes, and Adam Smith off the pull-up/drive.

Once again it was a balanced offensive attack for VT.  They got a Hokie-high 28 points from Adam Smith, 14 from Barksdale, 13 from Eddie, and 10 from Marshall Wood.  They also got double-doubles from Jarell Edide and C.J. Barksdale.

Tech shot 50% for the game, the 2nd time they’ve done that this season (52% vs vmi).  The Hokies destroyed the smaller highlanders on the glass with a 41-29 advantage overall.  VT snagged 81% of ru’s misses, a very impressive number, while getting 25% of their own misses (average).

The Hokies played without freshman captain Ben Emelogu for the second straight game (concussion-like symptoms).  Cadarian Raines, who sat the final 37 minutes of Tuesday’s game, did not play at all today.  Coach JJ is trying to send another message on effort.

radford made it interesting with 6 minutes to go in the half, using a full court trapping press (VT absolutely has no answer for full court presses right now, even with Devin Wilson in the game).  But after the highlanders cut the lead to 13, VT used a 7-0 run to go up 20.  Tech led by as many as 22 in the first half and took a 48-28 lead to the break.  The Hokies led by a combined 34 points at the half in their two games this week.

VT was 18/31 on FGs (58%) in the first half compared to 10/33 for ru (33%).  Adam Smith led VT with 17 and C.J. Barksdale had 10 at the break.

Javonte Green, ru’s leading scorer at 17 ppg, had 11 at the break and 15 for the game.  The Hokies don’t seem to worry about stopping their opponent’s best player, they just take everyone else out of their game — radford only had 2 guys with more than 2 points in the first half, and on Tuesday you’ll remember only 3 furman players had scored until the final minute of the game.


  • C.J. Barksdale – His effort is fantastic right now.  He is really battling on the defensive end to get his hands in passing lanes, deflect balls, body up, and get after tough defensive rebounds (and offensive rebounds, too).  Barksdale had his first double-double of the season with 14/10 today.  C.J.’s also 14/15 (93%) on FTs on the year after going 4/4 today, although that one miss was critical in the seton hall game.
  • Adam Smith – I really like him off the dribble, much more than when he just sits out beyond the arc and chucks (and he loves to chuck).  He’s now scored 19+ points in 3 of the last 7 games and he’s reached double-digits in 5 straight.  Adam had his Hokie high of 28 points today (2 short of his career high of 32 he had at unc-w vs wake forest).
  • Devin Wilson – He can really thread the needle on passes from odd angles.  Had a great pass to C.J. for a dunk and later for an easy layup off penetration, throwing the ball almost blindly around a defender.
  • Jarell Eddie – He picked up his 3rd straight double-double (13 points and 10 rebounds).  He’s averaging over 15 PPG and 10 rebounds in those 3 games, and Eddie’s reached double-digits in points in all 8 games.
  • Greg Donlon – The walk-on made his first career field goal as a Hokie at the end!  He did have a free throw last year, but this marked his 2nd and 3rd points of his career.
  • Up-Tempo – This team looks good when they run.  The frustrating thing is after a 10-0 run in 4 minutes, they won’t push the ball for another 10 minutes at times (especially if a team pressures VT and takes them out of their game).  The Hokies have to look to run, even if they are forcing it at times.  They have good finishers (Wilson, Smith, or Wilson dishing to JvZ or C.J., or kicking to Eddie or Johnston on the wing for a 3).
  • After the usc-upstate game I thought this season could be epically bad.  But I think if we played usc-u today we’d destroy them.  This team has really come together even though we are constantly missing parts.  Perhaps Barksdale is the key – he had really good +/- numbers last year and the team has looked a lot better since he came off suspension.


  • Tech against the full court press – this has been an issue so far this year, although VT hasn’t seen much of it.  Expect teams to start showing more and more of it (and we know vcu will press VT from the time they walk into the Richmond Coliseum in a few weeks).
  • That’s it — this was a really nice effort from the Hokies in front of a lot of faculty, family, and a few friends but a very mild environment.

Did You Know: All 7 games in this series have been played in the Cassell but Virginia Tech has played at the Dedmon Center before… as a home game.  Back on 1/13/96 the Hokies beat la salle 71-55 at the Dedmon Center in an A-10 conference tilt.  Tech was playing there because part of the Cassell roof had collapsed a week earlier, killing a worker (who I believe was removing snow).  Because of the issue with the roof, VT played one game at radford and one game at the Roanoke Civic Center before the Cassell was fixed.

HOKIES return to action on Tuesday night vs winthrop at the Cassell at 7 PM.

Posted in 2013-14, Game Recaps4 Comments

HOKIES (4-3) 75, furman (2-3) 54 – BEAR FIGHT!!!


The Hokies secured a 75-54 Bear Fight* victory over furman on Tuesday night in front of approximately 1,200 people due to the students being on break, the crappy weather, and our struggling start.  There were two moments of high drama down the stretch, though:

  1. Could VT win by 20+ and clinch a Bear Fight*?  The answer was YES!
  2. With 30 seconds left, only 3 furman players had scored.  That’s right, 3.  Croone (who averaged 21) had 27, Wideman had 13, and William Gates Jr (son of the Hoop Dreams star) had 12.  But Keith Belfield made a challenged runner with 19 seconds left and ruined my fun.  So 4 players scored for furman.

Tech dominated the game from the start.  The Hokies, who were favored by 15, had a 15 point lead by the midway point of the first half, leading 18-3 with 10:21 to go in the first stanza.  furman started the game 1/13 from the field to help the Hokies pull away.

The Hokies cruised to a 31-17 halftime advantage.

The second half was more of the same, with the Hokies taking a 43-21 lead with 14:30 to go in the game.  It was over, right?  Of course not — this is the Hokies.  furman, who had 21 points through the first 25:50 of the game, scored 21 points over the next 6:30 and cut the lead to 9 with 7:40 to go in the game.  It stayed around that margin until VT went on a 12-0 run with 6 minutes to go to put the game away.  Tech finally realized that furman, who had just 2 players over 6’6″, couldn’t guard the low post, leading to 3 JvZ dunks.   The final 4 minutes were all VT, with the only drama being, as mentioned, whether or not VT would get a Bear Fight* and hold just 3 furman players to points.

Note: The Hokies played without Ben Emelogu who was out with concussion-like symptoms suffered in the seton hall game.  And Cadarian Raines started and played the first 3 minutes but sat the rest of the game.  Not sure what that was all about.


  • Balance – VT had 5 guys in double figures (Eddie – 14, Wood – 13, Johnston – 12, Smith – 11, JvZ – 10)
  • Jarell Eddie – double-double (14/10) though he was just 2/9 on 3s
  • Will Johnston – 4/6 on 3s off the bench
  • Turnovers – just 2 in the 2nd half (but 9 in the first half)
  • 2-point shots – VT was 16/29 (55%)
  • Devin Wilson – 11 assists to just 1 turnover tonight.  That’s amazing!


  • VT gave up a 14-2 run in the middle of the 2nd half.  You just can’t do that, yet VT does it every game, even to this awful furman club.
  • Marshall Wood seems like a lost fawn, in my opinion.  I have no expectations for his career.  Yes, he had 13, but he doesn’t have a role.  He’s too soft to play the post and not a good enough ball-handler to play the perimeter.  He hit a couple of 3s (3/5) tonight but I have no confidence in his shot if guarded.
  • Devin Wilson is a horrendous outside shooter (0/5 on 3s on the season and both his 3s tonight clanged off the backiron or the backboard first)

THE BEAR FIGHT: For those of you new to this site, I’ll explain it once this season — if VT wins by 20+, we all have to do a Jay-ger Bomb and a Car Bomb back to back after the game.  That’s a shot of Jager (or Jay-ger) dropped in red bull and chugged, followed by a Car Bomb (1/2 shot of Irish whiskey and cream each dropped in a 1/2 pint of Irish stout).  Enjoy!  Hope you have tomorrow off after that. Also, furman featured Paul O’Neill’s kid and the star of Hoop Dreams‘ kid.

The Hokies return to action on Friday for a business man’s special at 2 PM vs radford at the Cassell.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps3 Comments

seton hall (4-2) 68, HOKIES (3-3) 67


The Hokies choked away the Consolation Game in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic in Brooklyn, losing by just one point (68-67) in a game they easily could have won.  Tech returns home for a game on Tuesday after going 1-3 in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic, including 0-2 in Brooklyn.

Tech led by as many as 10 in the first half and led 61-57 with 1:30 to play, but critical mistakes down the stretch cost Virginia Tech.  Up 61-59 with 51 seconds left, Jarell Eddie shot a ball off the top of the backboard at the end of the shot clock for a turnover.  After seton hall missed 2 free throws, C.J. Barksdale had a chance to put VT firmly in control but missed the front end of a one-and-one, his first free throw miss of the season in 10 attempts.  Fuquan Edwin then hit a 3 to put the pirates up 62-61 with 27 seconds to play.  After another Eddie miss, Edwin nailed two free throws to put the hall up 64-61.  Eddie, a senior, then threw the inbounds pass into the first row on the right sideline, turning the ball back over to the pirates and effectively ending the game (though freshman Ben Emelogu would hit two 3-pointers from about 30-feet each at the end to make the final difference just one point).

This is a very disappointing loss for the Hokies.  seton hall, like VT, was picked to finish last in their conference, the now thinned out Big East.  Tech had every opportunity to win.   This was a match-up of equally paired teams, and Virginia Tech lost.  That, like I said, is disappointing.  You want to beat the teams you are even with. And if Tech wants to avoid another cellar-dweller status in the ACC this season, they have to find ways to win games like this (miami, clemson, and nc state (they lost to historically black nc central the other night) are other likely candidates to finish at the bottom).


  • Jarell Eddie (for the first 39 minutes): He had 19 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 blocks.  He was all over the court.  He had 42 for the two games this weekend including 9/17 on 3s.
  • Ben Emelogu: 18 points including 4/5 on 3s, with the last two from Manhattan.  He’s now 16/30 from deep on the season.
  • 3-Point Shooting: VT was 10/19 (53%) from deep tonight.  The problem is their 2 point shooting…


  • 2-Point Shooting: The Hokies were 13/38 (34%) inside the arc tonight and just 25/72 (35%) for the weekend.  Tech had just 4 points in the paint in the first half tonight and 28 of their 36 first half points were either 3s or free throws.  They must find more of an inside presence.  Raines was in foul trouble tonight (picked up his 4th foul with 19 minutes left) and Barksdale showed flashes, but that’s it.  To be blunt, VT is soft inside.  Raines is Tech’s only physical player, and don’t say it is because they are young — they have a senior, a junior, a redshirt-soph (so 3rd season), a sophomore, and just one freshman inside.  This is just a soft team that gets killed inside.
  • Devin Wilson: He looked good in the first 4 games but he was overmatched this weekend.  Freshman point guards have to take their lumps, and he did in Brooklyn — just 2 total points in the two games though he did have 13 assists and played decent defense.
  • Cadarian Raines: Battled foul trouble as mentioned above and scored just 4 points for the weekend (while committing 7 fouls).  Not what you’d have hoped for from a senior.  Where’s the guy from the last 8 games of two years ago, or the second half of the usc-upstate game?
  • Adam Smith: He had 27 points on Friday, but 24 of those were after VT was down 30.  He had 9 points in the first 10 minutes tonight, but just 2 points in the final 30.  Can this guy score when it matters?

So, after 6 games, my assessment of this team is the young guys are better than I expected (especially Emelogu — I LOVE this guy), Eddie is looking like a big time shooter (but he also did the first month of last season then fell off the map), the other returning players seem to be the exact same guys they were last year, ballhandling and toughness/rebounding seem like issues, and VT still can’t close games.  The results (3-3) are about what I expected, though we’ve looked better than expected doing it.  My thought is still that this is going to be a very rough season with a losing record overall, but I do hold hope we can avoid finishing 15th in the ACC.  I just don’t see us finishing any higher than 13th.

Virginia Tech hosts furman this Tuesday night at 7 PM.

Posted in 2013-14, Game Recaps6 Comments

#1 michigan state (5-0) 96, HOKIES (3-2) 77


For 15 minutes it looked like the Hokies had a shot at upsetting #1 michigan state and collecting their 4th win against a #1 team in their last 6 tries.  But michigan state closed the first half on a 15-3 run over the final 5 minutes (including 10-0 to end the half) and blew open their 31-30 lead to a 46-33 margin at the break on their way to a 96-77 woodshed of the Hokies (it wasn’t that close — Tech trailed by 30 with 11 minutes to go in the game.).  At least we avoided the reverse Bear Fight!

The Hokies will play seton hall, who blew a 6-point lead with 32 seconds left vs oklahoma, in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic Consolation Game at 7 PM Saturday on TruTV.

The turning point of the game was when freshman Ben Emelogu went out for VT with 2 fouls and 5:40 left in the first half.  The score was 29-28 spartans at that point, but msu took control after that going on a 40-11 beat-down over the next 14 and a half minutes.  After two free throws by C.J. Barksdale to make it 31-30 msu, no Hokie other than Jarell Eddie scored over the next 14 minutes (Eddie had 9 points, all on 3s, during that stint).

Jarell Eddie was all the Hokies had for most of the game.  He was unconscious in the first half hitting 5/8 from the field including 4/5 three-pointers.  Combined with his 5/5 effort from behind the arc, that’s a robust 90% from deep over 3 halves.  But his 17 points at the half weren’t even a game high… that honor went to 6’10” Adreian (“Can I buy a vowel, Pat”) Payne who had 20 points at the break, including 3/5 three-pointers (yes, from a 6’10” guy that also had 6 rebounds, 2 blocks, and some monster dunks – he was a one man wrecking crew).  Payne’s career high (and he’s a senior) coming into this season was 20 points and he had that at the break!  (he did have 26 points a week ago).

Eddie finished with 23 points (6/9 on 3-pointers… that 11/14 or 79% over his last 2 games) and Payne had a career high 29, with both guys sitting most of the 2nd half.  Adam Smith actually led the Hokies with 27 points, but most of those were in garbage time.  He had just 3 at the break and 24 of those 27 points were after VT was down 30.

What also did in the Hokies was a lack of scoring in the paint and a plethora of turnovers.  The Baby Birds looked like a young team tonight, committing 17 turnovers.  When you have a freshman point guard and a pouty junior who won’t play, these things are going to happen.  Devin Wilson did not score and had 4 turnovers (although he also had 5 assists).   Big man Trevor Thompson added 4 turnovers and Ben Emelogu 3… that’s 11 turnovers from your true freshmen.  The spartans had just 6 turnovers.

As for low post scoring, VT had almost none.  They hit 13/27 three-pointers (48%) and 14/15 free throws (93%) but just 12/34 two-point shots (35%) and that stat was padded late.  At one point the Hokies were 9/18 on 3s and 5/25 on 2s.  Tech simply had no answer for Payne, on offense or defense.

Tech led by as many as 6 in the first half, going ahead 20-14 with 10 minutes to go.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps, Home2 Comments

HOKIES (3-1) 105, vmi (3-2) 92



On Military Appreciation Night, the Hokies unlocked the keydets by a 105-92 margin, marking the first time VT has eclipsed the 100-point mark under second year coach James Johnson (and first time since a 102-77 win over georgia tech in February of 2011).  Virginia Tech had five guys hit double figures in points (Eddie 21, Emelogu 19, Barksdale 16, Wilson 13, Smith 11).  Tech’s victory was never really in doubt in the second half of this game though it got a bit nerve-wracking down the stretch, with vmi cutting the lead to just 6 with a little over a minute to go.  The Hokies handled vmi’s full court press for most of the night, but collapsed under the pressure in the final minutes before getting some easy buckets at the end to ice the game.

The Hokies, who led by 11 at the break, used an 8-0 run 5 minutes into the 2nd half to jump to a 67-47 lead and effectively put the game away (though vmi did make a nice run in the final 7 minutes to cut a 15-point deficit to 6).  You have to give the Hokies credit – since falling behind by 17 in the first half to wvu, VT has absolutely dominated the last 5 halves of basketball and now stand at 3-1 headed into their clash with #1 michigan state on Friday in the Coaches vs Cancer Classic semi-finals (VT has won 3 of their last 5 vs #1 teams!).

Virginia Tech had a huge size advantage over the keydets, with 7 guys 6’7″ or taller compared to just one for vmi (and he fouled out with 6 minutes left).  Tech took advantage of this with a 52-31 advantage on the boards and a 19-14 advantage in 2nd chance points.

The Hokies jumped out to a 12-6 lead to start the game thanks to 5/8 shooting from the floor.  But then Virginia Tech went ice cold, going 1/10 on FGs over the next 6 minutes and vmi, who started the game 0/9 on 3-pointers, took a 13-12 lead on their first made three-pointer.

Tech played better in the final 10 minutes of the half, outscoring vmi 32-20 on 11/19 (58%) shooting, including an 8-1 run to close the half and put VT comfortably up 44-33 at the break.  After missing their first 9 threes, vmi made 5/11 which was the only thing that kept them even close.  Jarell Eddie finished the half with 12 points.  He was 4/4 on 3-pointers and 0/2 on shots from inside a foot (go figure).  The Hokies were 6/10 on 3-pointers in the first half.  Tech also had 9 assists compared to 6 assists for a very good 1.5 assist to turnover ratio, which is great considering vmi uses a full court press at times along with a half court trap.

Monday’s game marked the first action for junior forward C.J. Barksdale this season, who had been suspended for the first 3 games (Marquis Rankin still elected not to play).  Barksdale stuffed the stat sheet with 16 points on 7/12 shooting, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists.


  • Jarell Eddie – He was REALLY good, going 5/5 from behind the arc and scoring 21 points along with 7 rebounds (he was just 2/7 on two-point baskets).  Eddie is now 10/20 on 3s on the season, meaning Tech has two main guys at 50% or better (remind you of last year?).
  • FTs: 22/26 (85%)
  • 3s: 11/16 (65% compared to 10/36 – 28% for vmi)
  • Barksdale, as noted above.
  • Dominating performance on the glass (+21)
  • The Hokies outscored the up-tempo keydets in fast break points (12-6)


More great stuff from Tech’s newbies…

  • Ben Emelogu – I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – whomever saw this guy play last year and didn’t think he was ACC-caliber is nuts.  He has a Big East body for a guard.  He can shoot the 3.  He can drive and finish.  He is going to be a very good player for Tech, possibly a Third Team All-ACC type by his later years.  Ben’s 3 with 2:30 left, his 4th on the night, put the nail in the coffin, putting VT up 14.  Emelogu is now 11/21 (53%) from 3-point range on the season.
  • Devin Wilson – Absolutely great off the dribble and next to impossible to stop with the stiffer hand check/charge calls.  Tonight he made a lefty runner (he’s right-handed).  Also, as advertised, he’s a pass-first guy who sets up others (setup a dunk for Emelogu with a no-look pass from the top of the key).  His downfall is he’s a terrible 3-point shooter so defenders will start to back off him.  Devin will have to score in transition.  His leapin’ leaner-and-1 with 2:40 left put the game away before fouling out with 80 seconds to go.
  • Trevor Thompson – He is eating up a lot of minutes now for Tech and has seemingly surpassed van Zegeren in the rotation.  Trevor had 5 blocks tonight along with 4 points and 6 rebounds.
  • Adam Smith – also hit double-digits with 11 points on 4/10 shooting.

THING(S) TO WORK ON: One thing I’ve noticed that the Hokies will need to improve upon is they defend perimeter ball screens.  Tech’s young guards are going underneath the screener, allowing the man with the ball to step back and shoot a wide open three-pointer.  The Tech guard either needs to go over the ball screen with the screener’s defender stepping laterally to stop the penetration, or if the VT guard goes under the screen, the other defender must flash out and force the man with the ball to drift deeper than he wants to and take away the 3 while his defender recovers (JvZ did this nicely in his limited minutes).

Also, VT was outscored 21-3 in points off turnovers (VT had 16 giveaways compared to just 4 for vmi, which is amazing given their up-tempo nature).

ANOTHER THING FOR THE STUDENTS TO WORK ON: The guy that fouls out is going to fake the sit-down!  How many times are you going to fall for it?

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps10 Comments

HOKIES (2-1) 79, western carolina (2-2) 61

The Hokies narrowly missed a Bear Fight victory (20 points) only because of a wcu putback at the buzzer in a VT 79-61 win at the Cassell. Tech dominated this game from start to finish, jumping out to a 38-18 halftime lead behind 3 dunks in a row from freshman Trevor Thompson and hot 3-point shooting from Jarell Eddie (and horrible wcu shooting – they were just 3/25 from 3-point range for the game). wcu did make a run to cut it to 10 in the 2nd half but then Tech finally starting making their free throws and put the game away (VT started 6/18 from the stripe but made 17/23 down the stretch – still just 57% for the game though).

The Hokies got another strong effort from the Baby Birds. Senior Jarell Eddie led Tech with 17 points but Ben Emelogu added 16 (38 points in his last 2 games – he’s for real – 5/9 shooting tonight), Devin Wilson had 8 points and 4 assists. But the real story was Trevor Thompson – he had his first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The Hokies play vmi at the Cassell on Monday.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps3 Comments

HOKIES (1-1) 87, wvu (1-1) 82


Do you believe in miracles?  Yes!  The Hokies overcame a 17-point first half deficit to knock off their old rivals, the wvu mountaineers, 87-82 at the Cassell in a 1 PM Tuesday game (part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon).  The Hokies hadn’t beaten wvu in 10 years (they had only played them once, last year, in that stretch), so I think tonight calls for some 10-year-old Macallan’s VICTORY SCOTCH!

In a game that took almost 2-1/2 hours and probably burned well past your DVR times for those of you that didn’t play hookey, it didn’t look good for the home squad for most of the first half.  wvu used a 10-0 run midway through the opening stanza to go ahead 26-10.  The mountaineers kept the lead around there for a good stretch and led 40-24 with 2:40 left in the first half.  But that’s when the transformation occurred…

The Hokies closed the first half on a 12-1 run capped by a Ben Emelogu 3-pointer from NBA-range on the run at the buzzer to cut the lead to 41-36.  The Hokies followed that up with a 13-1 run to open the second half (that’s a 25-2 run overall if you can’t find your calculator) and go ahead 49-42.  Tech would stretch that lead to as much as 10, leading 55-45 with 14 minutes to go.

wvu battled back, taking the lead twice down the stretch, including 77-76 with 2:30 to go.  But unlike Saturday, where VT could muster just 1 point in the final 4 minutes, Tech was able to close things out.  The play of the game was a running bank-and-1 for Adam Smith to put VT up 83-79 with 33 seconds left.  After a 3 by wvu to cut the lead to 1, VT hit 4/4 FTs down the stretch and won 87-82.

Lots of positives to take from this game:

  • Ben Emelogu looks like he will be a player.  The freshman captain had 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks.  None of his 6 FTs touched the rim (granted, one was an airball, but the others looked good).
  • Ben’s now 5/9 on 3-pointers on the season.  By contrast, it took Marshall Wood until game #10 to hit his 5th 3-pointer last year (he was 5/28 at that point).
  • At 6’5″, Ben already has an ACC-body.  He is thick to go with his length.  He reminds me of a slightly taller Jamon Gordon (6’3″).
  • Whomever said Ben wasn’t an ACC-caliber player is wrong.  I know it is just 2 games and he will struggle at times this year, but in a year or two he is going to be a really solid player.  Maybe not  All-ACC, but a tough defender and a guy who can score off the dribble, something VT sorely needs.
  • VT won despite just 10 combined points from Raines, Wood, and JvZ.  A positive in the post was 7 points and 3 blocks and 5 rebounds from freshman Trevor Thompson.
  • Tech had a block party – swatting 13 shots today.  They are really active inside which is fun to watch.
  • VT won despite Jarell Eddie not scoring in the first half (he had just one shot) and not hitting a 3-pointer.  He did tally 10 in the 2nd half, though.
  • VT got 19 points from transfer Adam Smith on 7/12 shooting.  He looked much better off the dribble today, able to finish inside.
  • The Hokies got 16 points from starting freshman point guard Devin Wilson, including 8/8 from the foul line.
  • All told, Tech got 64 points from their 4 newcomers (freshmen Emelogu, Wilson, and Thompson and sophomore transfer Smith).  They got just 23 points from their 5 returning players (Eddie, Raines, Wood, van Zegeren, and Beyer – only one guy had more than 4).
  • Speaking of which, VT hit 30/38 FTs (79%).  With the more stringent hand-checking calls this year, you have to hit FTs to win and Tech did today.  For the game, there were 53 fouls called and 71 foul shots!!! (wvu hit just 21/33 – 64% – there’s your difference like it was in the other way for VT Saturday).  The 28 fouls on wvu had Coach Huggy-Bear complaining almost as much as Coach London on the sidelines.
  • Tech pushed the ball more today.  Sure, it means bad shots at times, but this team has some guys that score off the dribble (Emelogu, Wilson, Smith, and at times Eddie).  VT had 12 fastbreak points today compared to just 5 on Saturday.  Coach JJ has said he wants to be up-tempo, and he got the guys to do more of that today and you saw the results – more easy buckets and lots of free throws.
  • Last but not least, VT won!  We may not get to say that much this year, but what a character win for the Hokies!  Hats off to JJ (who I have been, and will be critical of) for finding a way to rally the troops today from off the mat.

I’ll save my gripes for another day because this was a sweet win over an old rival.  Gotta love beating the ‘neers!  It’s just one win and sure, wvu was just 13-19 last year and returned just 5 scholarship players, but it isn’t like we were returning a 6-pack of McDonald’s All-Americans (VT had just 4 returning scholarship players playing today)!  Congrats to the boys, too bad practically no one saw it.

Now let’s go beat western carolina on Friday night at 7 PM at the Cassell and maryland in Lane on Saturday!

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps16 Comments

usc-upstate (1-0) 64, HOKIES (0-1) 63


In the Coaches vs Cancer “these games don’t really matter because VT is advancing to the semis anyway” Classic, the Hokies lost to usc-upstate by a 64-63 score at the Cassell.  It is going to be a loooooooooong season, Hokie fans.

The announcer said it best, “These are two evenly matched teams.”  And they were.  usc-upstate was above VT in the KenPom rankings (#130 vs #155).  Tech, picked to finish dead last out of 15 teams in the ACC, and usc-upstate, picked to finish 3rd in the Atlantic Sun, were similarly talented teams.  That in itself tells you all you need to know about the Hokies. There were 6 ties and 14 lead changes.  VT and usc-u shot 39% and 37.5% from the field respectively, had 12 and 14 offensive rebounds each, and had 10 and 9 turnovers.  Like I said, even steven.  Tech was a little better from 3-point range (8/22 36% vs 5/16 31%) while VT was just 9/18 from the foul line (usc-u was 11/16).

Both teams stunk down the stretch – the game was tied 62-62 with 4 minutes to go.  usc-u made just one basket while VT could muster just one free throw (Eddie had a critical miss from the line with 90 seconds to go).

The Hokies got 18 points from Jarell Eddie but 15 were in the first half, he was just 6/21 from the field, and 2/9 from 3-point range.

Cadarian Raines added a career high 17 points, all in the 2nd half (in fact, he had just one field goal attempt in the first half).  Tech made a point of going to him in the 2nd stanza, but it wasn’t enough.

Transfer Adam Smith added 7 points on 3/10 shooting (he’s a chucker).  Freshman Ben Emelogu came in and hit two quick 3s but foul trouble forced him to play just 12 minutes and scored just those 6 points.

Both C.J. Barksdale (suspension) and Marquis Rankin (what now?) did not play for VT, but I’m not sure it would have mattered.

Coach JJ swore VT would push the ball this year but Tech had just 5 fastbreak points.  And we saw no press or trapping.  The refs are supposed to call hand-checks much tighter this year, but why not try and force the tempo?  The result – this was a half court game like every other VT game and Coach JJ has already backed off of his supposed system he wants to run.  At the risk of being brash, in my opinion, we are just playing out the games until we get a new AD who will bring in an ACC-caliber coach who knows what he is doing and isn’t learning on the job.  Until then, expect to lose to schools you’ve never heard of.  Welcome to ricky stokes, the sequel.

Tech plays wvu on Tuesday at 1 PM (not a typo) on ESPN at the Cassell.

Posted in 2013-14 Season, Game Recaps10 Comments

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