The Hokies blew a golden opportunity to take command of fourth place in the ACC, losing 58-56 at boston college. Erick Green missed an open 3-pointer with under five seconds left to give the Hokies the lead, and bc secured the win on a questionable foul call with 1.1 seconds left. Tech falls to 1-9 all time at the mostly empty Conte Forum.
I hate to say Malcolm Delaney, one of Tech’s greatest players ever, isn’t clutch… but he is just not clutch. He missed the front end of a one-and-one with VT down 2 with 24 seconds to play. How many free throws has the 85% career free throw shooter missed in the final minute this year? Add that to missed buckets at the end of the purdue, st. bonnie, and unc games. Is he tired after playing 38 minutes per game? Maybe. But he’s still not converting when the Hokies need it the most. And Erick Green cannot hit an open 3-pointer to save his life (the Hokies got the offensive rebound after Delaney’s miss, setting up Green’s miss with under 5 seconds to play).
This game was just plain ugly for the Hokies. In the first half, it was the Big Donut Show and nothing else. He had 13 points and 11 rebounds… in the first half alone. Jeff finished the game with 25 points and 19 boards (the latter is a season high but not a career high). Allen eclipsed the 1,000 rebound mark for his career and is now in 4th place on the all-time list with 1,001.
Other than Allen, the Hokies were pathetic in the first half. Terrell Bell (or “Terrick” as the bc announcer called him) had 7 points. Davila had 2 and Delaney had 2. That’s it. Green had a big goose egg.
The Hokies fell behind by as many as 10 in the first stanza thanks in large part to 3/15 shooting to start the game. They did not hit a single jumpshot in the entire first half by my count. But Tech used a 10-2 run to get within 24-22 late in the half and went to the locker room down 27-24.
In the second half Delaney got himself going by penetrating to the hoop and finishing inside. That loosened him up and he finally starting hitting from deep. Tech was 0/7 from behind the arc in the first half but Delaney went 3/5 from deep in the second half to give Tech the lead a couple of times. Tech finished just 3/14 from behind the arc (guys not named “Malcolm” were 0/7 from deep — this is a critical problem).
Tech took the lead a couple of times in the second half but were never able to get stops when they had the lead. In fact, I’m not sure they ever had a possession with the lead in the game.
The Hokies, after scoring just 24 first half points on 9/30 (30%) shooting, went for 32 in the second half. Of those 32 points, Allen and Delaney scored 29 of them (Delaney had 17 in the second half). VT got absolutely nothing from their supporting cast.
Erick Green finished with 1 point. He has completely lost all confidence in his shot, even from the foul line. He had hit 32/33 free throws going into the final two minutes at nc state, but missed 2/4 late there. That carried over into today’s game. He missed the front end of a one-and-one in the first half and finished just 1/3 from the line. He was 0/8 from the floor, including 0/4 from 3-point range (all wide open). That includes the missed 3-pointer that would have won the game at the end. He had scored double digits in 12 of his previous 13 games (and had 9 in the other game). He is looking more like the Erick of last year lately.
The Hokies came into the game #1 in FG% in ACC play, #2 in FT%, and #3 in 3-Pt%. But they shot 35%, 21%, and 77% respectively. Don’t let that 13/17 fool you though, the Hokies were 2/5 in one-and-one situations and missed the front end of three one-and-ones.
Tech’s defense was absolutely horrible today, especially on-ball by the guards. Malcolm Delaney and Erick Green were beaten like rented mules off the dribble. It looked like bc had a power play whenever those guards were guarding them. Tech, facing one of the best shooting 3-point teams, tried to go underneath screens instead of fighting over them. The result was wide open looks from deep for the eagles, and they hit 7/20 (35%) from behind the arc. VT also got lost on screens and bc was killing them with the screen-and-roll or fade to the corner. Perhaps the Hokies were a little rusty playing man, which they did at least 90% of the game with the 2-3 zone the rest of the time.
The Hokies held bc’s leading scorer, Reggie Jackson, without a point in the first 30 minutes. But he scored 10 in the final 10 and took over the game. Again, Delaney might as well have been a hologram guarding him. The eagles had a balanced attack. Joe Trapani led the eagles with 14 points, including baskets with his back to the basket that I had never seen from him before. But nine eagles scored 3 or more points.
That was the total opposite of Tech. The Hokies got 0 bench points (Manny “Not Millions” was 0/6 from the floor). And Allen and Delaney combined for 79% of the Hokies 56 points, including 90% in the second half.
It just looked like VT was content having already gotten two road wins in this four road game stretch. Still, Tech did go 3-2 in a five game run where four of five were the road. I said before this stretch that is what the Hokies had to do, and they did it. But this was a tough game to lose. The Hokies were in it at the end and had a chance to win. Instead of being two games up on the eagles and one on maryland (with a road head-to-head win over both), the Hokies are now tied with both teams, and clemson, at 5-4 (yes, four teams are 5-4).
The Hokies have a “bye” this week and don’t return to action until next Sunday at 1 PM at the Cassell against the worst road team in the league — georgia tech (yes, I’m calling this a ‘need to win’ game).