Tag Archive | "012109-wake"

ESPN2 Interviews Seth Greenberg

Posted in 2008-09, 2008-09 Season, Games, HighlightsComments (1)

Game Recap | Hokies (13-5, 3-1) 78, wake forest (16-1, 3-1) 71

Highlights | Box Score

The Virginia Tech Hokies upset No. 1 wake forest tonight in Winston-Salem, 78-71, handing the demon deacons their first loss of the season. Sophomore Malcolm Delaney led the Hokies with 21 points, while the other two members of the “Big Three,” Jeff Allen and A.D. Vassallo, added 16 each. wake’s Jeff Teague got 23, but his two big men were in foul trouble early and that hurt wake’s inside game.

The game was a bloody mess — literally. Early in the first half, Vassallo caught wake’s Al-Farouq Aminu with an inadvertent elbow to the forehead that left a huge cut above Aminu’s eye. Blood was literally pouring onto the court. Aminu missed much of the first half after leaving to have his axe wound stitched up and bandaged.

The game was a slugfest. A donnybrook. A slobberknocker, if you will. Early in the second half, wake’s Chas McFarland committed a flagrant foul against Delaney, but the refs only called a personal foul. Then later in the second half, McFarland and Tech’s Cheick Diakite both received technical fouls for a mild altercation at mid-court as the players were heading to their benches for a timeout. The foul was McFarland’s fifth and he was on the bench for the rest of the game.

Despite all the physical play, wake forest attempted zero free throws in the first half. None. The wake fans were about to run the refs out of the building. But the refs more than made up for it the second half, calling the Hokies for seven personal fouls in the first four and a half minutes, including some really iffy calls away from the ball. Even the announcers commented that Tech would have to adjust to the officiating in the second half.

Regardless, the Hokies played an outstanding defensive game. This was a wake team averaging 85 ppg, and the Hokies held them to 71. At the end of the first half, Tech had muzzled the potent offensive attack of the deacons to just 24 points.

The Hokies jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead, delivering the first blow in what was a highly entertaining, if stressful, game to watch. wake answered to take a 7-8 lead at the first media timeout. After that, it was all Hokies for the rest of the half. Delaney hit a pull-up jumper with 12:50 left to give the Hokies a 10-8 lead, and they would never trail again.

The deacs kept it close and pulled to within one, 15-14, before Tech went on a 15-0 run to take a 30-14 lead with 4:15 to play in the first. wake tried to answer, but every time the home team hit a big shot, the Hokies would answer to silence the crowd and kill the momentum. Tech took a 34-24 lead into the break.

The first few minutes of the second half belonged to wake forest … and the officials. J.T. Thompson was called for four fouls in a span of 3 minutes and 41 seconds. It appeared that the refs were anxious to make up for the lack of free throws for wake in the first half. In the first 4 minutes and 23 seconds of the second half, Tech was called for seven team fouls:

19:18 – J.T. foul
18:45 – Offensive foul called on Allen
17:27 – Delaney foul
17:24 – Davila foul
16:52 – J.T. foul
15:48 – J.T. foul
15:37 – J.T. foul

The seven team fouls put wake in the bonus for the majority of the second half and that helped them chip away at Tech’s lead. At one point, the Hokies had a 15-point lead, 43-28, but wake didn’t let up and eventually cut the lead down to two, 71-69, with 1:42 left.

The Hokies should have put this game away a lot earlier, but shot just 22 of 37 from the charity stripe — that’s 59 percent … awful. In the final two minutes of the game, the Hokies missed 7 of 14 free throws, allowing wake to hang on. But the deacs went cold from the field and couldn’t hit a shot in the final minute, and the Hokies picked up their third win ever against a No. 1 ranked team — their second in the last two years, and first time ever beating a No. 1 on the road.

As Niemo pointed out in his preview, the deacons are not a threat from behind the arc, and tonight was no different. When wake’s big men were sitting on the bench with foul trouble, Tech tightened up in the middle and forced wake to shoot from the perimeter. wake ended up shooting 5 of 16 from three-point land and all of those came in the second half as they tried to play catch up.

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Game Previews, Game Recaps, Games, HomeComments (3)

Game Film | Hokies 78, wake forest 71 | 1.21.09

Recap | Box Score

Posted in 2008-09, 2008-09 Season, Games, Highlights, HomeComments (5)

Preview | VT (12-5, 2-1) @ #1 wake forest (16-0, 3-0) | Wed., 7 PM | ESPN2


Spread: wake by 13.5

The Virginia Tech Hokies only do two things well: kick wake forest’s butt and chew bubble gum… and we are all out of bubble gum!

On Wednesday night the Hokies travel to Winston-Salem to take on the #1 wake forest demon deacons.  Oh, no, we are shaking in our high tops!  Excuse me if I don’t have a ton of respect for the third best NC ACC school.  They are good, but are they #1 good?  Nope.  Not in my opinion.  Should they be #1 right now?  Probably.  At least until Wednesday night.  Don’t forget — the Hokies own the deacons.

  • 2-0 against wake in football in ACC play
  • 4-2 in basketball (includes a win in the 2007 ACC Tourney)

Alright, maybe that’s not “owning” them, but it does have to give VT confidence.  Tech choked away an eight point lead with 1:22 to go in regulation at wake in December of 2007, losing 77-75 (Recap) in regulation on a jumper by Ishmael Smith.  Then, the Hokies waxed the deacs 80-58 (Recap) in Blacksburg in March of 2008.  Yes, Tech has lost Deron Washington since that point, while wake has returned all five starters from last year and several key reserves.  They also added three 5-star (according to Rivals.com) low post players.  But only two of those play, and only one contributes significantly, Al-Farouq Aminu. 

Speaking of owning — A.D. Vassallo has averaged 21 ppg in his previous five meetings against wake.  They have never held A.D. to fewer than 14 points, and he had 29 points and 10 rebounds as a freshman at wake for a very short-handed Hokie club.  He had 19 in the trip to Winston-Salem last season.

Like I said, I just don’t see the Hokies being intimidated in this game like they seemed to be at duke.  This team should believe they can beat wake, because they can.

Note: VT is 2-6 all time against #1 teams, beating memphis (state) on 1/10/83 in Blacksburg by a 69-56 score, and unc at Tech by a 94-88 margin on 1/13/07.


VT has won four of the last five meetings with wake, with the lone loss being the game mentioned above, a game that VT had and let slip away in the final 80 seconds.  Keep in mind, that was the first ACC game ever for six Hokies that see significant minutes.  The guys have come a long way since then.

  • All-Time Series: wake 26-24
  • At wake: wake 14-5
  • In ACC Play: VT 4-2 (includes a win in the 2007 ACC Tournament)







Point Guard

23 – Delaney


0 – Teague



40 – Vassallo


42 – Williams



33 – Thompson


23 – Johnson


Power Forward

0 – Allen


1 – Aminu



14 – Davila


13 – McFarland



34 – Diakite


10 – Smith



10 – Thorns


55 – Woods



1 – Bell


4 – Hale



21 – Witcher


44 – Weaver



5 – Hudson


2 – Clark



wake forest is TALL, I’ll give them that.  They can throw more bigs at you than a Weight Watchers information session.  And they are talented inside.  James Johnson made the All-Rookie Team in the ACC last season, Chas “Michaels-Michaels” McFarland is a 7-footer that can score, rebound, and block shots in the low post.  And Al-Farouq Aminu was a top-10 recruit that is third on the team in scoring, leading wake in rebounds, and tied for the lead in blocks.  If that wasn’t enough, wake can bring 6’11” Tony Woods or David Weaver off the bench to eat up minutes, though they aren’t much of a threat offensively.

Despite averaging 85 ppg, good for second in the ACC, wake cannot kill you from deep.  They are last in the ACC in threes made per game by a wide margin.  The Hokies have to pack it in defensively and dare the deacs to beat them from deep.  Will we see some zone?  Possibly.  But I’d expect if we do it will be the 2-3 zone.  That is less susceptible to giving up offensive rebounds.

The star of this team though is their do-it-all guard, Jeff Teague.  He moved from shooting guard, where he played mostly last year along with Ishmael Smith, to the point.  When Smith comes in, Teague will help out with ballhandling, but shift to the two.  The sophomore has increased his scoring from 14 ppg to over 21 ppg, good for second in the ACC behind Tyler Hansbrough.  Teague is shooting a phenomenal 53% from the field and 52% from behind the arc, although he picks and chooses his spots to shoot from deep.  He only attempts about 3 three-pointers per game.  Instead, he uses his athleticism to get out and run for fast break points, or he can break teams down in the half court set.  Teague is also second in the ACC in steals, so he can create his own opportunities to run.

The Hokies need to keep wake well under their 85 ppg average to have a shot in this one.  The keys to doing that are two things: limit wake’s ability to get out and run, and limit Teague’s penetration in the half court set.  Neither will be easy. 

To stop the break, VT must limit their turnovers.  Anything north of 12, and VT is likely in trouble, especially if those turnovers are not of the dead-ball variety.  Aminu and Johnson are both very athletic big men, along with Williams at the guard spot.  They can turn this game into a dunk contest in a hurry. 

To limit Teague’s impact, VT’s guards (Delaney, Bell, Hudson… maybe even Thompson) must be able to keep Teague from beating them off the dribble or screen to get inside the arc.  Since Teague does not attempt a ton of threes, it will be wise for the defender to go underneath screens on the perimeter.  Stopping his penetration has to be a concern for the Hokies though as their guards have been beaten off the dribble like a rented mule by quick guards at times.

Stopping Teague off the dribble is important because of the options he has once he’s into the lane.  He shoots 53%, yet teams are afraid to leave their man to help, because Johnson, Aminu, and McFarland all can score.  They average 13.4, 12.8, and 10.5 points respectively.  So whomever leaves their man to help is exposing another talented finisher.  VT will really have to collapse well.  Whomever is guarding L.D. Williams can leave him to help out inside, he isn’t much of a threat from deep but does average 9 ppg.  Or maybe a fan will help stop McFarland (if you haven’t seen the clip, a clemson student grabbed onto Chas after he dove into the stands saving a loose ball at clemson — this takes arm-curling to a whole new level!).  YouTube Clip

Teague will make mistakes though.  He averages 3.7 turnovers per game.  If you can force him to dish, he throws it away at times.

In the half court set, another key is where wake receives feeds inside to the post.  Tech’s big men have let opposing low post players receive the ball too close to the hoop a lot this season, especially Davila.  That cannot happen in this game.  The VT low post players must not let the wake bigs, especially McFarland, set up on the low block.

Another must for the Hokies is limiting the deacs’ second chance opportunities.  The deacons are tied for third in the ACC in rebounding margin (VT is sixth).  wake can dominate on the glass due to their height, allowing their poor three-point shooters to take some bad shots.  Aminu (8.8 rpg), Johnson (8.1), and McFarland (7.1) are all in the top 13 in the ACC in rebounding.  Tech must keep them off the glass.  In the bc game, the Hokies seemed to have bad positioning at times, turning bc misses into 50/50s that were basically tip drills.  wake will take bad shots, so all five guys for VT must support on the boards.

Off the bench, wake doesn’t get a lot of points.  Harvey Hale is the lone shooter off the bench, but he’s struggled this season shooting just 38%.  He is a streaky three-point shooter.  If he hits his first, he’s another weapon, if he misses, you may not notice him the rest of the game.

Ishmael Smith, who has been demoted to backup point guard, is a pass-first guy.  He is lightning quick, but the Hokies don’t have to panic when he is penetrating.  They can back off him on the outside since he is not a three-point threat.

Woods and Weaver are mostly just support players to give the low post guys a rest when they need it or are in foul trouble.

On defense, wake will take chances to try and jump start their break.  The extra pass can lead to easy buckets, but Tech has to be careful to not throw it into enemy hands.  Also, VT will really have to protect the ball if wake presses a lot.  Tech doesn’t have a lot of ballhandlers, but have done a good job of breaking presses so far this year.

Foul trouble likely will be a concern for the Hokies in this contest.  wake gets to the line a lot, in fact, only unc has attempted more free throws in the ACC.  With so many offensive threats inside, a great fast break, and a slasher guard extraordinaire, wake draws a lot of fouls.  Jeff Allen has managed to avoid foul trouble of late, but this game will be a real test for him.  He cannot afford to give up any fouls on the offensive end.  Expect to see Diakite, Witcher, and Davila see a lot of time and have to give up some fouls.

On offense, Tech must slow the tempo and not fall into the trap of playing at wakes speed.  Cutting down on the number of possessions in this game by using clock will also help prevent the opportunities for fouls to VT’s big men.  As much as I beg for more up-tempo, fast break chances for Tech, this isn’t the game I necessarily want to see it in.  VT needs to make this a half court game.

Another key will be the play of Jeff Allen.  After struggling in recent weeks, Jeff was able to back down and out-quick the bc low post defenders.  Can he do the same against wake’s talented bigs?  We shall see.  Jeff has had trouble with taller defenders.  Tech needs to involve him early, and if he can hit a jumper or two to draw the defense out, it could open up things inside.

Hey, they may be #1, but they are beatable.  They are young.  Their top three scorers are freshman or sophomores, and the other two starters are juniors.  After big wins in two of their last three games (unc and at clemson), this could be a let down game.  How will they respond?  Will they come out and play like they want to look like the #1 team?   Or will they think they can coast in this one and focus on their game with #2 duke next week?  We’ll see on Wednesday.  Either way, the Hokies on the court know they can play with this team.


  • ACC Basketball Championships: 4 (’61, ’62, ’95, ’96 – in other words, only back-to-backs)
  • Final Four Appearances: 1 (’62)
  • wake is the only NC school to win an outright ACC football championship (in 2007) since 1980.  Only one school has tied for an ACC title in that stretch: duke.  How sad is that, unc and nc state?
  • Founded in 1834 in Wake Forest, NC, just outside Raleigh.  Moved to Winston-Salem in 1956… that’s right, they aren’t even in the town they are named for!
  • Undergrad Enrollment: 4,400
  • Type: Private (and uppity)
  • Ties: Baptist
  • Students: The screamin’ deacons wear tie-dyed shirts to games even though it looks dumb and has the entire five years they’ve been doing it (hence why I hated the VT Hokies on Fire shirts last season)
  • Biggest Jerk Alum: Billy Packer
  • Nicest Alums: Arnold Palmer and Tim Duncan
  • Other Famous Students: Chris Paul, Randolph Childress (his performance in the 95 ACC Tourney was nothing short of incredible), Dr. Jerry Punch (sideline reporter… got his doctorate at wake… why does a sideline reporter need that?… played QB for Lou Holtz at nc state… OK, enough about this dude), Brian Piccolo (of Brian’s Song… great movie – see the James Caan version), Rodney Rogers (who recently became paralyzed due to an ATV accident), Lanny Watkins, and Lee Norris (been in a bunch of TV shows I will never watch like 1 Tree Hill and Boy Meets World)

Posted in 2008-09 Season, Game Previews, GamesComments (3)

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